The Tom Brady to Randy Moss connection had no static in it as the New England Patriots' dynamic duo led a rout of division rival Buffalo Bills Sunday Night in Buffalo. Brady's five-touchdown performance - 4 to Moss - gave the Patriots all the momentum necessary to cruise to a 56-10 victory and their tenth win of the season.
The Patriots scored touchdowns on all five of their first half possessions to jump out early on the Bills 35-7. By halftime the Brady had connected on 22 of 28 passes for 287 yards and four scores. It was an illustration of how the Patriots - coming off a bye week - can regroup to showcase their overwhelming talent.
The Bills had hope early when J.P. Losman threw a 47-yard touchdown strike to Roscoe Parrish to cut in half the Patriots 14-point lead in the first quarter. Unfortunately that was the last time the Bills were in the game. They only managed a single field goal the rest of the way.
Brady, Moss and a suffocating defense put the screws to a hapless Bills team, which entered the game on a four game win streak. In spite of a pair of early drops by Donte Stallworth and Randy Moss, Brady still finished the night completing nearly 80% of his passes for 373 yards and five touchdowns to pad his season total to 38. He is now just 11 touchdown passes away from tying the all time NFL record of 49 set by Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.
The Patriots defense stepped to the fore on the Bills' first possession of the game. J.P. Losman threw an errant pass down the middle of the field and Randall Gay stepped in front of it to snare what would have been an incomplete pass. Gay took the ball down the left sideline and was hit late out of bounds by Bills offensive lineman Langston Walker. The corresponding personal foul penalty set Tom Brady and the offense up at the Buffalo 13 yard line. Two plays later, Patriots running back Laurence Maroney score his first touchdown of the season on a six-yard run up the middle.
Maroney had an early evening, sitting down after suffering a foot injury in the first half. He managed just 19 yards on 6 carries and the one score. Maroney wasn't the only Patriots back to leave with an injury. Kevin Faulk also sat out the second half of the game after getting hit hard in the second quarter. Faulk fumbled the ball and lay prone on the field for a short while. Although Randy Moss recovered, Faulk wouldn't and left the field with a head injury, believed to be a possible concussion.
|Buffalo Bills quarterback J.P. Losman (7) is sacked by New England Patriots' Jarvis Green (97) and Adalius Thomas (96) during the first quarter of the NFL football game at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., Sunday, Nov. 18, 2007. (AP Photo/Don Heupel)|
The Bills were unable to get any momentum on offense after their one score. Of the Bills five first half possessions, 3 ended with a punt, one was Gay's interception and the other was the Bills lone touchdown of the game. Losman was sacked four times on the night.
The second half was much of the same story as the first. Brady took the Patriots on another over 60-yard drive, which resulted in yet another score to start the half. The touchdown came on a 4th down play from the Bills 3 yard line when Brady hit Ben Watson who made an acrobatic catch in the back of the end zone. The Patriots were up 42-7 at that point.
With Faulk and Maroney sidelined, Heath Evans and Kyle Eckel got the call to help the Patriots run the clock down on the lopsided affair. The Patriots have just four running backs on the roster after losing Sammy Morris to a season-ending injury
After a field goal by Buffalo made the score 42-10, the Patriot turned to their ground game with more frequency. Both fullbacks responded in the call with Eckel taking a Brady handoff to plow into the end zone for his second touchdown of his career to put New England on top 49-10.
The Patriots fullback duo controlled the chewed up the clock and ground out the game by rushing for 10 times each, Evans led with 56 yards (5.6 avg.) on the night while Eckel managed 40 (4.0 avg.) and the touchdown
The Bills tried one more time to get into the game with nearly the entire fourth quarter left, but a helmet hit on the ball by James Sanders forced a Dwayne Wright fumble which was picked out of the air and returned 35 yards for another Patriots score.
The 56-10 situation caused the Patriots to continue substituting in their reserve players. After a Bills punt, the Patriots had Matt Cassel run the offense. 10 plays and 41 yards later the Patriots made their first punt of the game. It was the first time the patriots didn't score a touchdown on their possession.
The Bills took over at their own 35 and ran out of time when Eddie Jackson tackled josh Reed at the Patriots 25 yard line.
Buffalo will need to regroup after getting shown up at home. Despite an inspiring Kevin Everett video message shown to the crowd in the stadium before the game, the Bills were no match for the Patriots. New England outgained Buffalo, 510 total yards to 229. J.P. Losman struggled in his return as full time starter for Buffalo, managing to connect on just 15 of 26 pass attempts for 173 yards, 1 touchdown and an interception.
The (5-5) Bills head to Jacksonville to take on the surging (7-3) Jaguars, while the (10-0) Patriots return home to host the (5-5) Philadelphia Eagles on another Sunday Night game.
New England needs one more win to clinch the AFC East division. The way they're playing and the Eagles are struggling, it appears that they may just get there next week.