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Patriots show why they're AFC elite

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Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012 11:51 am

ORCHARD PARK — That’s why they’re the Patriots.

There’s a reason New England has made it to five Super Bowls and won three of them over the past 11 seasons.

It’s not a mystery that the Pats have won eight of the last 10 AFC East titles and tied for the division’s best record, but lost the tiebreakers in the other two.

And Sunday afternoon at “The Ralph” the Buffalo Bills got an emphatic reminder of that reality.

When the annihilation was over, New England owned a 52-28 victory courtesy of scores on its last seven possessions and one galling stretch where the Patriots scored six touchdowns in barely 19 minutes.

Worse, it happened after Buffalo led 21-7, four minutes into the third period, and it could have been a three TD margin had C.J. Spiller not fumbled at the Pats’ 1-yard line just before halftime.

BUT THE most disturbing aspect of this loss was the way it happened ... and the victims.

New England outhustled and outmuscled the Bills in the second half.

The Pats churned out a numbing 247 yards on 40 carries ... over six yards per try.

But that wasn’t all.

Quarterback Tom Brady was 22-of-36 passing for 340 yards — the third straight game against Buffalo he’s exceeded that figure — with three touchdowns and no interceptions.

In all, the Bills surrendered 580 yards ... or 7 1/2 yards per snap.

You might wonder, where were ends Mario Williams and Mark Anderson, the nearly $120 million free-agent investment, specifically signed to keep the Bills from being abused by Brady & Co.?

Excellent question.

Final stats credited each with two tackles, no sacks and no quarterback hits.

That’s code for “invisible.”

AFTERWARD, contemplating the Pats’ fifth straight game of scoring 31-or-more points against Buffalo, Bills’ coach Chan Gailey allowed he was embarrassed.

“I am,” he admitted. “I do not like to play like that. I don’t think that’s who we are, but that’s who we were today.

“Bottom line, they whipped us. They blocked us ...  we did not get off blocks and get to the ball. They were making our corners make a bunch of tackles ... (and) we missed entirely too many tackles.”

But Williams tried to exonerate himself from responsibility for the Pats’ success on the ground.

“A lot of times I was coming back into things,” he maintained.  “I wasn’t at the point of attack a lot of times with the things (New England) was running.”

That’s fine, but what about rushing Brady?

Buffalo sacked him only once — tackles Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams shared it and combined for three hits on the Pats’ QB — and pretty much never made him uncomfortable in the pocket.

The reality is, despite a huge investment, the Bills got no return on it Sunday afternoon.

And ponder this.

In the first two AFC East games this year, Buffalo has surrendered 100 points, starting with the season-opening 48-28 loss to the Jets, who were beaten 34-0 at home by San Francisco yesterday.

Throw in the 49-21 defeat at New England in last season’s finale and the Bills are surrendering 50 points a game in the last three meetings with divisional foes.

“They’re the defending (AFC) champs for a reason,” Gailey said of the Pats.  “They’re good (and) they played well today. We did not measure up.

“(The) last two (games against the Pats) were bad, (the) one before that was better (34-31 Buffalo comeback victory). You try to learn from history ... it’s not a predictor of the future, but it is what it is.  We were not good enough today.”

Mario Williams, though, declined to call the defeat an embarrassment.

“A loss is a loss,” he said. “I don’t label it anything. Whether it’s a win or a loss, it is what it is. You (media) guys can label it whatever word you like to.”

Still the Bills haven’t been good enough in 17 of the last 18 meetings with New England.

And no matter how Gailey and his players try to spin it, even at 2-2, Buffalo doesn’t measure up to the division-foe Patriots and Jets who have the same record.

And the first two games against them with the Bills’ revamped defense stand as startling Exhibits A and B.

(Chuck Pollock, the Times Herald sports editor, can be reached at cpollock@oleantimesherald.com)

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