Sunday, November 11, 2012

Two big turnovers spell another Bills loss to Patriots


The Buffalo Bills hung around Sunday against the New England Patriots. But as has been the case for Buffalo throughout the season, a couple untimely mistakes were too costly to overcome.

Despite giving up 37 points, the Bills were within striking distance with 28 seconds left -- on the 15-yard line, down by six points with three downs to work with.

Then came the interception. Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick took the snap in shotgun, looked off the left side and turned right to fire a pass to receiver T.J. Graham. But Graham ran his route behind Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty instead of in front of him, where Fitzpatrick expected him to be, and McCourty made the easy interception to seal it. New England won, 37-31.

Bills coach Chan Gailey said after the game that the depth of Graham's route depended on a read of the defense. Obviously that read was wrong.

"We would have had a better chance at [making a play], but that's something ultimately that falls on me in terms of communicating and getting on the same page," Fitzpatrick told the media after the game regarding Graham's route, via "It was unfortunate that the game ended like that."

Fitzpatrick was included on another crucial turnover that went New England's way. Buffalo had possession in its own end, down 3-0, following a Patriots field goal. On second-and-7, Fitzpatrick dropped back and was sacked by Vince Wilfork, who forced a fumble on the hit. The Patriots recovered it, and their offense scored on the short field, going up 10-0. That was the beginning of the Bills' constant uphill battle.

New England gave up 481 total yards on defense, but its takeaway abilities again trumped an otherwise awful performance.

“Things weren’t perfect, we understand that but we made plays when we needed to make plays," Wilfork said.

Follow Nick @NickStDenis
Follow AFC East Daily @AFCEastDaily