Foxbourough, MA (WKBW) The talk all week was about finishing. Once again the Bills couldn't.
After making my way down from the press box I was on the Bills sideline for the final three minutes of the game.
Just long enough to see the Bills defense hold, force a field goal, and put the ball in Ryan Fitzpatrick's hands with a chance to win. A chance to win after 14 penalties and up until that point two turnovers.
The confidence level of Bills fans at that point may have differed, but I can tell you that Patriots fans inside Gillette Stadium were gripping. And for good reason. Fitzpatrick had the Buffalo offense humming. He had the New England defense on it's heals again marching the Bills to the Patriots 15 with :33 to play down 37-31. His final throw wiped away an otherwise solid day.
T.J. Graham admitted after the game that he ran the wrong route on the interception. He should have come
across the face of Devin McCourty but instead went behind him. Fitzpatrick was throwing to a spot in the end zone.
Graham wasn't there. McCourty was. Game. Set. Match.
I felt for Fitzpatrick in the post game locker room. Inconsistency had plagued him through the first 8 games.
He had rightly been criticized for his slow start to the season, but Sunday he played well enough
for the Bills to win. Fitzpatrick completed 27 of 40 passes for 337 yards two touchdowns and an interception.
It was the 8th time in his career that he threw for over 300 yards, second time this season, both against the Patriots.
But when he had an opportunity to answer his critics and earn a signature win on the road.. his fault or not..
he couldn't finish.
The Bills offense finished the day out gaining the Patriots 481 to 347. That's saying something because once again Tom Brady
and company were able to put up points in a hurry. Especially over the first two quarters of play.
The only drive the Patriots didn't score on in the first half came when they got the ball with :31 left in the second quarter.
New England led 24-17 at the break.
To give credit the Bills did a better job in the second half and came up with a couple of big stops. The biggest
was holding the Patriots to a field goal when they had the ball 1st and goal from the Buffalo 2 with 2:54 to play.
The stop kept the Bills within striking distance on that final drive at 37-31. The Buffalo defense held Stevan Ridley to 98 yards
rushing on 22 carries.
Still there are no moral victories when you are 3-6.. with losses in 5 of the last 6. Coming close doesn't mean much when you dropped to 0-11 at Gillette Stadium. Fred Jackson called Sunday a "must win" game. Looks like the Bills "must win" them all now over the final 7 weeks.