Good evening Patriots fans! Hope you all enjoyed your Sunday. For many of us, it was a very rainy Sunday. That was how it was at Gillette Stadium today. Rain, rain, and more rain…all game long. Normally the New England Patriots have trouble with the rain, but that did not affect them against the Buffalo Bills today in the 2013 regular season finale.
New England started with the ball and scored early, with Stephen Gostkowski hitting a 43 yard field goal. Dan Carpenter tied the game for Buffalo with a 51 yard field goal of his open. But Gostkowski responded to that with a 35 yard field goal, what a chess match! LeGarrette Blount probably had the biggest game of his life in a Patriots jersey today, but he started it with a huge 36-yard touchdown run. On that play, Logan Mankins limped off with an injury but would later return. The Pats had a pretty promising drive that featured big running plays from Blount and Vereen, but bad miscues inside the redzone forced Gostkowski to kick a 29 yard field goal. This one broke his own record for most field goals in one season, so good for Ghost! The Patriots lead Buffalo 16-3 at halftime.
The Bills started with the ball and went 3 and out. On the ensuing Pats possession, we saw some pretty funny stuff. The Patriots got 30 yards on 2 straight unsportsmanlike penalties, but lost 20 yards on 2 straight holding penalties. So what does Bill Belichick decide to do? Flashback to that playoff game vs. Denver a couple of years ago. Remember Brady’s punt? Well that’s what he did. I almost lost it, to be honest! But BB’s random decisions made the game closer because it allowed the Bills to drive down the field. Eventually, Thad Lewis found TJ Graham wide open for the Bills touchdown. But New England responded with an 82 yard punt return from Blount, which lead to Tom Brady finding Shane Vereen for a short catch-and-run touchdown. They went for 2 and converted because Julian “Minitron” Edelman was wide open. Buffalo drove down the field and kudos to them on this drive because they really worked hard. It ended with a Fred Jackson rushing touchdown. Another big return by Blount (62 yards) allowed New England to set up Gostkowski for a 35 yard field goal. The ensuing Bills possession saw them fail on a 4th down conversion, but they got the ball back when Vereen bobbled a pass right into the hands of a Bills defender. Carpenter therefore, was able to hit a 37 yard field goal. Nate Ebner recovered a crucial onside kick in horrible conditions, and the Pats finished that drive with the ultimate dagger – another huge rushing touchdown by Blount! That would be all, your final score: Buffalo Bills 20 New England Patriots 34!
What a day for LeGarrette Blount! 189 rushing yards and 334 total yards…simply unbelievable! Brady did not have a great day statistically, but Blount’s efforts (and the running game in general) helped the Pats dominate this evening. This win concludes the Patriots regular season, giving them a record of 12-4. That is good enough for the 2nd seed and a first round bye! Denver unfortunately stomped Oakland today, so they do get the 1st seed and home field advantage. But since San Diego is our 6th seed, we could see a Chargers-Broncos matchup. We all know how Manning has fared against them in the playoffs in past years. But for now let’s not worry about that. Enjoy tonight because we Patriots fans own it! Let’s go Patriots and have a Happy New Year!