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Patriots rally late to salvage 23-21 win in Buffalo

New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills Getty Images

It wasn’t the typically strong offensive perfromance we’re used to seeing from the Patriots and there will certainly be people wondering whether the changes of the offseason have taken a toll on the unit, but New England is still 1-0 to start the season.

Stephen Gostkowski hit a 35-yard field goal with five seconds left to play, giving the Patriots a 23-21 victory over a game Bills team that just couldn’t hold on in the fourth quarter. Brady hit Danny Amendola, who left the game briefly with a groin injury, on two third downs to keep the drive moving and Shane Vereen had a couple of solid runs to move the Patriots into position to salvage the victory.

Salvage is pretty much the right word for it. The Bills turned two first half turnovers into 14 points and Brady fumbled on a third quarter goal-line sneak on fourth down to thwart New England’s chances of retaking the lead after E.J. Manuel’s second touchdown pass put the Bills in front. Brady and the receivers seemed to have trouble communicating at several points during the game with rookie Kenbrell Thompkins appearing to be the object of ire more than once.

Vereen had a strong game in place of Stevan Ridley, banished after his first half fumble, and Brady threw for two scores, but his 29-of-52 line speaks to the issues the offense had getting in gear. Give the Bills defense credit for making life difficult, but we imagine the focus will be more insular in New England this week.

Manuel didn’t make any big mistakes in his NFL debut and completed 18-of-27 passes against a Patriots defense that pretty much took away the running game all afternoon. Manuel only gained 150 yards with those completions, however, and the Bills didn’t ask Manuel to do too much.

It was almost enough, but, once again, the Patriots wound up on top.

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72 Responses to “Patriots rally late to salvage 23-21 win in Buffalo”
  1. orivar says: Sep 8, 2013 4:26 PM

    Of course they win by a field goal. I was rooting against the Patriots and won’t even pretend. The Bills D did a great job in bailing out their offense. Best game so far in week one.

    Peanut vs Aj Green was pretty good too.

  2. jakec4 says: Sep 8, 2013 4:26 PM

    Buffalo always pulls this crap. One day, hopefully, they’ll learn how to close a game against NE.

  3. tokyosandblaster says: Sep 8, 2013 4:27 PM

    Pats = Overrated.

  4. eviltwin007 says: Sep 8, 2013 4:29 PM

    Patriots got lucky today. They don’t look like a Super Bowl favorites to me.

  5. aaroncurryisbust says: Sep 8, 2013 4:30 PM

    Very promising debut for Manuel. Ease him in like that (especially since he’s recovering from injury) and he’ll do well.

  6. strokinmyego says: Sep 8, 2013 4:33 PM

    As a Patriots it’s obvious that this offense is in for some serious growing pains. Thompkins just has no clue what he’s doing out there and the Patriots need him to figure things out because they don’t have any other options. When Gronk comes back in week 3 or 4 I really hope he’s the Gronk we know and love because the Patriots really need him at this point,

    The turnovers by the Patriots really burned them. If Ridley doesn’t drop the ball like a moron and if Brady doesn’t drop the snap this game probably would have gotten out of hand. With that being said the Bills really came to play today and were just as deserving of this win as the Patriots were.

    The Patriots still have a lot of questions on offense and they will probably go through a lot of growing pains for a good amount of time. But you can’t deny how tough Amendola is. He was banged up yet he made tough catch after tough catch and came up clutch for the Patriots when they needed him the most.

    The Jets defense is going to be tough for the Patriots to deal with Thursday night. The defense needs to step up for New England to put away another win.

  7. joaonmatz says: Sep 8, 2013 4:34 PM

    Welker is a great WR no doubt. But Amendola is at his level, at least.

    The problem is, the rest of the WR corps it’s not. Early pains were shown. Gladly, Patriots have this Brady guy…

  8. mccourty1sland says: Sep 8, 2013 4:34 PM

    We are awful and have been for many years. We cheat everyday and bill belichick even sanctioned hits which were carried out by Aaron Hernandez. Dynasty over? Dynasty never started…. I’m a joke for liking this “team.”

  9. rushg says: Sep 8, 2013 4:34 PM

    Boy! I wanted the Pat to lose…

  10. yankeemofo says: Sep 8, 2013 4:34 PM

    Ugly wins are still wins. We’ll take it!

  11. mccourty1sland says: Sep 8, 2013 4:35 PM

    Tim Brady ate alot of fried food this offseason. Disgusting.

  12. EJ says: Sep 8, 2013 4:35 PM

    Close! Its too bad Buffalo started off so bad, otherwise they would have put down the Patriots earlier and took the game. I am happy with our QB, Manuel looks much more promising than what we’ve had in the last few years. Go Bills!!!!

    - Can’t wait for the Bills-Patriot rematch at the end of the season!

  13. flash1283 says: Sep 8, 2013 4:36 PM

    Amandola caught everything.
    Silly Bills fans, you didn’t really think you would win?

    #BILLSMAFIABLOWS

  14. gregerss says: Sep 8, 2013 4:36 PM

    The Bills lost the game, the Patriots didn’t win…

  15. patsfan13 says: Sep 8, 2013 4:37 PM

    It wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win. Game completely changed upon Ridleys fumble. Okay, that being said, let the hate begin.

  16. patsbrat says: Sep 8, 2013 4:40 PM

    Major props to the Bills. This franchise has taken a major leap forward. Given time for Morrone’s program to gel they will be contenders.

  17. mccourty1sland says: Sep 8, 2013 4:42 PM

    Welker didn’t even have a catch today…

  18. i, flounder says: Sep 8, 2013 4:44 PM

    if you’re a patriots fan you can’t feel good about their chances when they face an actual nfl team.

  19. flash1283 says: Sep 8, 2013 4:45 PM

    gregerss says:
    Sep 8, 2013 4:36 PM
    The Bills lost the game, the Patriots didn’t win…


    No, the Patriots won the game. Both teams turned the ball over both teams got points off turnovers. But on the last drive with the Bills ahead they couldn’t stop NE. The Patriots won the game.

  20. Rhode Island Patriots Fan says: Sep 8, 2013 4:46 PM

    It’s pie-in-the-sky thinking to expect the Patriots offense—with a re-tooled receiving corps—to hit on all cylinders from Day 1. The bottom line is that the Pats won DESPITE their mistakes. If they go to school and learn from those mistakes, then it’s not a problem. New England has until Week 4 in Atlanta to tune up its offensive engine.

  21. bcfalcon says: Sep 8, 2013 4:49 PM

    The bills look really good, possibly a dark horse for a wild card spot. Boy did Marone get everything out of his defense.

  22. ampats says: Sep 8, 2013 4:49 PM

    Bills fans have a lot to look forward to except I don’t think the last game of the season will matter to Buffalo EJ.

    I understand the uptempo thing but I thought the Bills made a mistake but not trying to control the clock at the end of the game giving TB plenty of time to move the Patriots down the field for the win.

  23. ampats says: Sep 8, 2013 4:50 PM

    Also, what was the challenge about? Its not like the Bills recovered the ball ???

  24. jetsjetsjetsnow says: Sep 8, 2013 4:52 PM

    Always like to see the Patriots get a divisional loss! Can’t say how many times I’ve seen Buffalo blow a 4th Qtr lead on New England!

  25. flash1283 says: Sep 8, 2013 4:52 PM

    i, flounder says:
    Sep 8, 2013 4:44 PM
    if you’re a patriots fan you can’t feel good about their chances when they face an actual nfl team.


    Really based off one game! A game on the road on opening day a game they won.
    By that logic it’s all over for the Ravens after one game.

    Why do people over react to one game?

  26. warrior4884 says: Sep 8, 2013 4:54 PM

    Good luck when Brady is gone, this team will revert right back to the 1980′s without a QB or direction, just like when the Dolphins Dan Marino retired. No way Mallett is the second coming of Tom Brady.

  27. artambriz says: Sep 8, 2013 5:02 PM

    Brady needs some W.R’s.Amendola & the Gronk cant be your only options, they should atleast bring Lloyd back.

  28. sschmiggles says: Sep 8, 2013 5:03 PM

    Pats win, everyone else is just whining. You have to win tough games to make it in this league, doesn’t matter who your opponent is.

  29. tedmurph says: Sep 8, 2013 5:07 PM

    @mcourty1sland:

    Do your homework and get to bed. It’s a school night.

  30. orivar says: Sep 8, 2013 5:09 PM

    One day the Bills will close out a game against NE. Last few season they’ve stopped getting blown out and have been making them close. Maybe next year!

  31. flash1283 says: Sep 8, 2013 5:10 PM

    warrior4884 says:
    Sep 8, 2013 4:54 PM
    Good luck when Brady is gone, this team will revert right back to the 1980′s without a QB or direction, just like when the Dolphins Dan Marino retired. No way Mallett is the second coming of Tom Brady.


    Such a stupid comment! Really you’re going to go back almost a quarter of a century to talk shiz.

    It’s all about ownership, the Patriots have the best record in the NFL since Kraft purchased the team. Not since 2001 like most haters would like to believe. That’s almost 20 years, the best record and played in the most SB’s. Will they have some down seasons after Brady, maybe.
    But don’t try and make a comparison to this ownership to that of the one of the late 80′s.

  32. Ridley Me This says: Sep 8, 2013 5:20 PM

    Where are all the comments about how Amendola is made out of glass? Oh yeah, he had more catches for more yards than Welker. Too bad so sad for the haters.

  33. tedmurph says: Sep 8, 2013 5:25 PM

    @warrior:

    The Pats went to the SBowl in the 80′s. Mallett isn’t Brady’s heir apparent. He won’t be on the roster next yr. They’re a great organization, with great ownership. They’ll figure it out, and you haters will just have to eat it that much longer. Sucks to be you.

  34. thegronk87 says: Sep 8, 2013 5:27 PM

    every year it’s the same thing. the patriots win a close game in buffalo, the rest of the NFL fan base thinks the patriots are going to go 4-12 and collapse.

    the best player in the NFL not named Tom Brady didn’t suit up today for the patriots at TE.

  35. thegronk87 says: Sep 8, 2013 5:27 PM

    oh and amendola didn’t muff a punt

  36. the8man says: Sep 8, 2013 5:28 PM

    An abject lesson on committing turnovers. Patriots up 10-0 driving for a potential 17-0 lead and then fumble, which leads to a 75 yard return for a TD.

    Hideous to squander such an opportunity and give your opponent so much to build on. Regardless of who that opponent is.

    There is such parity in this league, you can’t make mistakes like that and expect to survive. Especially on the road.

  37. bostonistitletown says: Sep 8, 2013 5:28 PM

    Remember that time buffalo thought they were going to win and then they blew it? Pretty funny.

  38. aljack88 says: Sep 8, 2013 5:30 PM

    artambriz says:
    Sep 8, 2013 5:02 PM
    Brady needs some W.R’s.Amendola & the Gronk cant be your only options, they should atleast bring Lloyd back.
    ——————————————————–

    Lloyd has already announced he’s done.

    Thompkins first real NFL game played at real speed. If he can learn from his mistakes, quickly, he’ll be ok

    BTW Bills’ fans – best I’ve seen your team look in a long time. With all the new players, new Off and Def schemes, solid D line, and the play of your rookie QB, looks like some good times ahead for you

  39. johnschatzan says: Sep 8, 2013 5:32 PM

    flash1283 says: Sep 8, 2013 4:36 PM

    Amandola caught everything.
    Silly Bills fans, you didn’t really think you would win?
    _

    Silly Pats fans. Don’t even know his name is Amendola.

  40. patsfansknowitall says: Sep 8, 2013 5:42 PM

    Patriots looked really average – not going to beat Denver with that performance.

    Montana, Mannings > Brady

  41. harrisonhits2 says: Sep 8, 2013 5:42 PM

    Reminds me of the Pats teams of the early 2000s.

    Always found a way to squeak out a win but a lot of near cardiac arrest finishes.

    Manuel looked really good and the Bills as a whole a lot better than I expected. Nice game Buffalo.

    The Pats receivers will come along. Lots of rookie mistakes in first games today. And they’ll get back Gronk and Dobson which will help as well.

  42. ytsejamer1 says: Sep 8, 2013 5:53 PM

    This was a tough game…kind of sloppy on both sides with Bills having a ton of penalties and the Pats offense simply being stuck in neutral sans the last drive.

    Couple of observations…I was impressed with the energy that the Bills played with, primarily on defense. They were shorthanded and were very physical at the line. They didn’t let the Pats get any extra yardage all day long. Their new QB seemed like he was in control of his play. For a first start, he seemed like a cool customer.

    For the Pats…Ridley has to stop putting it on ground. If he keeps doing it, BB is going to make him wear a cone of shame. Amendola showed some serious grit getting back out there, but I worry about his health long term. He’s got some great hands and some serious talent. Edelman looked darn good too. He’s got the ability and toughness (just not the durability as well) to reach his incentives this season.

    One thing that worries me a bit though…they made most (if not all) plays in the center of the field. Stronger teams have bottled up the Pats by clogging the middle of the field. They had absolutely nothing outside the hash marks. They are a WIP.

  43. jjackwagon says: Sep 8, 2013 5:54 PM

    And this is why the Patriots calmly stroll into the AFC East title year after year. Too bad the other teams in the division can’t seem to put it together for four quarters.

  44. mccourty1sland says: Sep 8, 2013 6:01 PM

    @tedmurph,

    Sorry just telling the truth. Did welker have any catches for the pats today? No! So you do your homework. You’re all that wrong with us New England fans. Wake up bro! We suck and always have. And we are cheaters with secret little cameras and special little hidden microphones! Tainted lomarni trophies!!!!

  45. tedmurph says: Sep 8, 2013 6:08 PM

    You must have better things to do. Well…maybe not. I feel sorry for you spending your time like this. Sorry the Pats winning all those Super Bowls ruined your life. Keep going though…I’m sure you’re hurting a lot of people’s feelings.

  46. GO FOR TWO SPORTS says: Sep 8, 2013 6:27 PM

    Here is just another example of The NFL cheating: Just like The Raiders, The Bills got robbed as well. TONS of holding on the Patriots but NO flags. This is a game that should not of been close but the refs are so good at cheating now you would never notice.
    The NFL does not want these small market teams like Bills and Raiders to win, especially Raiders, they hate them along with The media

  47. GO FOR TWO SPORTS says: Sep 8, 2013 6:32 PM

    Ridley Me This says: Sep 8, 2013 5:20 PM

    Where are all the comments about how Amendola is made out of glass? Oh yeah, he had more catches for more yards than Welker. Too bad so sad for the haters.
    ——————————————————-
    Amendola got hurt dude..It was his first game and got hurt.
    You Patriots fans seem really happy, you just got by the Buffalo Bills…
    It was not Denver, 49ers and of course the Giants we all know you can’t beat them it was The Bills..
    Not to mention Kraft obviously paid off the refs, Those flags were just ridiculous

  48. Patskrieg dot com says: Sep 8, 2013 6:35 PM

    LOL @ anyone complaining that the Pats got the benefit of the officials. Those MULTIPLE 12 men on the field penalties definitely had conspiracy written all over them.

    Big shout out to Patriots MVP Doug Marrone for handing over the game with some drop dead terrible clock management with a slim lead. Couldn’t have done it without him.

  49. tedmurph says: Sep 8, 2013 6:35 PM

    Here’s an example of raging paranoia. Read the previous post.

  50. billsfan1 says: Sep 8, 2013 6:35 PM

    Maybe I’m alone In this thought process but we are not overtaking the pats this year-even if we won today. This year is all about EJ Manuel and seeing what we have with him… Qb is the hard part.. The rest is easy… How many games have the pats won that perhaps would t have if not for Tom… Not a great game by either side in many cases and in so e cases it was very good. Long season and this is a feeling out process. We all know where NE will be in 4 months but Buffalo is concerned with how EJ looks and so far it appears to belong in the NFL

  51. boyshole25 says: Sep 8, 2013 6:37 PM

    Pats are in deep dog doo this year….

  52. billsfan1 says: Sep 8, 2013 7:24 PM

    Big shout out to Patriots MVP Doug Marrone for handing over the game with some drop dead terrible clock management with a slim lead. Couldn’t have done it without him.

    So what you are telling us is that “the Hoodie” is losing his edge and isn’t able to out coach others like he used to? He couldn’t outcoach a rookie head coach so he needed to the the rookie to make a normal rookie mistake.. gotcha, thanks for clarifying what Tom Coughlin already knew about the Hoodie..

    Your Patriots are an above average team in a crappy division in an average conference… You are correct, you couldn’t win without him.

  53. brazzz01 says: Sep 8, 2013 7:35 PM

    Obviously the Patriots used Spygate to win again. It’s digusting the league let’s them get away with it again and again and again and again and again.

    Everyone knows they would be a 2 win team without cheating. It’s obvious.

  54. tigerlilac says: Sep 8, 2013 7:38 PM

    Brady is a winner. He had two plays that he would want back, his fumble on the quick count at the one-yard-line and the overthrow of Vereen on the stop and go up the right sideline. He suffered a number of drops by his receivers (even by Edelman who played well overall). His three rookie receivers were a combined 4 for 17, did not come back to the ball, did not look for the back shoulder catch, and coughed up a perfect throw (Sudfeld) that resulted in Brady’s lone interception. Despite the struggles, he marched his team down the field for two field goals in the fourth quarter for the come from behind victory. On the drives he faced a number of third downs. Anyone who thinks this was a bad day for Brady does not underrstand the game of football.

  55. brazzz01 says: Sep 8, 2013 7:39 PM

    Brady stunk today. Which is not surprising, Brady has always sucked without Spygate. It’s obvious.

    NFL should take away their rings and contract that franchise now.

  56. brazzz01 says: Sep 8, 2013 7:42 PM

    Brady.

    System QB

    He is nothing without Spygate.

    A weakling who can barely throw 2 yard curl routes.

    Why does everyone think this guy is good?

  57. brazzz01 says: Sep 8, 2013 7:45 PM

    How come the Patriots have zero Super Bowl rings since Spygate?

  58. hockeyfan28 says: Sep 8, 2013 7:51 PM

    For all the handwringing the tools on ESPN did about Buffalo taking E.J. Manuel looks like they knew what they where doing after all nice game for a rookie

  59. brazzz01 says: Sep 8, 2013 7:52 PM

    I’m pretty good at sounding like one of the morons otherwise commonly known as Patriots haters, yes?

  60. ampats says: Sep 8, 2013 7:54 PM

    @haterbrazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

    Maybe because as this Patriots fan and I’m sure many other Pats fans had NO Concern with the ball in Brady’s hands with less than 5 minutes to go in the 4th quarter .

    Patriots 1-0 next up Buttfumble 2

  61. brazzz01 says: Sep 8, 2013 7:54 PM

    The Bills haven’t had a legit QB for a long time, although Fitzpatrick wasn’t as bad as his detractors said he was…..

    It’s only one game but I believe Manuel will be legit.

  62. brazzz01 says: Sep 8, 2013 7:57 PM

    The Bills shouldn’t have benched Flutie.

    Just sayin’.

  63. vaphinfan says: Sep 8, 2013 8:10 PM

    cameras dont work at home games and wow didnt brady look average throwing to new wrs like most qbs do each year. lights camera action……1972

  64. deebl0ck says: Sep 8, 2013 8:15 PM

    I honestly think Doug marrone cost is the game…why were we running no huddle in the 4th quarter with a lead? Doesn’t make sense…u gotta kill the clock against Brady smh…and lets not forget his boneheaded challenge of a fumble that was recovered by the patriots in the first place smh…

  65. TheWizard says: Sep 8, 2013 8:26 PM

    Like several have said, not working clock with 5 minutes in the game was a bad decision, they had the Pats on the ropes at that time.

    Manuel looks like a player and Buffalo looks like they can maybe hang with some good teams this year.

    I think once Thompkins is up to speed he’s going to be a weapon. This week it was the Edelman/Amendola “White Lightning” connection that got it done. Let’s hope they alternate their injuries so one of them is on the field at all times.

  66. atxpatfan says: Sep 8, 2013 10:09 PM

    gregerss says: Sep 8, 2013 4:36 PM

    The Bills lost the game, the Patriots didn’t win…

    ….is a great example of what losers say.

  67. j0esixpack says: Sep 8, 2013 10:24 PM

    It was ugly in many ways – but in the end, the Defense held for a 3 and out, and Amendola caught two critical 3rd down passes similar to the one’s Welker used to (and continues to) drop.

    Beyond that most people don’t understand that the Patriots are a team built to get to their peak in November through February – not September.

  68. harrisonhits2 says: Sep 8, 2013 11:28 PM

    brazzz01 says:

    Brady stunk today. Which is not surprising, Brady has always sucked without Spygate. It’s obvious.
    ________________________

    Yes like in 2007 when they set virtually every offensive record in the history of the league. Or 2011, or any number of any other games when he’s been fantastic.

    Its obvious you know nothing about Brady or the Pats and just cry bitterly over their success.

  69. Rockets GM says: Sep 9, 2013 11:41 AM

    Once again that moron Skip Bayless picked the Pats to “win it all”… I guess he’s shooting for a full decade of BEING COMPLETELY WRONG.

  70. kgun80 says: Sep 9, 2013 11:53 AM

    Good game…. But it doesn’t help when the refs call 2 illegal hands to the face against the Bills when they are driving. One was a phantom call and one was when a a D end tried to lower his shoulder and get under Urbik. Not to mention the long third down where Mario had his jersey grabbed while moving towards Brady on the last drive. I would say the ref could make a mistake but he was looking right at it! The Bills blew a golden opportunity. But as usual the Pats got the benefit of the refs.

  71. bighurt228 says: Sep 9, 2013 12:34 PM

    Yeah…….the AFC East is soooo weak?? The teams are 3-1 the first week of the season compared to 0-4, in the AFC north. We as fans have to hear how the Pats play in the weakest division year after year, with guaranteed wins and all.!! Anyone who knows anything about football realizes a few plays a game have to be made at crucial times to win or lose. Division games are always toughest especially on the road. The Pats won today despite 3 turnovers at crucial times. One game does not make a season but its a great start to see what needs to be corrected and build from there. It will take at least half a season, and the return of Gronk before this team starts to click on all cylinders. Every rep from either practice or games that the new receivers get, will only help this offense get better. It takes time but like we all know, Belichick always hits his stride in November, when he makes his playoff run. We need patience, but I think this infusion of youth at wide reciever was definitely needed.

  72. rabidbillsfan says: Sep 9, 2013 1:31 PM

    This is going to sound like sour grapes, but I’m sure video evidence will be more than enough to back up my claims. First, Stevie makes that catch and the Bills win, no if’s, and’s or but’s about it. However… The illegal hands to the face call on Pears when Frediie picked up the first was absolutely horrendous. You can’t make that call, plain and simple. Debatable still, the one that really burns me is the non-hold on Mario when Brady rolled out and hit Amendola for that first down on the last drive. Everybody is going to argue that holding happens on every play, and it does, but thats in the trenches… and right after the ball is snapped. It was a blatant open field hold that will be called every game for the rest of the season. And I will say it, the Bills lost that game, the Pats were just the beneficiaris. Brady did what Brady does on that last drive because our Defense was gassed, the offense failed to stay on the field. And it was self inflicted wounds, the Patriots made no “plays” to stop them. The Bills were victims of rookie mistakes and penalties, not a swarming Pats defense. Yes, they shut down CJ, but that still didn’t keep them out of third and managabale all game. It is what it is, but this is not a game any Patriots fans should hang their hat on, and 3 of our key players were either missing, or hurt. (Byrd, Gilmore and EJ) I look forward to a week 17 re-match, and I don’t think it will be the same “fighting for a draft pick” type game for the Bills.

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