First quarter: Draft horses
The Patriots made a commitment to shoring up their running game in the 2011 NFL draft.
They selected speedy home-run hitter Shane Vereen in the second round and bruising power runner Stevan Ridley in the third. Neither did much as rookies but with BenJarvus Green-Ellis leaving in free agency, Ridley is carrying the backfield load.
He showed his hard-running, north-south style on the first touchdown of the game, a 7-yard run off left guard. It capped a 90-yard march in seven plays and just 3:06.
The Pats had the Bills' defense reeling over the last four plays by using a no-huddle attack.
Key gains: Safety George Wilson didn't stay deep enough on a 41-yard pass from Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski to the Buffalo 26. Gronkowski made a fine over-the-shoulder catch.
No second-guess: The Bills opted to punt on a fourth-and-4 situation from the Pats 40 on their first drive. Shawn Powell pinned the Pats at their own 10. It was the right call. If it were fourth and 1 it's a different call. You expect your defense to keep them from driving 90 yards.
Second quarter: Two's sweet
Scott Chandler, Jairus Byrd and Stephen Gostkowski were the three key players in the second quarter.
Chandler caught two touchdown passes from Ryan Fitzpatrick. Byrd forced two fumbles that were recovered by the Bills in Pats territory. Gostkowski missed two field goals.
Chandler's first TD was a 24-yard catch down the right sideline after Byrd forced a fumble on a completion to Rob Gronkowski.
The TD tied the game, 7-7. Chandler's second score was a 20-yard pass down the middle of the field and capped a 68-yard drive.
Gostkowski entered the season with an 84.4 percent success rate on field goal tries, best in Pats history and sixth best in NFL history. He missed wide right from 49 yards and wide left from 41 yards.
Key plays: Byrd forced a fumble by Wes Welker and recovered at the Pats' 21 late in the quarter. But Pats linebacker Brandon Spikes put a big hit on C.J. Spiller at the 1-yard line and New England recovered, to prevent a Bills score.
The Pats got an interception from Devin McCourty on an underthrown deep pass down the right sideline from Fitzpatrick for T.J. Graham.
Third quarter: Bolden statement
Not many football fans outside of Oxford, Miss., have heard of Brandon Bolden.
The New England Patriots' rookie third-string running back made a name for himself in the third quarter, rushing seven times for 79 yards. The Patriots rolled up 100 rushing yards and 221 total yards in the quarter in driving to two touchdowns to tie the game, 21-21.
Bolden, 5-foot-11 and 220 pounds, was undrafted out of Ole Miss. He was looking like a certain draft pick after his junior season in 2010, when he produced 1,320 yards and 17 touchdowns. However, he fractured his ankle in the opening game of the 2011 season. Bolden showed his toughness, sitting out only one game. But he managed only 463 rushing yards.
Key plays: The Pats got a 17-yard TD pass from Tom Brady to Danny Woodhead. Brady scored on a 4-yard run to tie the game with 3:53 left in the quarter. Donald Jones scored on a 68-yard catch and run.
Big Hit: Brady threw deep for Gronkowski from the Pats' 48. Gronkowski grabbed it at the 5 but cornerback Stephon Gilmore jarred the ball loose.
Fourth quarter: Familiar finish
Tom Brady rules the Bills and the AFC East like no quarterback before him.
Brady improved his record against the Bills to 19-2. His career record as a starter is 126-37. His winning percentage of .772 is the best of any Super Bowl era quarterback. Dallas Hall of Famer Roger Staubach is second at .746 on a record of 85-29.
The Patriots are 54-15 in the AFC East since 2001 with nine division titles.
For the game, Brady completed 22 of 36 passes for 340 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. He also rushed for a touchdown. He has seven TD passes and one interception on the season.
Key plays: The Pats scored on all five fourth-quarter possessions and their last seven second-half possessions. Touchdown runs came from 2 yards by Stevan Ridley and 7 yards by Brandon Bolden. Brady threw TD strikes of 28 yards to Rob Gronkowski and 25 yards to Brandon Lloyd. Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 30-yard field goal.
Second-guess: Why couldn't the Bills come up with something, anything to stop the Patriots from running the ball down their throats?