The Buffalo Bills mean business, and the Pats will have to take a deep breath and regroup.
Rian Lindell kicked a 28-yard field goal as time expired, and the Bills snapped a 15-game losing streak to Pats with a 34-31 win at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
The Bills overcame a 21-0 deficit and capitalized on four Tom Brady interceptions to notch their first victory over the Patriots since a 31-0 rout during the first week of the 2003 season.
Brady’s fourth interception was returned 27 yards to the end zone by Drayton Florence, giving Buffalo its first lead of the game, 31-24, with 10:22 left in the fourth quarter.
The turnover came just after the Bills drew even on Fred Jackson’s one-yard touchdown run, which followed another Brady pick. Prior to Jackson’s score, the Patriots (2-1) were flagged for pass interference in the end zone, wiping out an interception.
Now trailing, Brady led the Patriots on a 15-play, 71-yard drive. Facing a 4th-and-4 from the Buffalo 41, Brady moved the chains with a five-yard toss to Wes Welker, who had the best game of his career.
New England had a 1st-and-goal from the one, but Buffalo denied BenJarvus Green-Ellis on consecutive touches. After a false start penalty, Brady couldn’t connect with Welker. But the duo hooked up on fourth down as Welker’s TD tied the game with 3:25 left.
Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick found Donald Jones for a 29-yard gain up the right sideline on the first play of the ensuing series. Two plays later, Fitzpatrick hit Jackson over the middle on a slant pattern and he appeared to score a 39-yard TD. After reviewing the play, Jackson was ruled short of the goal line.
The Bills ran the clock down to three seconds before Lindell drilled the game- winning kick.
Fitzpatrick threw for 369 yards on 27-of-40 efficiency, two touchdowns and two picks.
Jackson caught five passes for 87 yards and gained 74 yards on 12 carries for the Bills (3-0), who have started a season with three straight wins for the first time since 2008.
It had been even longer since they beat the Patriots.
“Of course we’re happy to get that monkey off our back, but at the same time, this was a team that we had to beat to get to 3-0,” Jackson said.
Brady passed for 387 yards and four touchdowns on 30-of-45 attempts, while Welker set career-highs in receptions (16) and yards (217) while scoring twice.
“We played a good football team, we made too many mistakes,” Brady said. “It’s tough to overcome as many mistakes as we did, and they made a lot of plays.”
Brady was flawless on the game’s opening drive, completing all five passes — including four to Welker, who scored on a 14-yard touchdown catch.
New England cornerback Kyle Arrington then picked off Fitzpatrick on Buffalo’s second play from scrimmage. Arrington returned the ball to the Buffalo 35 and six plays later, the Patriots led 14-0 when Brady hit Rob Gronkowski from a yard out.
The Bills’ second drive culminated in another Arrington interception, but New England couldn’t advance the ball and wound up going three-and-out to begin the second quarter.
Brady, though, did find Gronkowski for a 26-yard touchdown later in the frame to give the Patriots a 21-0 lead.
Buffalo scored 17 unanswered points, beginning on its subsequent possession. Fitzpatrick guided the Bills on a seven-play, 96-yard march, capping the drive with an 11-yard TD pass to Stevie Johnson.
The Patriots were looking to respond before halftime, driving to the Buffalo 13, but Brady’s pass deflected off the hands of Danny Woodhead and into the arms of Bills safety Bryan Scott.
Buffalo converted the turnover into a 42-yard Lindell field goal, trimming its deficit to 21-10 at the break.
Brady’s next pass attempt — New England’s first offensive play of the third quarter — resulted in another interception, this one by cornerback Leodis McKelvin, who got in front of Chad Ochocinco.
The Bills turned the pick into a three-yard TD pass from Fitzpatrick to Scott Chandler.
New England drove deep into Buffalo territory on its next drive, but the Bills’ defense held the Patriots to a 23-yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal.