"And the Patriots Survive": Buffalo Bills Blow Late Lead, Pats Prevail

Bryan Hollister@too_old_4stupidAnalyst ISeptember 14, 2009

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 14:  Wes Welker #83 of the New England Patriots reaches for a loose ball against Bryan Scott #43 and Leodis McKelvin #28 of the Buffalo Bills on September 14, 2009 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The play pictured here turned the tide.

Leodis McKelvin took a Patriots kickoff two yards deep in the end zone. The Bills were ahead 24-16 with just over two minutes remaining. All he had to do was take a knee.

Inexplicably, he decided to return the kick, and a few ticks of the clock later, he put the rock on the ground at his own 31 yard line, giving Tom Brady and the New England Patriots a short field and a last-minute shot to win at home.

Tom Brady apparently still has a little mojo left; you don't give him a short field on a must-win drive and not expect him to hurt you.

You just don't.

Like the Tom Brady of 2007, he calmly ripped off three straight completions, eating up over a minute of the remaining two on the clock, and put the Patriots ahead for good, 25-24.

Trent Edwards did himself proud, with 212 yards and a touchdown pass against what was supposed to be a tough New England defense.

Edwards seemed able to pass on them at will, just as running back seemed to be able to run at will when he did get the ball—Buffalo ran considerably fewer plays than New England, but when they ran a play it was generally effective. 

But Trent Edwards is no Tom Brady.

And apparently Tom Brady didn't forget how to play pressure football.

On the last two New England drives he garnered 112 of his 378 yards. His 39 completions were one shy of the Monday Night football completion record. In fact, of the 20 plays he ran in the fourth quarter, 18 were passes.

EIGHTEEN WERE PASSES. 143 yards in the fourth quarter can be attributed directly to Tom Brady.

Who did Buffalo think they were playing?

This is the same guy, after all, who led the Patriots to an undefeated regular season—yes, they lost in the Super Bowl, but there isn't another team that I can think of that rattled off as many consecutive victories as the Pats did. Super Bowl notwithstanding, they went 18 straight, besting the '72 Dolphins by one game.

Give the Pats the same length season as the '72 Fins and there would be bottles of champagne gathering dust in Miami.

Give the Bills credit; for 57 minutes and 58 seconds, they were in control of the game. They had absorbed the best the Patriots had to offer up to that point, and they were just a few first downs away from pulling the biggest upset of opening weekend.

Then McKelvin gave New England another chance to put up their best, and this time Buffalo faltered.

Well, they didn't exactly falter. Brady just did what he's done in the past.

He has been there before.

As Al Michaels proclaimed at the end of the game, the Patriots did indeed survive the scare of being upset at home against an interdivision rival.

Except Tom Brady didn't look scared at all on the sidelines.

He looked determined.

Not a good sign for the rest of the league.