Bills Knock Down Patriots

An Afghan man rides his bicycle at sunrise in western Kabul, Afghanistan Monday, March 13, 2006. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
AP Photo/David Guttenfelder

Doug Flutie's two touchdown passes and Drew Bledsoe's bad day gave Buffalo a 17-7 win Sunday over New England and dealt a serious blow to the Patriots' playoff hopes.

Flutie threw touchdown passes of 54 yards to Eric Moulds and 31 yards to fullback Sam Gash, and Steve Christie kicked a 28-yard field goal as the Bills (8-4) strengthened their position in the tough AFC East.

"It gives us good separation from New England and keeps us within striking distance of the AFC East title," said Flutie, who completed 9-of-16 for 207 yards with no interceptions.

The Bills defense held the Patriots to 267 yards and kept New England scoreless for almost the entire game. Bledsoe went 18-for-34 and was intercepted once and sacked six times.

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Game Summary

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  • The Patriots (6-5) couldn't capitalize on their own big plays, and Bledsoe couldn't find his receivers as New England lost its third in a row.

    "I'm pretty down," said Bledsoe, who threw a 45-yard pass to Terry Glenn with 2:41 to play to avoid New England's first shutout in six years.

    "To lose three in a row and to feel like you're ultimately responsible for that is a very depressing thing," Bledsoe said.

    New England coach Pete Carroll agreed. "We're not making plays on offense, and we're putting ourselves in tight situations," Carroll said. "We're not playing good enough football."

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    Buffalo Defeated New England Sunday 17-7 In A Key AFC East Game.(AP)
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  • Buffalo moved to within a half game of Miami (8-3), which lost to Dallas on Thanksgiving Day. The Bills have a bye week, and play the Patriots again Dec. 26.

    Buffalo, 4-2 in the AFC East with two division games remaining, has allowed only 54 points in six home games this season and has held three teams to no touchdowns. The Bills are 5-1 at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

    "If we can keep this going down the stretch, that will help us a lot," Bills defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell said.

    Christie's field goal made it 3-0 with 1:32 left in the first, set up by a pass interference call against Chris Carter on Flutie's long pass for Moulds. That gave the Bills a first-and-goal at the Patriots 8-yard line, but two carries by Antowain Smith and a futile Flutie scramble left the Bills at the 10.

    "The wind was tricky," Flutie said. "I tried to put a little extra zing on the ball and one pass went over Eric's head; but on the pass interference call, I laid the ball out there and Eric had to fight for it."

    Flutie's quick strike to Moulds just before halftime made it 10-0. Patriots cornerback Steve Israel tripped while chasing Moulds, who sped away and made the catch over his shoulder.

    "I just fell," Israel said. "I believe I got tangled up with his legs. That's the tough thing about this position; one mistake, and it's six points."

    The touchdown catch by Gash with 10:21 in the third followed a 45-yard completion to rookie tight end Bobby Collins.

    Bledsoe, who had eight interceptions in the previous two games, threw for 54 yards with one interception and four sacks in the first half.

    The Patriots had chances.

    New England punter Lee Johnson took off for a first down on fourth-and-3 in the second quarter, but two sacks of Bledsoe followed.

    Cornerback Ken Irvin intercepted Bledsoe, but New England later drove to the Buffalo 18, where Kevin Faulk fumbled and Sam Rogers recovered.

    The Patriots, who have a long tradition of off-field troubles, provided similar drama when Vincent Brisby and safetLawyer Milloy scuffled during a charity event last week, and Glenn was late for practice Thursday.

    Brisby and Milloy reportedly got into a dispute at a nightclub in Saugus, Mass., and had to be separated by teammates.

    Notes

  • The Bills became the sixth team in NFL history to record 100 wins in a decade. The Bills are 100-56 in the 1990s.
  • Buffalo has not allowed a single back to rush for 100 yards since Edgerrin James 112 in the season opener.
  • Buffalo's Jamie Nails started at right guard in place of Dusty Zeigler, who went home to attend his mother's funeral.
  • Bills have won 11 of their last 13 at home.
  • The Patriots have lost five of their last seven.
  • Flutie is 24-12 as a starter in the NFL and 16-2 in home starts.

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