Late field goal lifts Patriots in season opener
September 08. 2013 4:44PM
Stephen Gostkowski booted a 35-yard field goal with five seconds left and Tom Brady passed for a pair of touchdowns as visiting New England edged Buffalo.
Brady went 29-of-52 for 288 yards and threw both of his scoring passes to Julian Edelman, who had seven catches for 79 yards. Shane Vereen rushed for 101 yards and added 58 receiving yards for the Patriots (1-0), who improved to 19-1 in their last 20 meetings with the Bills.
EJ Maunel completed 18-of-27 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns in his NFL debut for Buffalo (0-1), who gave themselves a chance by forcing three turnovers.
New England jumped out to an early lead when Brady hit Edelman in the back of the end zone with a 9-yard scoring strike 4:14 into the contest. The Bills closed within 10-7 off a turnover with 8:25 left in the half after Da'Norris Searcy picked up a fumble and ran it back 74 yards for a score.
Buffalo took advantage of another turnover to close to within 17-14 at the half and went to a full no-huddle look out of the locker room, marching 80 yards in less than four minutes and taking their first lead of the day on Manuel's 18-yard pass to Stevie Johnson. The Patriots missed out on a scoring opportunity when Brady fumbled at the goal line later in the third and settled for a field goal to close within 21-20 with 10:48 left.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Patriots WR Danny Amendola (groin) left the game in the second quarter but returned shortly after the half. He led the New England receiving corps with 10 catches for 104 yards. … Patriots RB Stevan Ridley started the game but was lifted after the fumble that led to Searcy's score. … The teams combined for 28 of the 31 total points in the first half off turnovers.