Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots: Live Score, Video and Analysis

Nick ButterworthContributor IJanuary 1, 2012

ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 25:  Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots catches a touchdown pass in the first half against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on September 25, 2011 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Final Score: Bills 21, Patriots 49

The New England Patriots scored 49 unanswered points to clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, in a 49-21 blowout victory over the Buffalo Bills.

After a now-customary slow start, in which the Patriots were repeatedly burned by Ryan Fitzpatrick, a 21-0 deficit at the end of the first quarter was converted into a commanding victory, courtesy of a number of big plays on defense, and the production of the tight ends, Rob Gronkowski (108 yards, two scores) and Aaron Hernandez (138 yards, one score).

New England can consider this game a mission accomplished. No further injuries appear to have been sustained, the running game was effective when needed, and the defense continued its trend of making key plays in tough spots, picking off Ryan Fitzpatrick four times, and generating a couple of sacks for good measure.

Rob Gronkowski finishes the season with an NFL-record 17 touchdown catches (and one rushing score), but he will be thanking Tom Brady for his entry in the record books. Brady's 338 yards ensured that he passed 5,000 for the season, passing Dan Marino's 1984 record, but over 200 yards shy of the new holder, Drew Brees.

With a first round bye in the playoffs, expect the Patriots' defensive coordinator Matt Patricia to work overtime on the coverage of his secondary, who continued to give up huge plays outside the hash marks. Kyle Arrington and Devin McCourty will be in the training facility receiving extra homework next week.

That's all from me folks. Thanks for dropping in and if you're a Patriots fan, enjoy the week off.