Published November 20, 2014
One week it's rallying to beat Oakland, the next it's storming back to conquer an even bigger nemesis: AFC East rival New England.
Rian Lindell made a 28-yard field goal as time ran out to seal a 34-31 win over the Patriots on Sunday after the Bills erased a 21-0 second-quarter deficit. The win has Buffalo — a team which hasn't reached the playoffs in 11 seasons — off to a 3-0 start and sitting alone on top of the division.
It's early, sure, but maybe it's time to start Bill-ieving.
"I know that there were probably very few believers going into this game," Fitzpatrick said, a week after the Bills overcame a 21-3 first-half deficit in a 38-35 win over Oakland. "I think in terms of what this means for the city of Buffalo, it's the biggest win since I've been here for sure."
That's not even the half of it for Fitzpatrick, a journeyman backup who signed with Buffalo in 2009. The significance of this victory goes back much further as the Bills snapped a 15-game losing streak against the Patriots that dates to the 2003 season opener.
Linebacker Chris Kelsay can provide the proper perspective, given he's one of only four players left on the roster who played in that game.
"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."
Fitzpatrick led an offense that produced 448 yards and scored 30 points for the third straight week. Fred Jackson had 74 yards rushing and a score, and 87 yards receiving, with his final 38-yard catch setting up Lindell's field goal.
Buffalo's opportunistic defense played havoc with the usually unflappable Tom Brady, who threw four interceptions — equaling the number he threw all of last season — and one of which Drayton Florence returned for a touchdown.
New England (2-1) had a 10-game win streak snapped while losing to Buffalo for only the second time in 22 meetings.
"We had too many penalties, too many scoring opportunities that we missed. That's why we lost the game," Brady said.
Then again, it's not as if the Patriots have never lost before.
"It's one loss, and it's a long season," Brady said. "Hopefully, we'll learn from it, move on."
Welker had a career-best 16 catches for a franchise-record 217 yards.
Not that it mattered.
"You know, what should be a great fun day of breaking records and doing all those things, it's totally the opposite," Welker said. "I think it shows that we've got a long way to go."
The Patriots were overwhelmed by a Bills team that's gaining confidence and showing it's capable of pulling out victories following last year's 4-12 finish — three of those losses coming in overtime.
Dating to 1950, the Bills became the only team to overcome deficits of at least 18 points to win in consecutive weeks, according to STATS LLC. In fact, only five teams had previously won twice in one season when trailing by 18 or more points.
"It feels great, man," said receiver Stevie Johnson, who had eight catches for 94 yards and a touchdown. "We know we've got a ton of games to go, but just for the fans to say, 'We beat the Patriots,' that's something big."