ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- This was the classic "be careful what you wish for" situation.
A week after Buffalo Bills fans had chanted "We want Brady! We want Brady!", their excitement building after a resounding season-opening win over Andrew Luck and the Colts, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady promised them he'd be there Sunday for a 1 p.m. kickoff at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Brady wasn't just there. He owned the day, first helping the Patriots take control of the game early, then navigating them through some sweat-it-out moments late when things unexpectedly got dicey.
His final stat line: 38-of-59 for 466 yards, with three touchdowns and no interceptions and a 40-32 victory.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, Brady is the first player in NFL history to have the following combination in the same game: 450 or more passing yards, three passing touchdowns, no interceptions and 55 or more passing attempts.
“We threw the ball a lot. I don’t know if I’ve ever thrown it that much,” said Brady, whose 65 pass attempts against San Francisco in 2012 marked the only game in which he’s had more.
Brady’s 466 passing yards were the most all-time against the Bills, eclipsing the previous high of 464 by George Blanda in 1961.
Executing a masterful game plan drawn up by offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels that featured a quick tempo, spread formations out of multiple personnel groupings, and the ball coming out of his hands quickly, Brady was in command.
For all the talk about the Bills' defensive prowess, it was the Brady-led offensive blitz that was the dominant storyline.
The defining stretch came after the Bills jumped ahead 7-0 on their opening drive. The home crowd was rocking, and at that point, it looked like it could be a long day. After trading three-and-outs, the Patriots' offense scored touchdowns on its next three possessions.
And just like that, it was 21-7.
The Bills made a late charge, but ultimately, with Brady and the offense pushing the pace, the hole was too deep to dig out of in a penalty-filled game.
Part of what helped the offense click throughout was staying a step ahead of the Bills schematically. Bill Belichick said the Bills hardly blitzed in the first half outside of a few zone pressures, and then the Patriots were prepared for more pressure in the second half, which was how it unfolded.
Brady distributed the football to a variety of weapons, with receivers Julian Edelman, Aaron Dobson and Danny Amendola, tight end Rob Gronkowski and running back Dion Lewis the main targets. The offensive line, a hot topic of discussion leading into the game, more than held its own against a powerful defensive front.
And of course, the offense is just one phase of the game, and if not for some defensive adjustments after a rough start, things could have been different. The Patriots totaled eight sacks and tightened up their shaky run defense after the first drive.