Final

Bills 17

(0-1, 0-1 away)

Patriots 19

(1-0, 1-0 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, September 10, 2006

Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA 

1 2 3 4 T
BUF 10 7 0 017
NE 7 0 7 519

Top Performers

Passing: J. Losman (BUF) - 164 YDS

Rushing: L. Maroney (NE) - 17 CAR, 86 YDS

Receiving: B. Watson (NE) - 3 REC, 50 YDS

Late safety completes second-half Pats rally vs. Bills

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -- The scoreboard looming over J.P. Losman as he scrambled behind the Bills' own goal line showed a tie game. Ty Warren was determined to change that.

It was over when ...
Early in the third with the score 17-7, the Bills went for a fourth-and-1 at the Pats' 7. They failed, and the slow-starting Pats were fired up on both sides of the ball after that, holding Buffalo scoreless for the entire second half.
Game ball goes to ...
Pats DE Ty Warren, who sacked Bills QB J.P. Losman in the end zone with 8:33 left. The game-winning safety completed New England's comeback from a 10-point halftime deficit.
ESPN's take ...
The Bills moved the ball on the ground and mixed in an efficient passing game to take a halftime lead. Losman made some nice throws to set the tone on offense while Buffalo's defense frustrated Tom Brady in the first half. New England won the game by setting the tone in the third quarter. The Pats established a solid running game and Brady made timely throws to control the clock.

"My priority was to get him in the end zone," the Patriots defensive end said. "We're tied up, so I'm thinking, 'Let me get this dude.'"

Losman went down, the official's arms went up and New England beat the Buffalo Bills 19-17 with poise under pressure and increasing pressure by a defensive line.

"I should have gotten rid of the ball, but the game was on the line," Losman said. "I dipped under one defender, but then there was another guy."

Warren's game-winning safety with 8:33 left completed a comeback from a very poor start that had the Patriots trailing 17-7 at halftime. Even the pregame activities were missing something.

For the first time in three years, the Patriots' season opener was not preceded by the unveiling of a championship banner. Kicker Adam Vinatieri, wide receiver David Givens and linebacker Willie McGinest were elsewhere after leaving as free agents.

The Patriots didn't have holdout wide receiver Deion Branch or injured linebacker Tedy Bruschi either.

And on the game's first play from scrimmage, Tom Brady fumbled as he was belted by Takeo Spikes, and London Fletcher ran the recovery in for a 5-yard touchdown.

"It's no way to start the season, but we recovered and came back and put together a nice drive after that," said Brady, who was disappointed with his performance, 11-for-23 for 163 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

Bill Belichick became the 31st coach in NFL history with 100 regular-season wins, improving his record to 100-77.

Elias Says

London Fletcher-Baker
Fletcher-Baker
London Fletcher-Baker scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery 12 seconds into the Bills' 19-17 loss to the Patriots. That equaled the fastest touchdown in NFL history by a team in its opening game of the season. The record was set by Tyronne Drakeford of the Saints in 1999, when he recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff.

• For more Elias Says, Click here.

New England cut the lead to 17-14 with 2:52 left in the third quarter on Brady's 17-yard pass to Kevin Faulk after Buffalo went for it on fourth-and-1 at the Patriots' 7-yard line and the line stopped Willis McGahee for no gain.

"That felt great," Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork said. "The fans got into it and we got into it."

McGahee wasn't sure what was happening.

"I wasn't worried. I thought it was third down," he said. "It was the play to run."

The pressure was on again when Stephen Gostkowski, the rookie replacing Vinatieri, connected on a 32-yard field goal that tied the game at 17 with 9:33 remaining.

Exactly one minute later, the Patriots took the lead for good on the third play of Buffalo's possession, sending the Bills to their sixth straight loss against New England.

On the first two plays, Losman threw the ball away under a heavy rush and McGahee was thrown for a 1-yard loss.

Then Losman dropped about 4 yards into the end zone as linebacker Tully Banta-Cain rushed from Losman's left and got a hand on the quarterback. Warren, charging in from the other side, tackled Losman for the safety.

"We handled it early, but their pressure mounted as the game went on," Buffalo coach Dick Jauron said.

On the third play of the Bills' next possession, Richard Seymour sacked Losman for a 6-yard loss, Brian Moorman punted and the Patriots held the ball for the remaining 6:15. Losman finished 15-for-23 for 164 yards.

"You can tell why they have won three of the last five Super Bowls," defensive end Aaron Schobel said. "They know how to finish games."

Buffalo, with a new coaching staff, dominated early, starting with the sack by Spikes, who missed the last 13 games last season with a torn Achilles' tendon and left Sunday's game on the Patriots second series with a mild hamstring injury that he doesn't expect to hold him out of next Sunday's game at Miami.

The Patriots tied it 7-7 on their next possession on Brady's 9-yard scoring pass to Troy Brown. Buffalo regained the lead on Rian Lindell's 53-yard field goal and then made it 17-7 on an 18-yard run by Anthony Thomas.

The Patriots put together a 183-yard running attack with rookie first-round draft pick Laurence Maroney gaining 86 yards and Corey Dillon adding 73.

"He runs one way, I run another and we keep fresh legs in the game," Maroney said.

On defense, they were fresh enough to send Losman and the Bills to defeat.

"We're as good as we want to be," Warren said, but " it's too early in the season to be putting crowns on anyone's head."

Game notes


The Patriots improved their winning percentage to .500 over their 47-year history at 356-356-9. ... Neither team had a receiver with more than three catches -- Josh Reed and Peerless Price for Buffalo and Benjamin Watson for New England. ... Buffalo had 21 players who weren't on last year's team. ... The Patriots converted both of their fourth-down opportunities. The Bills failed on their only one.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
BUF
NE
1st Downs1219
Passing 1st downs
78
Rushing 1st downs
511
1st downs from penalties
00
3rd down efficiency
3-115-13
4th down efficiency
0-12-2
Total Plays5067
Total Yards240319
Yards per play4.84.8
Total Drives912
Passing141136
Comp-Att
15-2311-23
Yards per pass
5.45.2
Interceptions thrown
01
Sacks-Yards Lost
3-233-27
Rushing99183
Rushing Attempts
2441
Yards per rush
4.14.5
Red Zone (Made-Att)1-22-3
Penalties7-531-5
Turnovers02
Fumbles lost
01
Interceptions thrown
01
Defensive / Special Teams TDs10
Possession27:0532:55

Passing Leaders

BUFC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Losman15/231647.1003-23
NEC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Brady11/231637.1213-27

Rushing Leaders

BUFCARYDSAVGTDLG
McGahee20703.5015
Thomas3299.7118
NECARYDSAVGTDLG
Maroney17865.1027
Dillon16734.6011

Receiving Leaders

BUFRECYDSAVGTDLG
Reed34013.3020
Price3258.3011
NERECYDSAVGTDLG
Watson35016.7034
Caldwell23316.5024

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERBUFNE
bufTD14:55London Fletcher, 5 yd fumble return (Rian Lindell kick is good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 5 yds, 0:00
70
neTD10:47Troy Brown, 9 yd pass from Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski kick is good)
Drive info: 9 plays, 80 yds, 4:05
77
bufFG4:25Rian Lindell 44 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 11 plays, 48 yds, 6:23
107
SECOND QUARTERBUFNE
bufTD11:45Anthony Thomas, 18 yd run (Rian Lindell kick is good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 73 yds, 5:18
177
THIRD QUARTERBUFNE
neTD2:56Kevin Faulk, 17 yd pass from Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski kick is good)
Drive info: 12 plays, 93 yds, 6:32
1714
FOURTH QUARTERBUFNE
neFG9:37Stephen Gostkowski 24 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 14 plays, 63 yds, 6:32
1717
neSF8:55Safety
Drive info: 3 plays, -9 yds, 1:00
1719