Brady, Branch: Defense saved day

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The prevailing thought following the New England Patriots' 37-31 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday is that the offense saved the defense, outpacing the Bills just enough to cover up holes on the other side of the ball.

Just don't tell that to quarterback Tom Brady or receiver Deion Branch, who both claimed after the game that it was the defense that bailed out the offense.

"The defense really saved the day," Brady said. "We certainly had more opportunities out there to score more points and we didn't. The defense made a couple great plays there at the end."

"Thanks to our defense," Branch said. "They did a great job of saving us."

The Patriots' offense gave their defense a cushion to work with in the game, opening up a 17-3 lead in the second quarter Moreover, the offense didn't turn the ball over, making the defense's afternoon easier, and scored four touchdowns in five trips inside the red zone.

However, Branch points to the Patriots' final offensive drive, where they marched down to the Bills' 2-yard line before being pushed back and eventually kicking a 27-yard field goal. The difference was critical: a touchdown would have made it a two-score game, and instead the Bills had a chance to take the lead on a late touchdown.

"We put a lot of pressure on our defense by not going out and finishing the game. There were a couple of times that we have put them away and we didn't," he said.

Fellow receiver Wes Welker had two notable drops in the game, one of which he said had to do with glare from the afternoon sun.

"We left a lot of plays out there that we have to make. I think that starts with myself," Welker said, referring to his drops. "We got down to the 1-yard line, then we got stuffed, then we had a penalty.

"We just made it a lot tougher situation than it needed to be."