Patriots survive physical war and top Bills 20-13

The Sports Xchange

November 24, 2015 at 9:23 am.

Nov 23, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) is upended by Buffalo Bills free safety Corey Graham (20) during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 23, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) is upended by Buffalo Bills free safety Corey Graham (20) during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The undefeated New England Patriots survived a physical war and topped the Buffalo Bills 20-13 on Monday night.

Running back James White scored his first two NFL touchdowns and wide receiver Danny Amendola caught nine passes for 117 yards for the Patriots (10-0). Amendola suffered a knee injury in the second half.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, pressured and hit throughout the game, threw one touchdown pass and his third interception of the season as New England won its 13th straight game dating to the last postseason. Brady finished 20 of 39 for 277 yards and is 26-3 lifetime against Buffalo, including 2-0 this season.

New England’s Stephen Gostkowski kicked two field goals but also missed for the first time this year in a game that saw several players get banged up.

Running back LeSean McCoy scored on a 27-yard touchdown run to tie it at 10 for the Bills (5-5) in the third quarter.

A fumbled punt by Buffalo’s Leodis McKelvin helped New England get the field goal that made it 20-10 with 47 seconds left in the third quarter. Dan Carpenter’s second field goal of the game brought the Bills closer with 3:30 left, and Buffalo had one last chance to tie it.

New England scored in the first three quarters but came up empty in the fourth, ending a run of an NFL-record 38 straight quarters with points since being blanked in the first quarter of the season.

Bills quarterbackTyrod Taylor, who missed on several deep balls in the game, was impressive under pressure and finished 20 of 36 for 233 yards. Wide receiver Chris Hogan had six catches for 95 yards. Taylor injured his right shoulder late and stayed in the game.

The officials had a difficult night, often appearing as if they had no idea what was going on.

A bizarre play in the third quarter may well have taken seven points away from New England. Brady scrambled to his right and, as he was nearing the sideline, threw 14 yards to an open Amendola, who had only one opposing player between himself and a touchdown.

But a whistle blew and, after a long meeting, the play was blown dead after 14 yards — and Buffalo coach Rex Ryan got a sideline penalty for 15 more yards. With the crowd booing, the Patriots kept moving and Gostkowski missed wide right from 54 yards — ending his streak of 31 straight field goals overall and 52 at home.

Buffalo then marched 56 yards to tie it.

Patriots wide receiver Aaron Dobson, a late addition to the injury list as doubtful earlier Monday, played but left with an ankle injury after a catch in the second quarter. He was helped off the field and carted to the locker room.

Brady threw what would have been his third interception of the season, off the hands of tight end Rob Gronkowski into the arms of safety Bacarri Rambo, on the Patriots’ first drive.

But offsetting penalties brought the play back and New England shook off three infractions by its offensive line to take a 3-0 lead 7:31 into the game with Gostkowski converting from 35 yards.

The Bills got the points back with 9:27 left in the second quarter. Taylor missed what should have been an open Hogan, throwing the ball behind him to allow safety Patrick Chung to disrupt the pass, and Carpenter connected from 52 yards.

Carpenter hit the right upright with a 48-yard attempt with 46 seconds left in the first half and Brady took his team down the field with a great catch on a 24-yarder by wide receiver Brandon LaFell that was reviewed and held. It was third-and 10 from the 20 when White broke the tie.

The Bills, who lost special teamer Marcus Easley to a head injury in the first quarter, saw offensive tackle John Miller carted off in the second quarter.

NOTES: Game time temperature was 29 degrees with a wind chill of 21. … Patriots LB Jamie Collins missed his third straight game because of illness. Despite missing the previous two, he was still leading the team in tackles coming into the game. With the offensive line healthier, C David Andrews, who had played every snap of the season, was replaced by Bryan Stork after a first series that saw Andrews guilty of a penalty. … While Collins was out, starting OTs Sebastian Vollmer and Marcus Cannon returned from injury, with Cannon called for two penalties on the first drive. … QB EJ Manuel was Buffalo’s backup with Josh Johnson inactive. … The Patriots observed a moment of silence before the game for Ezra Schwartz, the local teenager and Patriots fan killed in a terror attack on the West Bank last week. … Amid reports Peyton Manning will not play, the Patriots visit Denver while Buffalo is at Kansas City on Sunday.