Drew Bledsoe threw well enough to lead the New England Patriots to one of their most dramatic victories. If he's throwing the same way Friday, he doesn't expect to play against Buffalo.
With a splint on his fractured right index finger and doubts in his mind, Bledsoe said Wednesday he would resume practice Friday to see if he can control the ball enough to face the Bills.
"I won't know until Friday," he said. "If I can throw and hit what I'm aiming at, then I'll play and if I can't hit what I'm aiming at, then I won't play. So it's really going to be a pretty simple decision."
If he can't play, Scott Zolak, an eight-year veteran with just 181 career passes, will replace him.
Bledsoe was injured when his finger hit Miami defensive tackle Shane Burton during Monday night's winning drive in New England's 26-23 victory over the Dolphins. He had trouble gripping the ball after that, but still completed 4-of-7 passes for 54 yards after being hurt.
His final pass was a 25-yard touchdown to Shawn Jefferson with 29 seconds left that won the game. But Bledsoe said Wednesday he probably wouldn't play Sunday if he's throwing the ball the same way.
"I was fortunate and the team was fortunate on Monday night that a couple of the poor throws I made weren't interceptions," he said. "If I can't throw
with a good deal of precision, then Scott will come in and play and we'll win with Scott."
Drew Bledsoe will test his injured finger at Friday's practice. (AP)
Bledsoe has the longest current playing streak among AFC quarterbacks, 55 games. His most recent game may be one of the most important.
He brought the Patriots back in the final minute -- his 12th fourth-quarter, comeback victory -- despite being injured and kept them from drpping three games behind Miami in the AFC East with five games left.
"It was a signature-type game for Drew, a game that may change the way a lot of people view him," said Doug Flutie, the Bills quarterback who will face the Patriots on Sunday.
"It's a defining game for him. I think Drew is a guy who's always had kind of a monkey on his back as far as winning the big game coming from behind," Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson said. "He needs a game like this in his career."
He may not have another game of any kind for a while. The decision on whether he plays may not be made until just before the game. And if he does play, he'll have a splint on his finger and may have to change the way he takes snaps from center.
X-rays showed two fractures in the finger, but a hand specialist decided that surgery was not required.
"It's a little sore, a little swollen," Bledsoe said.
For the Patriots, it could be painful if he can't play after one of the best games of his career.
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