1:00 PM ET, September 26, 2010
Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA
The visiting Bills hope a quarterback switch can help improve the NFL's worst offense Sunday against New England, which has won the last 13 meetings between these AFC East foes.
The Patriots (1-1) looked primed for a 2-0 start after taking an early lead over the New York Jets last Sunday, but were outscored 18-0 in the second half of a 28-14 defeat, bringing back questions about their ability to finish victories.
Four of their six losses last year came after the Patriots led at halftime. Last weekend, they were outgained 196-80 while committing three turnovers after the break.
"I think when it comes down to these second-half games and our level of toughness, we've got to go out there and play tougher," quarterback Tom Brady said. "I have to do a better job of leading this team and certainly execute better when it's crunch time."
Brady threw a pair of interceptions and lost a fumble against the Jets, tainting what had otherwise been a steady start.
He has completed 63.4 percent of his passes for 506 yards and five touchdowns, including a highlight-reel catch by Randy Moss that gave the Patriots a 14-7 lead over New York. That, however, was Moss' last catch even though Jets star cornerback Darrelle Revis left with a hamstring injury.
"We will get back to the drawing board and, hopefully, take our frustration out on each other during the week and see how the ball rolls against Buffalo," Moss said.
Facing the Bills (0-2) hasn't typically posed problems for New England, which hasn't lost to Buffalo since a 31-0 defeat Sept. 7, 2003.
The 13-game winning streak, which has featured an average margin of 17.9 points, is tied with San Diego's run against Oakland for the longest active streak in any NFL series.
The Patriots got two late touchdowns in a 25-24 home win over Buffalo last season, keeping the Bills winless at Gillette Stadium. Their last road victory over New England came with Doug Flutie at quarterback, a 16-13 overtime victory at Foxborough Stadium on Nov. 5, 2000.
The current Bills seem unlikely to end the drought. They are last in the NFL with 17 points and 352 yards, prompting first-year coach Chan Gailey to bench quarterback Trent Edwards in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Gailey was hired in hopes of improving Buffalo's offense, which has ranked no better than 25th for seven consecutive seasons.
"We're looking for a spark," Gailey said. "We're looking for a something that gives us a new look, a new thought process, some new play on the field. We're looking for the right combination, and we haven't found that yet."
Fitzpatrick also replaced Edwards last year and had mixed results in eight starts. He was 17 of 25 for 178 yards, a touchdown and an interception in a 17-10 home loss to the Patriots on Dec. 20.
"There's some chemistry there because this isn't my first time stepping in with them, which I'm excited about," Fitzpatrick said. "The good part is the that there are pieces in place to get it done."
Buffalo entered the year with three potential starters at running back, but the team totaled 50 rushing yards in a 15-10 loss to Miami on Sept. 12. Marshawn Lynch was back as the starter ahead of rookie C.J. Spiller last Sunday against Green Bay, but Lynch's 17 carries for 64 yards weren't nearly enough in a 34-7 defeat.
Top receiver Lee Evans did not have a catch in that game, and will look to do better against a young New England secondary.
With rookie Devin McCourty and second-year man Darius Butler starting at cornerback, the Patriots had trouble slowing down the Jets last weekend, allowing the struggling Mark Sanchez to throw for three touchdowns without an interception.
Butler committed a pair of key pass interference penalties in the fourth quarter.
"Some things you just can't answer," Moss said. "It just seemed like we fell apart in the second half."
The Patriots also lost running back Kevin Faulk for the season with a torn knee ligament.
New England is trying to avoid its first 1-2 start since 2001, although it went on to win the Super Bowl that season.
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New England Patriots
|Avg Points Allowed||29.0||27.3|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||BUF|
|Rush Yds Allowed||BUF|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|New England leads 19-1|
|Dec 20, 2009||BUF 10, NE 17|
|Sep 14, 2009||BUF 24, @NE 25|
|Dec 28, 2008||BUF 0, NE 13|
|Nov 9, 2008||BUF 10, @NE 20|
|Nov 18, 2007||BUF 10, NE 56|
|Sep 23, 2007||BUF 7, @NE 38|
|Oct 22, 2006||BUF 6, NE 28|
|Sep 10, 2006||BUF 17, @NE 19|
|Dec 11, 2005||BUF 7, NE 35|
|Oct 30, 2005||BUF 16, @NE 21|
|Nov 14, 2004||BUF 6, @NE 29|
|Oct 3, 2004||BUF 17, NE 31|
|Dec 27, 2003||BUF 0, @NE 31|
|Sep 7, 2003||BUF 31, NE 0|
|Dec 8, 2002||BUF 17, @NE 27|
|Nov 3, 2002||BUF 7, NE 38|
|Dec 16, 2001||BUF 9, NE 12|
|Nov 11, 2001||BUF 11, @NE 21|