It wasn't pretty but the New England Patriots did just enough to come away with a 37-31 victory over the Buffalo Bills Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.
Patriots' defensive back Devin McCourty intercepted a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass in the end zone on the Bills' final drive to preserve a 37-31 victory.
Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes, Stevan Ridley and Danny Woodhead ran for a score each and Stephen Gostkowski converted all three of his field goal attempts.
The Patriots (6-3) host the 6-3 Indianapolis Colts next Sunday at 4:25 p.m.
Here's a compilation of game notes from Sunday's victory in Foxborough, courtesy of the Patriots Media Relations Department.
PATRIOTS EARN SERIES SWEEP OF BUFFALO FOR 22nd SWEEP IN THE SERIES
The Patriots have swept the season series against the Bills for the 10th time in the last 12 years and earned their 22nd series sweep of Buffalo. New England has now won their last 12 games against the Bills at home, including an 11-0 record against Buffalo at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots have now won 23 of the last 25 games in the series. Tom Brady is now 20-2 all-time against Buffalo as a starting quarterback. The Patriots improved to 10-3 under Bill Belichick after a bye week.
PATRIOTS STRONG IN SEASON’S SECOND HALF
The Patriots opened the second half of the 2012 regular season with a victory over the Bills. Since the 2010 season, the Patriots are now a combined 17-0 in the second half of the regular season. In both 2010 and 2011, the Patriots were 8-0 in the second half of the regular season. The last time the Patriots lost a game in the second half of the regular season was in the 2009 regular-season finale, a 34-27 loss at Houston on Jan. 3, 2010.
PATRIOTS SCORE ON THE GROUND
The Patriots had a pair of rushing touchdowns against Buffalo and have now scored 14 times on the ground this season. New England is on pace to total 25 rushing touchdowns this year, which would be the second-highest such total in team history. The last time the Patriots had 25 or more rushing touchdowns in a season was 1978, when they scored a franchise-record 30 times on the ground. The NFL record for most rushing touchdowns in a season is 36, by Green Bay in 1962.
DANNY WOODHEAD HAS FIRST CAREER TWO-TOUCHDOWN GAME
Danny Woodhead scored two times with a 15-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter and an 18-yard reception in the third quarter. It is his first two-touchdown game of his career. Woodhead finished the game with a total of 61 scrimmage yards on one rush and four catches.
GRONKOWSKI HAS SCORED AT LEAST ONE TOUCHDOWN IN EVERY GAME HE HAS PLAYED AGAINST BUFFALO
Rob Gronkowski reached the end zone on a 2-yard reception in the second quarter that gave the Patriots a 24-10 lead. He has now scored at least one touchdown in each of his six career regular season games against Buffalo, totaling nine scores. With his score against the Bills, Gronkowski now has eight touchdowns this season, and his eight touchdown receptions are tied for the fourth-most touchdown catches in a season by a Patriots tight end, trailing only his totals of 17 touchdowns from 2011 and 10 touchdowns from 2010, and Ben Coates’ total of nine touchdowns from 1996.
PATRIOTS HAVE SCORED 30 OR MORE POINTS AGAINST BUFFALO IN SIX STRAIGHT GAMES
The Patriots have scored 30 or more points against Buffalo in six straight games after finishing with 37 points against Buffalo this afternoon. The Patriots scored a season-high 52 points in the first meeting in 2012.
McCOURTY INTERCEPTION ENDS GAME
Devin McCourty intercepted Ryan Fitzpatrick in the end zone with 23 seconds left in the game and the Patriots holding a 37-31 lead. The pick was McCourty’s third of the year, tying him with Tavon Wilson for the team lead. McCourty now has 12 career interceptions and is the 25th player in team history to have a dozen or more picks in a Patriots uniform.
Jermaine Cunningham sacked Ryan Fitzpatrick for a 6-yard loss in the third quarter, setting up a third-and-long for the Bills deep in their own territory that Buffalo did not convert as it went three-and-out. On the ensuing possession, the Patriots used the short field to their advantage, mounting a touchdown drive that gave New England a 31-17 lead.
DIVISIONAL DOMINANCE IN NOVEMBER
The Patriots have the highest winning percentage in division games from November until the end of the season since 2002.
BRADY ON PACE FOR FIFTH SEASON WITH 4,000 OR MORE YARDS PASSING
Tom Brady now has a total of 2,645 yards through nine games in 2012 and is on pace to total 4,702 passing yards this year. If Brady tops 4,000 passing yards this season it will be his fifth career season with more than 4,000 yards, joining Dan Marino (6), Drew Brees (6), Brett Favre (6) and Peyton Manning (11) as the only players to have at least five seasons with 4,000 passing yards. Brady reached 4,000 yards passing for the fourth time in his career in 2011. Brady had 4,110 yards in 2005, 4,806 in 2007, 4,398 in 2009 and 5,235 in 2011.
WILFORK GETS A SACK AND FORCED FUMBLE
Vince Wilfork strip-sacked Ryan Fitzpatrick at the Bills’ 13-yard line in the first quarter, forcing a fumble that Jermaine Cunningham recovered. The Patriots scored off of the turnover, with Stevan Ridley’s 1-yard run giving New England a 10-0 first-quarter lead. The strip-sack/turnover was the fifth for the Patriots this season. In addition to Wilfork’s strip-sack, Chandler Jones also has caused two such turnovers and Rob Ninkovich has also caused a pair.
THREE FIELD GOALS FOR GOSTKOWSKI
Stephen Gostkowski was a perfect 3-for-3 on field goal tries against Buffalo, hitting from 43, 48, and 27 yards. He is now 20-for-23 (87.0 percent) this season. Two of Gostkowski’s field goals today came in the second half. He has hit 21 of his last 22 field goals (95.5 percent) in the second half or overtime.
GRONKOWSKI NOW HAS 36 CAREER TOUCHDOWNS (35 RECEIVING AND 1 RUSHING)
Since he entered the NFL in 2010, Gronkowski has 35 career touchdown receptions and 36 total touchdowns. The NFL record for most overall touchdowns in a player’s first three NFL seasons is 47 by Barry Sanders and the record for most touchdown receptions in a player’s first three NFL seasons is 43 by Randy Moss. Gronkowski (10 touchdowns in 2010 and 18 in 2011) can become the first tight end in NFL history with three straight 10-plus touchdown seasons. Gronkowski and Antonio Gates (13 in 2004 and 10 in 2005) are the only tight ends to have back-to-back 10-plus touchdown seasons.
PATRIOTS OFFENSE ON PACE TO SET THE NFL RECORD FOR MOST FIRST DOWNS IN A SEASON
The Patriots have 259 first downs through nine games this season, giving them an average of 29 per game and a pace to finish the year with 460, which would smash the NFL record of 416 total first downs by New Orleans in 2011. The Patriots’ 399 first downs in 2011 are second all-time in NFL history.
PATRIOTS ON PACE TO BREAK FRANCHISE RECORD FOR MOST NET YARDS
The Patriots have 3,873 net yards through the first nine games in 2012 and are on pace to finish with 6,885 yards, a total which would rank fourth in NFL history and set a new franchise record. The Patriots finished the 2011 season with 6,848 total net yards, setting a new franchise record for most total net yards in a season. That total is fourth all-time in NFL history.
WELKER EXTENDS STREAK TO 103 CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH AT LEAST ONE RECEPTION
Wes Welker extended his streak to 103 straight regular season games with at least one reception, including his time with the Miami Dolphins. He has a streak of 86 straight regular-season games with at least one reception as a member of the Patriots to extend his franchise record. Welker has caught at least one pass in each of his 93 games with the Patriots, including seven postseason games. The last time that Welker did not catch a pass in a game was December 24, 2005 when he was with Miami. He is one of 39 NFL players to have a streak of at least 100 games with one reception.
WELKER RECEPTION PACE
Wes Welker has 66 receptions through nine games this season and is on pace to total 117 catches in 2012. If Wes Welker reaches 100 receptions in 2012, he will become the first player in NFL history with five 100-catch seasons. Welker’s four seasons with 100 or more receptions ties Marvin Harrison and Jerry Rice for the NFL record.
GRONKOWSKI ON PACE FOR ANOTHER SOLID SEASON
Rob Gronkowski has 46 catches for 611 yards and eight touchdowns in 2012. If Gronkowski keeps up his current 2012 pace, he would finish with 82 catches for 1,086 yards and 14 touchdowns.
RIDLEY FINISHES JUST SHY OF 100 YARDS
Stevan Ridley finished the game against Buffalo with 98 rushing yards on 22 carries and added his sixth touchdown of the year. Ridley has four games this year with 100 or more rushing yards. The Patriots record for most 100-yard games in a season is nine by Curtis Martin in 1995. The last Patriots player to have at least five 100-yard rushing days was Corey Dillon with eight in 2004.
RIDLEY HAS SIXTH RUSHING TOUCHDOWN; ON PACE TO FINISH WITH 11
Ridley scored his sixth touchdown of the season on a 1-yard run in the first quarter. He is on pace to finish with 11 touchdowns this season. It would be 13th time in Patriots history that a running back finished a season with 10 or more touchdowns rushing.
RIDLEY STARTS STRONG
Stevan Ridley has a total of 814 rushing yards through nine games this season. Ridley is on pace to total 1,447 rushing yards, which would give him the 15th 1,000-yard rushing season in Patriots history and make him the 12th Patriots’ player to reach 1,000 yards rushing. Ridley is on pace to become the fourth Patriots player with at least 1,400 yards rushing in a season.
CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH AT LEAST ONE TOUCHDOWN PASS CONTINUES FOR BRADY
Tom Brady has now thrown at least one touchdown pass in 41 straight regular season games following a 2-yard touchdown pass to TE Rob Gronkowski in the second quarter. It is the third longest streak, behind Drew Brees at 52 (current) and Johnny Unitas (47) (1956-60). Brady’s current streak started when he threw a touchdown pass in all 16 games in 2010 and 2011 and now the first nine games of 2012. The old team record was 19 games, also set by Brady.
PATRIOTS GO OVER 30 POINTS FOR SIXTH TIME IN 2012; PATRIOTS TIED NFL RECORD FOR MOST 30-POINT GAMES IN A SINGLE SEASON IN 2011
The New England Patriots scored 37 points in the win vs. Buffalo for their sixth game in 2012 with 30 or more points. The Patriots scored 30 points 12 times in 2011 to tie the NFL record for most 30-point games in a single season. The 2007 Patriots and the 1999 St. Louis Rams also had 12 30 point games. The NFL record for most consecutive 30-point games in a single season is eight by the 2007 and 2010 Patriots and the 2000 St. Louis Rams.
DL ROB NINKOVICH RECORDS HIS FIFTH SACK OF THE SEASON
DL Rob Ninkovich registered a second quarter sack for his fifth of the season. Ninkovich had a career-high with 6.5 sacks in 2011.
WELKER MOVES PART FRYAR FOR FOURTH ON ALL-PURPOSE YARDS LIST
Welker (8,303) moved past Irving Fryar (8,184) for fourth place on the Patriots all-time all-purpose yards list, behind Kevin Faulk (12,349), Stanley Morgan (11,468) and Troy Brown (11,053) with his 74 yards receiving.
MAYO ON PACE FOR HIGH TACKLE TOTAL
Jerod Mayo led the Patriots with 12 tackles against Buffalo and has 115 tackles so far in 2012. He is on pace for 204 tackles this season, which would be a new career high and rank third in Patriots history. He can become just the third Patriots player to reach 200 tackles.
SPIKES ON PACE FOR HIGH TACKLE TOTAL
Brandon Spikes finished with 11 tackles against the Bills and now has had 10 or more tackles in five of the nine games so far and is on pace to finish the season with 148 tackles.
MAYO AND SPIKES ON PACE FOR 100 TACKLES
Jerod Mayo and Brandon Spikes are on pace for 100-tackle seasons. If they both reach 100 tackles it will be the fifth time in the Bill Belichick era that two players have finished with 100 or more tackles and the first time since 2006 when LB Tedy Bruschi (124), DL Ty Warren (117) and LB Mike Vrabel (101) each went over 100 tackles.