Chan Gailey had no doubt Bills ‘were going to score and win the ballgame’
|11.11.12 at 9:03 pm ET|
FOXBORO — For the first time in a long time, it appeared the Bills had the Patriots right where they wanted them heading into the final minute of a game at Gillette Stadium.
The Patriots held a 37-31 advantage with just under a minute to play when the Bills took over control and began to march the ball into New England territory.
The drive began with just over two minutes to play at the Bills’ 20 yard-line. Big gains to Steve Johnson and Donald Jones brought the Bills to the Patriots’ 44 yard-line, but two injury timeouts left Buffalo with none remaining.
As running back C.J. Spiller hauled in a dump off pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick, took it 14 yards and ran out of bounds, it seemed like the Bills would steal one away from the Patriots for the first time at Gillette Stadium. All they needed was a touchdown.
“I had every idea we were going to score and win the ballgame by one,” Bills head coach Chan Gailey said after the game. “I mean, that was my total thought. I just knew we were going to do that.”
But that thought was spoiled on a miscommunication between Fitzpatrick and rookie receiver T.J. Graham, as Fitzpatrick was intercepted in the end zone by Devin McCourty with 23 seconds remaining in the game. A Patriots kneel down was all it took to rip the hearts from Bills.
Gailey said that Graham breaks the rout depending on the look the defense gives him. He chose to try and sneak behind McCourty, while Fitzpatrick threw for a rout across his face. Gailey said he’ll have to go back and look at the tape for more analysis.
With the win, the Patriots not only kept an unblemished record at Gillette Stadium against the Bills (now 11-0), but they also completed the 22nd sweep of the AFC East foe all-time in a series that began in 1960.
The Patriots have won 64 times over the Bills in history, which is the highest win total against any single opponent. And Tom Brady now has 20 regular season victories over the Bills – his most against any team in his career.
The Bills didn’t fail to move the ball against the Patriots today, gaining 481 total yards from scrimmage. And the two-headed monster of Fred Jackson and Spiller gained 150 of the 162 team rushing yards against the eighth-best rushing defense in the league in yards per game. Jackson accounted for two touchdowns on the ground – the first time any back has done so against the Patriots this year.
After the game, Spiller said that it’s disappointing to play well and gain so many yards and come up short. But there’s nothing the team can do now except move forward.
“It’s a great defense we went up against,” Spiller said. “I’m proud of our guys for the way they opened up running lanes and giving our quarterback time to throw the ball. But at the same time I’m very disappointed, because we’re 3-6, and now it’s pretty much a must-win from here on out.”
Defensively the Bills didn’t force the Patriots to commit any turnovers, while costly Buffalo miscues contributed to the New England victory. Jackson fumbled on the Patriots’ 1 yard-line, which was recovered by Kyle Arrington. That particular drive began at the Bills’ 6 yard-line. Then there was the final interception that sealed the win.
Defensive end Mario Williams said that to go out that way was huge, and his team knows it has to play better in Foxboro to win.
“There’s 11 guys on the field, we’ve all got to play better,” Williams said. “… You can say we let them off the hook, you can say we did this and hurt ourselves. But at the end of the day it’s our arrow, and we lost. It’s tough.”
Defensive lineman Kyle Williams said that it seems like there have been too many of these type of games against the Patriots over the years.
“We’ve got to figure out a way in the end – the way the Patriots do – to win the game,” he said.
The all-time record continues to grow in the Patriots’ favor, now standing at 64-41-1 in 52 years of competition.