Brady Lifts Pats to Win
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Quarterback Tom Brady, returning to regular-season action for the first time in more than a year, showed he still possesses his late-game magic in rallying the New England Patriots past the Buffalo Bills 25-24 Monday night.
Brady, who tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee early in last season's opener, struggled to find his groove early in the game but hit his stride with two touchdown strikes to tight end Benjamin Watson in the final 2:06.
After an 18-yard toss to Watson allowed New England to slice its deficit to 24-19, the Patriots received a golden opportunity when return man Leodis McKelvin fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Patriots took over at the Bills' 31-yard line.
Brady converted all three of his passes from there, including a spectacular grab by Watson in the back of the end zone from 16 yards with 50 seconds remaining.
It was the 29th time the three-time Super Bowl winner and 2007 NFL MVP brought his team back from a fourth-quarter deficit or tie.
"It's not the way we drew it up," Brady said. "But we'll take it."
Brady finished 39-for-53 for 378 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
With defensive tackle Kyle Williams bearing down on him, his dropoff pass to running back Sammy Morris was deflected and then pulled down by end Aaron Schobel, who returned it 26 yards to break a 7-7 tie with 3:29 left before halftime.
Buffalo dropped its 12th consecutive game to its AFC East rival. It was a heartbreaking loss for the Bills after a difficult preseason that brought the firing of offensive coordinator Turk Schonert after the Bills went the final eight quarters without a touchdown.