Forget The Score, A Win Is A Win

A 38-30 victory over the Bills puts the Patriots at 2-1 and in a tie for the Division lead. New England doesn't care that they barely won against Buffalo, at least that's what they're saying.

It's always good to get a win, especially in the division. It's even better after blowing a lead and failing to finish a week earlier in an embarrassing loss to another division rival.

That was the message in the home locker room at Gillette Stadium following Sunday's 38-30, hard-fought win over the Bills.

"You're trying to win the game," Tom Brady said, defending the somewhat unimpressive win in which he threw three touchdown passes. "At the end of the year when you look at your record, going 'Oh that was a close game, it counts for a half a win.' A win's a win. It doesn't really matter if you win by 50 or by one. Because the following week, it really makes no difference how you did the previous week. It's like a chapter. Once this chapter's over, you move on. You don't sit there and reflect, 'Well last week we lost by 30. This week we won by seven, so we're still a crappy team.' No, you're 1-1. The goal is to win the game. It's really not a matter of 'That was a great-looking win or that was a bad win.' You're trying to win."

Even with its 14th consecutive loss to New England, Buffalo hung tight with the Patriots throughout the game and didn't fade until a pair of Ryan Fitzpatrick interceptions in the fourth quarter. New England's defense once again struggled, allowing Fitzpatrick to move his team up and down the field in his first start of the season.

In fact, the Patriots improved to 2-1 on the young season with their second win of the year at home in which the offense needed to score and score some more, putting up 38 points for the second time. The oncoming schedule includes this week's Monday night trip to Miami to take on the Dolphins, followed by post-bye meetings with the Ravens, Chargers and Vikings.

Good enough against Buffalo won't necessarily be good enough moving forward.

"We're still looking for a little more consistency, but it's good to come out of there with a win," said coach Bill Belichick of beating the Bills. "Now we head down to Miami.

And winning at home is one thing. Doing it on the road, in tough environments such as this Monday in Miami, is something else altogether. New England is already 0-1 on the road after going just 2-6 away from home last fall. Brady and Co. know it.

"We've got to win a meaningful game on the road," Brady said after beating Buffalo. If we're going to be a good team, we've got to start winning on the road."

LINEUP WATCH: Second-year second-round pick CB Darius Butler was replaced in starting lineup against the Bills by second-year former undrafted player Kyle Arrington. Butler's benching came a week after he struggled against Braylon Edwards and the Jets, giving up too many plays and earning two costly pass interference penalties.

BY THE NUMBERS: 8 -- Number of times the Patriots have been outscored in the second half on the road over the last year-plus, a span of nine games including the Week 2 trip to the Jets, and in advance of Monday night's trip to Miami to take on the Dolphins.

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