Patriots quarterback Tom Brady asserted his on-field ownership of the Buffalo Bills again Sunday, matching an NFL record in beating them for the 26th time.
Brady went 22 for 33 for 315 yards and threw four touchdowns in leading New England to a 41-25 win. He improved to 26-3 against Buffalo, matching a record set by Brett Favre, who went 26-9 against Detroit.
Best of all, Brady’s performance had Bills fans heading for the exits early in the fourth quarter, although Patriots fans remained as the clock wound down.
“We’ve had a lot of experiences where there’s 70,000 people against you,” Brady said. “And at the end there’s 5,000 Patriots [fans] on the road that are cheering for us. … To be so far ahead you can run out the clock, it’s a great feeling.”
The Patriots (7-1) have won four in a row since Brady returned after opening the season serving the NFL’s four-game “Deflategate” suspension. His absence included New England’s only blemish, a 16-0 home loss to Buffalo on Oct. 2, the first time the Patriots were shut out at home since 1993.
And don’t think that loss didn’t still sting.
“You know, they like to talk all that. They got that win,” said tight end Rob Gronkowski, who had 109 yards receiving and a touchdown. “I’m so glad we came in here and showed them what we’re really about.”
After a Bills field goal, Brady threw touchdown passes on his first two drives. They included a 53-yarder to former Bills receiver Chris Hogan, who beat cornerback Stephon Gilmore up the left sideline.
The Patriots then broke the game open by scoring 27 points over five consecutive possessions in a surge that began with Gronkowski scoring his 69th career touchdown to break a franchise record previously held by Stanley Morgan.
The Bills (4-4) sputtered minus their offensive top threat, running back LeSean McCoy, who has a hamstring injury. And their defence was unable to keep the Patriots in check despite star defensive tackle Marcell Dareus making his season debut.
Dareus missed the past three games because of a hamstring injury and missed the start of the season serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
“Obviously, we weren’t good enough,” Bills coach Rex Ryan said. “We made way too many mistakes, mistakes that we haven’t made all season. And against a guy like Brady, he makes you pay.”
The Patriots punted just three times and converted nine of 13 third-down opportunities.
Backup running back Mike Gillislee scored on a three-yard run and Taylor scrambled for a 26-yard touchdown on fourth down in the third quarter. Jonathan Williams scored on a one-yard run with 30 seconds left.
Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman also caught touchdown passes, while LeGarrette Blount scored on a one-yard run.
For Brady, it was his first four-TD outing since a 36-7 win over Miami last October. It was the most he’s had on the road since throwing four in a 37-22 win at Orchard Park on Oct. 12, 2014.
Of his 20 regular-season games with four touchdowns passing or more, six have been against Buffalo.
Gronkowski, who grew up in Buffalo, actually set two franchise records with his 53-yard touchdown catch. It was his 69th touchdown and 68th TD receiving, moving him one ahead of Morgan in both categories.Report Typo/Error