ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Time to Bill-ieve?
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and the new-look, resilient, win-in-the-clutch Buffalo Bills are showing they're for real after producing their second consecutive stunning comeback victory -- this time against their AFC East nemesis, the New England Patriots.
Rian Lindell hit a 28-yard field goal as time expired to cap a 34-31 win over the Patriots in which the Bills overcame a 21-0 second-quarter deficit and snapped a 15-game losing streak against New England.
It was a win for the new generation of Bills, who don't know any better. Former Bills lineman Ruben Brown hugged Buffalo players as they ran up the tunnel. Running back Fred Jackson ran around the field carrying a Bills flag. And stadium workers took no chances, first guarding the goal posts before lowering them on their own before fans got any ideas.
It was that kind of euphoric win for a team attempting to turn around a dreadful past in which it has gone 11 seasons without making the playoffs. And it's a victory that suddenly has the Bills (3-0) alone in first place atop the division after the Jets (2-1) lost at Oakland.
The Bills won courtesy of yet another Fitzpatrick-led rally. It was reminiscent of what they did in a 38-35 win over Oakland a week earlier, when Buffalo scored TDs on their final five possession to overcome a 21-3 deficit.
Fitzpatrick went 27 of 40 for 369 yards and two TDs. Jackson had 72 yards rushing and a touchdown, and 87 yards receiving, including a 38-yard catch that set up Lindell's decisive kick.
The Patriots (2-1) had a 10-game regular-season winning streak snapped and suddenly find themselves looking up in the standings at Buffalo.
Wes Welker had 16 catches for a franchise record 217 yards and two scores, and Rob Gronkowski also scored twice. Tom Brady, went 30 of 45 for 386 yards and four scores for New England, but uncharacteristically unraveled.
Despite setting a league record for most yards passing over a three-game stretch, Brady matched a career worst with four interceptions. That included Drayton Florence's 27-yard interception return for a touchdown with 10:22 left that came 14 seconds after Jackson tied the game at 24 with a 1-yard plunge.