NEW YORK, Nov 24, (AFP): The New England Patriots ground out a bruising 20-13 victory over the Buffalo Bills to keep their unbeaten start to the season intact on Monday.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady survived a sustained buffeting from the Buffalo defense to steer the reigning Super Bowl champions to their 10th win of the current campaign.
Brady threw one touchdown pass and his third interception of the season as New England dug deep at Foxborough to see off their AFC Eastern Division rivals.
Running back James White crossed for two touchdowns — the first of his career — while wide receiver Danny Amendola caught nine passes for 117 yards before leaving the game injured in the second half.
Brady made 20 completions from 39 attempts for 277 yards while the Bills lone touchdown came from running back LeSean McCoy to tie the match at 10-10 in the third quarter. Brady refused to blame the Patriots’ mounting injury list for a shaky offensive performance.
“I don’t think that’s an excuse. I think we can play better,” Brady said. “I think some of the things that we didn’t do well had nothing to do with missing some of the guys. We’ve just gotta do things better if we want to score more points.”
Bills coach Rex Ryan praised Brady’s ability to weather the storm despite being pressured and hit throughout.
“He’s smart. He gets rid of the ball when he needs to. He doesn’t take risks,” Ryan said of the four-time Super Bowl champion quarterback.
The match officials meanwhile found themselves at the center of a bizarre incident in the third quarter which may have cost the Patriots an Amendola touchdown.
It began when Brady scrambled right and connected with Amendola down the sideline. Amendola appeared to have a virtual clear run to the end zone with just one defender between him and a touchdown.
However a phantom officiating whistle blew and halted the play just before Amendola collected Brady’s pass.
The play was eventually blown dead as embarrassed officials blamed an “inadvertent whistle.” The Patriots failed to score from the drive and from the ensuing possession McCoy scored his game-tying score.