|12.20.09 at 2:56 pm ET|
With 4:43 to play in the third, the Patriots have stretched their lead to 17-3 behind a 30-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski. It was the final play of a 14-play, 64-yard drive that took 7:04.
|12.20.09 at 2:22 pm ET|
The Patriots hold a 14-3 lead on the Bills after two quarters at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Here are a few quick notes:
•Stat standouts after two quarters: For the Patriots, Tom Brady is 5-for-10 for 68 yards, with one touchdown and one interception, while Laurence Maroney has looked really impressive, running for 40 yards and a touchdown and Randy Moss has four catches for 54 yards and a touchdown. As for Buffalo, quarterback Ryan Fizpatrick was 8-for-10 for 72 yards and one interception, while Fred Jackson has 69 rushing yards and Josh Reed has two catches for 17 yards.
•Defensively, Patriots cornerback Jonathan Wilhite had a nice interception of a Fitzpatrick pass toward the end of the second half, while Paul Posluzny had a great read of a Brady pass in the first quarter, staying with the quarterback and recording the interception of a pass over the middle that was meant for Wes Welker.
•In the first half, the Patriots had great success with a defensive look that included no linemen and a bunch of linebackers appearing as if they are simply milling about — as a result, the offensive linemen don’t know which player to block. (One offensive lineman once described the effect as making the defense look like a herd of cows.) Regardless of how it looked, the move worked — New England was able to generate some pressure on the quarterback as a result of the formation.
•This wasn’t the first time the Patriots used that look against the Bills in Buffalo: On Nov. 4, 2002 at Ralph Wilson Stadium, New England employed that look several times against Drew Bledsoe and the Bills’ offense, and the scheme was a key factor in the 38-7 win over Buffalo. After the game, Bledsoe told reporters he wasn’t shocked by the move — it was something he saw plenty of times when then-Pats defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel was the defensive coordinator in Cleveland.
•That being said, New England is having all sorts of problems trying to stop the run — Buffalo has 84 rushing yards after two quarters. The Bills have gashed the Patriots repeatedly up the middle, where the lack of Vince Wilfork and Ty Warren (both were deemed inactive because of injury) has really hurt New England. The Bills used the run to their advantage on their first drive, but shot themselves in the foot once they got into the red zone, taking penalties and settling for a 25-yard field goal from Rian Lindell to take a short-lived 3-0 lead.
•It’s clear the Patriots have made a concerted effort to get Moss involved early. Tom Brady targeted Moss twice deep in the first half, but on both occasions, the passes were off the mark. However, on the second deep ball — which was underthrown by Brady — Moss was able to draw a pass interference call. That set up New England’s first touchdown of the game, a 13-yard scoring strike from Brady to Moss where the receiver tip-toed along the back of the end zone, making it 7-3 with 12:34 left in the second quarter.
•The Bills are flat-out KILLING themselves with penalties. They have eight penalties for 104 yards — the highest amount of penalties a New England opponent has taken this season is nine (three times, the last coming last week against the Panthers). Look for Buffalo to break that mark early in the second half.
|12.20.09 at 2:16 pm ET|
Laurence Maroney picks up his ninth rushing touchdown of the year to give the Patriots a 14-3 lead with 24 seconds left in the first half.
|12.20.09 at 1:45 pm ET|
The Patriots responded with a drive that ended with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Randy Moss with 12:34 left in the second quarter, giving New England a 7-3 lead.
|12.20.09 at 1:18 pm ET|
A 25-yard field goal by Rian Lindell with 5:36 left in the first quarter makes it 3-0 Buffalo. It was a 14-play, 69-yard drive that ate up 9:24. The biggest play of the drive was a 12-yard blast up the middle by Fred Jackson.
|12.20.09 at 1:00 pm ET|
The National Football League confirmed on Sunday that they will ask their players to donate their brains to Boston University for scientific research on concussions, according to a report by the Associated Press.
The league now plans to encourage current and former NFL players to agree to donate their brains to the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, which has said it found links between repeated head trauma and brain damage in boxers, football players and, most recently, a former NHL player.
|12.20.09 at 11:33 am ET|
The Patriots list Isaiah Stanback as their inactive 3rd QB and deactivate Terrance Wheatley, in addition to six players downgraded to out.
Defensive linemen Vince Wilfork [foot], Ty Warren [ankle] and Myron Pryor [chest] are all out with injuries while on the offensive side, Stephen Neal [ankle], Fred Taylor [ankle] and Nick Kaczur [shoulder] are out on the offensive side of the ball.
Taylor is missing his 10th straight game following ankle surgery on Oct. 8.
After not practicing this week with an illness, WR Terrell Owens is active and will start for the Bills.
For the Bills, the full inactives include WR Steve Johnson, CB Ashton Youboty, DB Cary Harris, OL Jamon Meredith, WR James Hardy, TE Joe Klopfenstein and DE Chris Ellis.
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