ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP)
Tom Brady's turnovers and an undisciplined New England team ultimately ended the Patriots eight-year winning streak over the Buffalo Bills.
That also ruined Wes Welker's record-breaking day.
Despite setting a league record for yards passing over a three-game stretch, Brady matched a career worst with four interceptions, and the Patriots committed eight penalties in a 34-31 loss to the Buffalo Bills. It snapped New England's 15-game winning streak over the AFC East rival dating back to 2003.
Brady threw interceptions on consecutive plays bridging the end of the second quarter and the start of the third, and his final interception was returned 27 yards for a touchdown by Buffalo's Drayton Florence with 10:22 left. That came 14 seconds after Buffalo's Fred Jackson tied the game at 24 with a 1-yard plunge.
''They're a good coverage team, and they made some good plays in the passing game,'' said Brady, who went 30 of 45 for 386 yards and four scores. ''They took advantage of some opportunities that they got. We fought to the end, but it just wasn't enough.''
Welker had 16 catches for a franchise-record 217 yards and two scores, but focused more on his team's inability to hang onto the football than his own production.
''Pretty much it detracts everything,'' he said. ''We lost the game. What should be a fun day of breaking records and doing all those things, it's totally the opposite.''
After watching his team squander a 21-point first-half lead, Brady was poised for yet another fourth-quarter comeback. Jackson appeared to score on a 39-yard crossing route over the middle that would have given the Bills the lead with 1:43 left.
Officials initially ruled Jackson got into the end zone before overturning the call on video review.
That wound up an advantage to the Bills, who ran down the clock by kneeling. The Patriots ran out of timeouts - and composure. An unsportmanlike conduct penalty against Vince Wilfork gave Buffalo another set of downs at the 1.
''They got a good break,'' said Brady, who finished with four interceptions all last season. ''I wish (Jackson) would have went into the end zone, that would have given us a chance to get the ball back. But he didn't ... the refs changed the call, and they had an opportunity to run the clock out and kick a field goal. Smart football.''
Rian Lindell followed with a 28-yard field goal as time expired to cap the stunning comeback. The win sparked a wild celebration in which stadium officials guarded the goal posts to ensure fans didn't bring them down.
As Lindell's kick sailed through the uprights, holder Brian Moorman jumped on Lindell's shoulders, and receiver David Nelson went running down the other end of the field pumping his fist.
''When you can beat a team like that, it's definitely a step in the right direction,'' Lindell said.
The Bills (3-0) won courtesy of yet another Ryan Fitzpatrick-led rally. It was reminiscent to what the Bills did in a 38-35 win over Oakland a week earlier, when they scored touchdowns on their final five possession to overcome a 21-3 deficit.
looks to pass
(Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
New England (2-1) had a 10-game regular-season winning string ended.
''We turned the ball over four times,'' New England coach Bill Belichick said. ''You don't win many games that way.''
Though Brady led the Patriots back to tie the score at 31 on a 6-yard touchdown pass to Welker - on fourth-and-goal, no less - the Bills would not be denied.
Dating to 1950, the Bills became the only team to overcome deficits of at least 18 points to win in consecutive weeks, according to STATS LLC. In fact, only six teams have won twice in one season when trailing by 18 or more points.
The last team to do so: the Patriots in 1996.
This comeback started before halftime. Down 21-0, Fitzpatrick capped a 96-yard drive by hitting Stevie Johnson for an 11-yard touchdown. Brady's first interception came on the following possession, which led to Lindell's 42-yard field goal.
Johnson had eight catches for 94 yards and a touchdown for Buffalo. Tight end Scott Chandler also scored on a 3-yard catch.
It was a back-and-forth game featuring two of the NFL's top-scoring teams. The Bills racked up 448 yards on offense and 24 first downs. The Patriots were even more productive, finishing with 495 yards offense and 30 first downs.
Brady's 387 yards passing gave him 1,326 in three games. That eclipsed the record of 1,257 set in 2006 by New Orleans QB Drew Brees. It was also Brady's 37th 300-yard career game, moving him into ninth place, one ahead of John Elway.
Brady's four touchdowns gave him 272, one short of tying Joe Montana for ninth place on the NFL list.
The Patriots extended their franchise-record streak to 11 games of scoring 30 points or more, three short of matching the NFL record set by the St. Louis Rams in 1999-2000.
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