New England gained 212 yards in the first half, but could only manage three Stephen Gostkowski field goals (50, 31 and 39 yards) to build a 9-3 lead. Only Jacksonville has given up fewer touchdown passes so the Bills will be looking to keep Brady and the gang grounded.
The Patriots find themselves in a rock fight at New Era Stadium in Orchard Park, New York, where they hold a 9-3 lead at the half over the Buffalo Bills.
The Patriots (10-2) didn't need Brady to be at his best to reach double-digit victories for the 15th straight season. The Bills moved back over.500 with an impressive 16-10 win at Kansas City last weekend after surrendering a staggering 135 points during a ghastly three-game slide.
The two-headed running back attack of Dion Lewis (15 carries, 92 yards) and Rex Burkhead (12 carries, 78 yards, 2 TDs) helped, and so did a bend-but-don't-break defense that decisively slammed the door shut in the red zone. Buffalo finished the game with just 268 total yards. It didn't help that McDermott's decision backfired in benching quarterback Tyrod Taylor in favor of rookie Nathan Peterman, who threw five first-half interceptions in a 54-24 loss at the Los Angeles Chargers on November 19. Days like Sunday will be critical at playoff time when New England needs to run the ball in specific situations.
Still, it seemed a matter of time before Gronk, who had 28 yards receiving at halftime, asserted himself.
Rob Gronkowski inflicted his usual pain on the Bills with nine catches for 147 yards before unloading with a nasty hit on Tre'Davious White after the cornerback pushed off to intercept Brady in the fourth quarter. Against the Chiefs, the Bills combined for 81 yards and four first downs on five second-half drives. The 2010 first-round pick earned one Pro Bowl selection during his five years in Buffalo before signing a lucrative contract to join the dark side.
Patriots are a rare 5-0 in road games this season. Buffalo threw in some Wildcat plays, and the Patriots also had problems containing Taylor on scrambles.
New England took control of the game by scoring touchdowns on consecutive possessions to start the third quarter.