New England Patriots defeat Buffalo Bills, 35-7

This was one of those days when Tom Brady -- and we've said this before -- was Larry Bird.

He played hard, played hurt, and played magnificently in a snow-covered 35-7 victory over the unraveling Buffalo Bills.

Here in Fitchburg-by-the Falls (where the local team is coming apart badly), on a day made for the luge run in Turin, Brady completed 29 of 38 passes for 329 yards. He threw two touchdown passes, ran for another score, completed a pass with his left hand, average...

When you beat up a team as bedraggled and broken as the Buffalo Bills, it can hardly be considered a statement game. But yesterday was at least a measuring stick for the Patriots and a welcome sign of progress after a long season of discomfort and discombobulation.

Six weeks ago, against the same Bills New England destroyed yesterday, 35-7, the Patriots barely escaped with a victory. Their defense was trampled, allowing 147 yards on the ground and 394 yards overall in a...

It has been a trying season. An unusual season. An injury-plagued season.

A season in which the two-time defending Super Bowl champion Patriots have never looked like a probable three-time defending Super Bowl champion.

Until yesterday, that is.

Whether the consistent inconsistency is behind them will be determined in the coming weeks, but for one day, at least, the Patriots looked like one of the dominant teams in the NFL.

Of course, Buffalo's ineptness had a ...

The Patriots' offensive line shuffle continued yesterday, as Tom Ashworth started at left tackle because a shoulder injury sidelined rookie Nick Kaczur, who was starting for the injured Matt Light.

Aaron Schobel went past Ashworth and sacked Tom Brady on the second play of the game, but Brady said the fault was his.

''I really held onto the ball too long," Brady said. ''I was trying to get the ball to Ben [Watson], and a guy played underneath it, then I was looking f...