New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount (29) celebrates his touchdown with quarterback Tom Brady, right, in the second quarter of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Game Wrap: Bills @ Patriots
Tough weather didn't stop the Patriots from running wild over the Bills defense, as New England was victorious from Gillette Stadium Sunday by a score of 34-20.
The Patriots opted to receive to start the game, and the harsh weather conditions were evident, as neither team was able to stretch the field (Tom Brady and Thad Lewis combined for a mere 155 yards passing in the first half). New England's Stephen Gostkowski bested Dan Carpenter two field goals to one in the first quarter, and it was a 6-3 score in favor of the Patriots heading into the second.
New England ran wild in the second quarter, a part of that may have been attributed to the absence of Defensive Tackle Marcel Dareus. Dareus violated team rules for a second straight week, and he sat out the entire first half. Patriots' Running Back Legarrette Blount attributed for 118 of 173 first half yards on the ground for his team, and he highlighted a 94-yard drive with a 36-yard touchdown run to make it 13-3 early in the second quarter. The Bills attempted to bounce back as they found themselves in New England territory midway through the second, but Thad Lewis was stuffed on a crucial 4th and 1 - it was Buffalo's best chance to score for the remainder of the first half. Tom Brady did what Tom Brady does inside of two minutes, setting up Gostkowski with his third field goal of the game, and making it a 16-3 ballgame as both teams headed into the locker room.
Only one score to note in the third quarter, as Thad Lewis found TJ Graham in the endzone for a 12-yard touchdown, but the one-possession game was very short-lived.
Legarrette Blount continued to haunt the Bills as he returned the ensuing kickoff 82 yards deep in Buffalo territory, and the aforementioned Dareus was flagged for encroachment as the Patriots' field goal unit was getting ready to tally 3 points on the board. Brady hooked up with Shane Vereen for a score, and to add insult New England's two-point conversion was successful to make it a 24-10 Patriots lead.
Down two touchdowns, Fred Jackson was able to cut the lead in half as he found the endzone for the 10th time this season, but Blount ran yet ANOTHER return deep into Buffalo territory, and Gostkowski split the uprights for the 4th time, putting the score at 27-17 midway through the fourth quarter.
Fast-forwarding to the 5:38 mark in the final frame, Buffalo sustained a drive all the way to midfield and were looking to put points up to make it a one-score game. 4th and 2, Lewis saw an open Graham, but he bobbled the ball and couldn't bring down the reception to give the Patriots the ball. Although the Bills were able to force a turnover and kick a field goal, Blount continued to haunt Buffalo with his second touchdown of the game just outside of the two minute warning to seal the victory for New England.
The Bills are now 0-12 at Gillette Stadium, and finish the season 6-10 overall. For the Patriots, they have a first round bye in the playoffs with their victory over Buffalo.
9:41 - Stephen Gostkowski 43-yd FG
Drive: 13 plays, 52 yds, 5:19