New England Patriots defeat Buffalo Bills, 19-17

In the end, the Patriots had to bow up to make the Buffalo Bills bow down.

Although the game was little more than half over yesterday, it already had been a long afternoon for the Patriots when the underdog Bills decided now was the moment to put a stake through their heart. After leading, 17-7, at the half, Buffalo took the opening kickoff of the third quarter and drove 69 yards to a fourth-and-1 at the Patriots' 7. They easily at that point could have elected to pad t...

As the final seconds wound down in the Patriots' 19-17 victory over the Bills yesterday, coach Bill Belichick was congratulating his players on the sideline, and he spent some extra time with cornerback Ellis Hobbs.

Attempting to limit the big-play capability of Bills receiver Lee Evans, the Patriots called on Hobbs the way they used to with former cornerback Ty Law. Instead of having Hobbs stay on one side, he was told to follow Evans wherever he lined up.

The resul...

Tom Brady stood at the podium and took all the bullets. Nobody bothered to ask about the Receiver Who Must Not Be Named and Brady didn't give anyone a chance to talk about lack of pass protection, blown assignments, or receivers running the wrong routes. Your local quarterback is secure enough to take all the hits, during and after the game.

``An ugly game all around," he offered, about an hour after the Patriots' unsightly 19-17 opening-game victory over the Buffalo Bi...

One play into their season, the Patriots had a near disaster.

A breakdown in identifying a blitz left quarterback Tom Brady vulnerable as Bills linebacker Takeo Spikes surged toward his blind side. Smack! Brady was down, the ball was loose, the Bills scored a touchdown 12 seconds into play.

Brady got back up, but it was a struggle the rest of the way. The Patriots faced a 10-point halftime deficit, and heard a smattering of boos from the home crowd on their way to th...