Blount leads Pats to bye with 34-20 win over Bills
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — LeGarrette Blount made one last big splash
into a soggy end zone.
The powerful back finished his 35-yard touchdown run up the left
sideline by flopping with outstretched arms and capping the New England Patriots 34-20 win over the Buffalo Bills in a steady downpour Sunday.
The victory gave the Patriots a first-round bye and the Gillette
Stadium field an extra week to dry out.
"He carried the team on his back most of the day," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. The rain "got worse as the game went along. It was
definitely a running game."
Blount rushed for a career-high 189 yards, returned two kickoffs for
145 and set a club record with 334 all-purpose yards.
The Patriots (12-4) obtained Blount in an offseason trade with Tampa
Bay and he shared playing time with other backs since then. On Sunday,
the 250-pounder led the charge.
He also scored on a 36-yard run and set up a touchdown and field goal
with kickoff returns of 83 and 62 yards.
The extra point after his 35-yarder put the Patriots ahead 34-20 with
"Every time I play I try my best to come out with the mindset to make a
contribution to any part of the game, whether it's kick returns or
running the ball or catching it," Blount said.
After his second touchdown, he hugged Belichick, who had a towel draped
over his shoulders.
Tom Brady was content to hand the ball off rather than throw through
rain drops against a team leading the NFL in sacks and second in
"The water on the field at the end, it was just puddles," he said.
Stephen Gostkowski kicked four field goals as the Patriots earned their
eighth bye in Belichick's 14 seasons. The Bills (6-10) missed the
playoffs for the 14th straight year, the league's longest current
streak. They won their previous two games.
"It would be much different if we were ending on a three-game winning
streak," Bills coach Doug Marrone said. "To say that you're close or
anything like that, until you win we don't have a leg to stand on."
New England won its 13th straight home game against Buffalo, including
12-0 since Gillette opened in 2002.
The Patriots have the second seed and play in two weeks at home, where
they're 8-0. Denver, which beat Oakland, has the top seed. New England
began its game with a chance to finish in any of the AFC's top four
"We put together a great season, but it doesn't matter much now," Brady
The Bills played without quarterback E.J. Manuel, who has a small tear in
a left knee ligament, and wide receiver Stevie Johnson, excused for the
second straight game after his mother's death.
Backup Thad Lewis threw a 12-yard scoring pass to T.J. Graham late in
the third quarter and led an 80-yard drive capped by Fred Jackson's
5-yard run with 10:20 remaining.
After each of those touchdowns Blount had his long kickoff returns.
His 83-yarder set up Brady's 5-yard scoring pass to Shane Vereen,
followed by a 2-point conversion pass that made it 24-10. The 62-yarder
led to Gostkowski's fourth field goal, a 35-yarder that put the
Patriots ahead 27-17.
The Bills turned over the ball on downs on their next possession.
"Of course the ball is wet," Buffalo wide receiver Robert Woods said,
"but we still have to make plays and catch the ball."
Before the Patriots ran the next play, "Singin' in the Rain" blared
over the public address system, and drenched fans sang along.
Then Manny Lawson intercepted Brady's pass and the Bills capitalized
with Dan Carpenter's 37-yard field goal.
Buffalo tried an onside kick, but Nate Ebner recovered for New England.
Blount then ran 10 yards before scoring his second touchdown on the
The game even featured a punt by Brady on third-and-32 from his 46-yard
line midway through the third quarter with the score 16-3. It traveled
32 yards, where Jim Leonhard made a fair catch.
"It could have been a lot better," Brady said.
Brady finished 14 of 24 for 122 yards, one touchdown and one
interception. Lewis went 16 for 29 for 247 yards and a touchdown. C.J.
Spiller led the Bills with 105 yards rushing.
NOTES: Bills tackle Marcell Dareus was benched for the first half for
violating a team rule. In Buffalo's previous game he was benched for
the first quarter, also for violating a team rule. ... The previous
Patriots record for all-purpose yards was 273 by Larry Garron in 1962
at Buffalo. ... Carpenter's 51-yard field goal that tied the game at 3
made him the first player in Bills history with four field goals of at
least 50 yards or more in a season.
Blount Leads Patriots Over Bills 34 - 20
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