Monday, September 26, 2011

Bills upset Pats, pull into lone lead of division

It's probably premature to say, but the Buffalo Bills may be the best team in the NFL right now.

Why not? They're certainly the hottest. In rallying back from a 21-point deficit in the first half for a 34-31 win, Buffalo (3-0) beat a team that is touted as one of the best year after year -- and usually has the preseason Super Bowl odds to prove it -- in the New England Patriots (2-1).

By capitalizing on any and every slip-up by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, the Bills were able to steal the momentum, make big plays the other way and move into first place in the AFC East all by themselves, as the New York Jets (2-1) lost to the Raiders Sunday in Oakland.

Good and bad defenses alike have been guilty of letting Brady have some fun with the football this year, and he still threw for close to 400 yards and four touchdowns Sunday. The Bills just happen to intercept him four times, including a pick-six by Drayton Florence.

“We played a good football team,” Brady told the media after the game. “We made too many mistakes. It’s tough to overcome as many mistakes as we did. (Buffalo) made a lot of plays and they’ve got a good team.”

Brady threw as many interceptions Sunday as he did all season last year, but that stat comparison didn't seem to bother him too much. He chuckled at reporters when asked about it.

It’s not the first time the Patriot defense, namely it’s secondary, got eaten up by an opponent’s offense, either. But it was the first time this season a team successfully matched the multiple dimensions of Patriot football and cashed in last before time expired, thanks to a 28-yard field goal by Rian Lindell. And the Bills made an enormous statement in doing so.

Buffalo defeated New England for the first time in 16 tries. And when it started to look like just another tally to the head-to-head losing streak, Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and his new-age stable of Orchard Park underdogs answered.

“It’s never easy,” Brady said. “(Buffalo) came back last week. We were expecting a four-quarter game and we had our opportunities. We didn't really take advantage of them like I wish we would have. We had too many turnovers, too many penalties and allowed (Buffalo) to get some easy plays there. They took advantage when they needed to.”

Buffalo’s Fred Jackson worked hard on the ground to keep the Bills’ options open and effective and, at times, it appeared as if the Bills were simply fighting fire with fire, which is the formula for beating the Patriots. Jackson picked up 161 total yards, Donald Jones had five receptions for 101 yards, and Steve Johnson picked up 94 yards and a score on eight catches.

Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker and tight end Rob Gronkowksi each had big days to compliment Brady’s aerial assault. Welker has 217 yards and two touchdown on 16 catches and Gronkowski added two scores while breaking 100 yards.

Chad Ochocinco made a couple of catches for 28 yards, but his big story was the fact that he dropped a touchdown, continuing the talk that he isn’t living up to his value.

Follow Sam @SammySports