The Buffalo Bills ended a four-year, seven-game losing streak against the New England Patriots on Sunday, beating them 24-21 and regaining some pride after being manhandled by the Pats for so long.
The Pats, trying to stop their three-game skid and reestablish themselves as a mildly competitive team, desperately needed a win against the Bills on Sunday. They almost got it done, hanging around within striking distance in that signature Patriots way. They ended the first half losing by one point at 7-6, and after the Bills came out swinging with a touchdown in the third quarter, they tied it at 14-14 with a TD and two-point conversion.
The Pats never managed to get the lead. The score kept seesawing away from them. Another Bills touchdown had them down 21-14, before Pats quarterback Cam Newton came alive at the start of the fourth quarter. He threw a gorgeous pass to start the drive, and then he ran the ball in himself to tie the game at 21-21. But since lead changes were the theme of the second half (there were four total), a field goal immediately gave the Bills a 24-21 lead.
With time ticking down, the Patriots were poised to tie the game and force overtime with Newton leading the way. Instead, it was Newton who ended up costing head coach Bill Belichick his 36th win against Buffalo.
Down three with 37 seconds in the game, the Pats had marched 65 yards down the field and were within field-goal range. Newton took the ball and was rushing to get New England even closer when defensive tackle Justin Zimmer hit Newton from behind. The ball fell out of his hands and was recovered by Buffalo. Game over.
That fumble gave the Bills their first home win against the Patriots since 2011. And now the Patriots will return to New England with a 2-5 record and a lot of questions to answer.
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