ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — 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. And the victory was particularly cherished by senior members such as linebacker Chris Kelsay, one of four Buffalo players still on hand since the team’s last victory over New England, in the 2003 season opener.
“It’s the biggest win of my career. I can’t think of any bigger,” Kelsay said. “To beat these guys at home, in front of our fans, with the way they’re behind us despite being down early, it’s huge. I’ll never forget it.”
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 New York 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 touchdowns on their final five possession to overcome a 21-3 deficit.
Fitzpatrick went 27 of 40 for 369 yards and two touchdowns. Jackson once again provided a spark with 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.
Aside from their 15-game win streak, third longest in NFL history for one franchise against another, the Pats had won 20 of the past 21 over the Bills.
“Obviously, it was a disappointing loss for us today,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “We’ve just got to do a better job.”
Wes Welker had 16 catches for a franchise record 217 yards and two scores.