Monday, September 14, 2009; 7 PM ET, Gillette Stadium
It's opening week of the NFL! Some of you are eagerly anticipating this weeks action like a giddy little 5-year-old kid at Christmas, while others are dreading this season like it is the bubonic plague. Whether you have high hopes or are a Negative Nancy, one thing is certain: it's time for some football, and in about 12 hours, the Titans and Steelers kick-off the show.
For those of you who were around last year, you might be familiar with this exercise. Every Wednesday (we're delayed a day thanks to MNF), I will be digging into the archives and reviewing the last five times the Bills have played their opponent for the upcoming Sunday (or Monday, or whatever other day). I need not remind any of you that the Bills' history versus the Patriots isn't pretty. I would therefore say that unless you are a masochist, really like me for some odd reason, or just can't get enough Buffalo Rumblings and feel you have to read everything, I might suggest staying away from the jump. It isn't pretty.
November 14, 2004: Patriots 29, Bills 6
The Bills offense racked up a pitiful 125 total yards. The Patriots, meanwhile, rolled for 428, including 208 of that on the ground. Adam Vinatieri kicked five field goals and Tom Brady tossed two touchdown passes, one to David Patten, the other to Christian Fauria. The Bills' lone bright spot was a Johnathan "Freddie" Smith 70 yard punt return; the team then doused those good feelings by failing to convert the two point try. Drew Bledsoe and J.P. Losman combined to throw four interceptions, get sacked three times and lose one fumble, while passing for 75 yards. I must throw this in for Kurupt: Chris Kelsay did record a sack of Brady in this game.
October 30, 2005: Patriots 21, Bills 16
After Rian Lindell kicked his third field goal of the game with 4:53 gone by in the fourth quarter, the Bills had a 16-7 lead. Two Corey Dillon one-yard touchdown plunges later, the Patriots came from behind to get the win. The Bills out-gained the Patriots 394 yards to 273, and even won the turnover battle three to one in this game. But 12, count them, 12 penalties for 74 yards hounded the Bills all night. Willis McGahee rushed for 136 yards and Eric Moulds had nine catches for 125 yards, including a 55-yard touchdown grab from Kelly Holcomb. The Bills nearly doubled the Patriots' time of possession (39:20 to 20:40), proving once again that it isn't how long you have the ball, but what you do when you have it that matters. Oh, and Chris Kelsay recorded a half-sack sack in this game.
September 10, 2006: Patriots 19, Bills 17
Yet another year when the Bills played the Patriots to start the season. On the strength of a London Fletcher five-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown, a Rian Lindell 53-yard field goal, and an 18-yard Anthony Thomas touchdown scamper, the Bills held a 17-7 lead at halftime. The Patriots defense shut down the Bills for the second half, and after a Stephen Gostkowski 32-yard field goal tied it up with with 9:33 left to play, the Pats defense came up with the winning score by sacking J.P. Losman in the end zone for a safety, Ty Warren doing the honors. You might not believe this, but Chris Kelsay recorded a sack in this game also.
September 23, 2007: Patriots 38, Bills 7
After Stephen Gostkowski opened the scoring with a 24-yard field goal, the Bills answered right back with a Marshawn Lynch 8-yard Beast Mode scoring plunge. It was all downhill after that. Vince Wilfork crashed through the Bills' line and hit Losman in the knee, kick-starting the Trent Edwards era in Buffalo Bills history. Randy Moss almost single-handedly downed the Bills, finishing with five catches for 115 yards and two touchdowns. Once again, the Bills' offense disappeared, although with an obviously-not-yet-ready Edwards at the controls, it is at least a little understandable, as they total a meager 193 yards on the day. The Patriots, on the other hand, got 177 yards just rushing, to go with the 485 total. Unfortunately, there was no Chris Kelsay sack to report; I think he started to regress.
November 9, 2008: Patriots 20, Bills 10
This game wasn't as close as the score indicates. The Patriots held a 20-3 lead with 1:57 left to play, when 15 seconds later Edwards hit James Hardy for his second career touchdown catch in what most would call "garbage time." The Bills' offense managed only 168 total yards of offense, and Trent was picked off twice. The Patriots, meanwhile, went for 370 yards, most of that by two guys: Wes Welker (10 catches, 107 yards) and BenJarvus Green-Ellis (26 carries for 105 yard and one TD). Positive note: the Bills held Randy Moss to -2 yards rushing on the day; he did make 5 catches for 53 yards, but we kept him in check on the ground. For the second straight game in Foxboro, Chris Kelsay failed to record a sack.