FOXBORO, MA — Sometimes winning isn’t everything, but it certainly helped make up for a poor performance by the Patriots on Sunday.
It certainly wasn’t pretty.
New England allowed 7 sacks to quarterback Tom Brady along with 2 fumbles and an interception, but they still somehow managed to beat the Buffalo Bills 21-11 on Sunday in Foxboro. The Patriots did little on offense with respect to their passing game, with Brady finishing 15-of-21 for 107 yards and a touchdown. However runningback Antowain Smith came up with yet another 100-yard rushing performance and two touchdowns including a 42-yard scamper with just under two-minutes left in the game to seal the victory for the Patriots.
Meanwhile New England’s defense managed 5 sacks of their own, including one by Terrell Buckley that came in the fourth quarter that knocked Bills starting quarterback Rob Johnson out of the football game. Rookie defensive lineman Richard Seymour finished the game with 7 tackles, including 5-solo and 2 assists and did a good job once again stopping the run and helping to hold Buffalo runningback Travis Henry to 51-yards rushing.
The Patriots continued to blitz much like they did last weekend against Atlanta, with Willie McGinest, Roman Phifer, Ty Law, Bobby Hamilton, Tedy Bruschi, and Terrell Buckley each getting their hands on Johnson Sunday. New England also held the Bills to 204-yards passing, and kept them out of the endzone until just under 3-minutes remaining in the game.
New England scored first following a 17-yard reverse by Troy Brown that helped set up a leaping 6-yard touchdown catch by runningback Kevin Faulk. But on their next possession Brady was intercepted by Antoine Winfield while trying to connect with Terrell Buckley at the Buffalo 22-yard line, and Johnson connected with Jay Riemersma for 36-yards to help set up a Jake Arians field goal. The field goal cut the lead to 7-3 with 11:42 remaining in the 2nd quarter.
The Patriots next touchdown came in the 3rd quarter after Bills punter Brian Moorman only kicked a 20-yard punt, New England took over with 1st-and-10 at the Buffalo 40-yard line. But the Bills gave New England 25-yards on a pass interference penalty on Winfield and two plays later Antowain Smith took the ball in from one yard out and the Patriots lead 14-3 with 7:32 left in the quarter.
The Bills appeared to get their first touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 19 yard strike from Johnson to Peerless Price, but a holding penalty on Riemersma nullified the touchdown. Two plays later Buckley sacked Johnson and knocked him out of the game with a shoulder injury.
The Bills caught a break after Brady dropped back on a 3rd-and-5 play and was sacked by defensive end Kendrick Office that caused him to fumble the football. Linebacker Jay Foreman recovered giving Buffalo 1st-and-10 at the New England 17. Two plays later back-up quarterback Alex Van Pelt found Price in the endzone and the Bills later converted the two-point conversion to cut the lead to 14-11 with 2:48 left in the game.
Buffalo then nearly recovered an onside kick but Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel recovered the football, and two plays later runningback Antowain Smith broke through the Bills defense and took off on a 42-yard touchdown run to seal the victory for New England.
The Patriots will now prepare for a Sunday night battle with the St. Louis Rams at Foxboro Stadium.
Posted Under: 2001 Patriots Season