Patriots 37, Bills 31: Buffalo Can't Finish Comeback Bid

Jared Wickerham

Despite 481 yards of total offense, the Buffalo Bills couldn't overcome mistakes (three turnovers, 14 penalties) and poor defense in a 37-31 road loss to the New England Patriots.

Trailing by six points with less than a minute remaining, Ryan Fitzpatrick was intercepted in the end zone by Devin McCourty, allowing the New England Patriots to finish off the Buffalo Bills by a final score of 37-31.

Buffalo could not come all the way back after spotting the Patriots an early 17-3 lead, and their efforts were inhibited by another poor showing defensively and a horrible day in the penalty department. The Bills were flagged 14 times for a total of 148 yards on the day; on one 81-yard first-half scoring drive, the Patriots gained 12 yards and were spotted the other 69 on penalty yardage.

The Bills were able to get a few key stops late in the game defensively, but when it was all said and done, they still gave up 37 points, they still surrendered 347 yards of total offense, and they were not able to force a turnover on the day (they dropped two interceptions on the first drive alone).

So while Fitzpatrick made the final mistake, this loss can hardly be pinned on his performance, nor the performance of the offense in general. Buffalo gained 481 yards on the afternoon; Fitzpatrick completed 27-of-40 passes for 337 yards with two touchdowns, along with the aforementioned interception and a lost fumble. Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller combined for 150 rushing yards on 25 carries, but Jackson fumbled twice (losing one), re-affirming the idea that Spiller needs more touches. Spiller gained 131 yards on his 13 touches; Jackson had 115 yards and two touchdowns on his 18 touches, but also had those two fumbles.

On a day when Buffalo did whatever it set out to do offensively, they weren't able to get out of their own way - and this time, it cost them a win. Couple the untimely offensive turnovers and mistakes with poor defense, and the Bills had a lot more than just the Patriots to beat today. They nearly pulled it off, but couldn't finish. (Hey, wasn't "finish" the theme of the week?)

Buffalo falls to 3-6 on the season, and if they can't handle business this coming Thursday night at home against a Miami Dolphins that was destroyed 37-3 by Tennessee today, they can kiss their barely-alive playoff hopes goodbye.

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