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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – There's at least one thing Terry and Kim Pegulas' billions couldn't buy this week: a Buffalo Bills win over their longtime AFC East nemesis New England Patriots.
The day opened with a sellout crowd chanting "TERR-RRY! TERR-RRY!" during a pregame ceremony to welcome the Bills' new owners. It ended with Buffalo losing 37-22.
"Obviously it's frustrating," said Bills tight end Scott Chandler, who caught six passes for 105 yards. "They've been the top dog in our division since the division formed."
Tom Brady went 27 of 37 for 361 yards and threw four touchdowns Sunday to up his career record to 23-2 against Buffalo. The Patriots (4-2) beat the Bills for the sixth straight time and moved past Buffalo (3-3) for the top spot in the division.
For the Bills, it was a squandered opportunity to build on the momentum of a week that began with a come-from-behind 17-14 win at Detroit. Then on Wednesday, the Pegulas' NFL-record $1.4 billion bid was approved by league owners.
"It was an opportunity to move into sole possession of the AFC East, so there was definitely a missed opportunity there," said veteran running back Fred Jackson. "That's something we got to be able to take advantage of."
Kyle Orton went 24 of 38 for 299 yards with touchdown passes to Robert Woods and Chris Hogan. But he threw an interception and lost a fumble in his second start since taking over for EJ Manuel. Running back C.J. Spiller also lost a fumble, with the three second-quarter turnovers leading to 13 New England points.
"Sometimes we can't stay out of our own way," Orton said. "It's tough to beat a good football team doing that."
Buffalo trailed 30-14 when Orton found Hogan in the right corner of the end zone, closing the gap to one possession when his 2-point conversion pass to Woods just crossed the goal line.
But Brady crushed any hopes of a comeback on the next drive with a 56-yard touchdown pass to Brandon LaFell, his second scoring catch of the game.
The Patriots took control on their drives before and after halftime. New England went up 13-7 on Stephen Gostkowski's 53-yard field goal to close the second quarter. Then the Patriots opened the third with the ball, and Brady efficiently capped a six-play, 80-yard drive with a 43-yard pass over the middle to Tyms, who outmuscled cornerback Stephon Gilmore and came down with the ball in the end zone.
The Patriots capitalized on all three Buffalo turnovers in the second quarter. On the first play of the period, linebacker Jamie Collins undercut a route and picked off Orton. That led to Brady's 1-yard touchdown pass to Wright.
Gostkowski, who missed his first field-goal attempt from 36 yards, hit a 42-yarder that was set up by Orton's fumble on a sack by Chandler Jones.
Gostkowski's 53-yard kick came two plays after Devin McCourty forced and recovered Spiller's fumble at the Buffalo 42 at the end of a 15-yard gain.
The entire Pegula family took the field during a pregame ceremony. Pegula made a brief statement to the fans. And he paid tribute to Ralph Wilson, his predecessor, who died in March.
"There aren't too many times in life where I'm happy with being second in anything," Pegula said. "But to follow Ralph Wilson, I'll accept that."
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