Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Sports

September 8, 2013

Familiar finish for the Pats & Bills

Gostkowski last-second FG clinches 23-21 New England win

ORCHARD PARK —

Tom Brady overcame a sloppy start with his new group of receivers to produce what’s become a familiar finish.
Brady marched the Patriots 49 yards in 12 plays to set up Stephen Gostkowski’s 35-yard field goal with 5 seconds left for a 23-21 season-opening win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
Brady twice completed passes to convert third downs on the decisive drive. That included threading a throw to his right to Danny Amendola in traffic for a 10-yard gain on third-and-8 at the Bills 39.
Shane Vereen ran 15 yards on the next play, and the Patriots settled on running time off the clock before Gostkowski won it.
Brady finished 29 of 52 for 288 yards and two touchdowns in helping the Patriots win their 10th straight season opener. That ties Portsmouth/Detroit (1930-39) for the NFL’s third-longest streak.
It marked the 36th time Brady led the Patriots to victory while tied or trailing in the fourth quarter. And he did it with nearly a brand new group of receivers.
Amendola, an offseason free-agent addition, had 10 catches for 104 yards. Julian Edelman, the Patriots’ most senior receiver with tight end Rob Gronkowski sidelined, had seven catches for 79 yards and two touchdowns.
The Bills nearly pulled off a stunning upset in their first game under rookie head coach Doug Marrone and rookie quarterback EJ Manuel.
Instead, it turned into an all-too-familiar outcome for the Bills against their AFC East rivals. They now drop to 1-19 in their past 20 meetings and are 3-24 in 27 games since Bill Belichick took over as Patriots coach in 2000. Belichick won his 206th career game to move one ahead of Marty Schottenheimer for sixth place on the NFL list.
Manuel, the Bills’ first-round draft pick, completed 18 of 27 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns. After trailing the entire first half, Manuel put the Bills ahead 21-17 on the first possession of the third quarter. Behind a solid running game, Manuel capped an 11-play, 80-yard march with a perfectly placed 18-yard pass to Stevie Johnson.

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