The goalpost tips after being blown by high winds during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New England Patriots at Ralph Wilson Stadium - Getty Images


While it was a very important game for the New England Patriots, it was a boring game watching the two teams run the ball due to the heavy wind. In the end, it was the Patriots and their running game along with the foot of Stephen Gostowski that got the job done as the Patriots took care of their business beating the Buffalo Bills 13-0 in windy Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, NY.

The Patriots now await their fate as they need the New York Jets to beat the Miami Dolphins or have the Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Baltimore Ravens to make the playoffs.

It is the 11th straight time the Patriots have beaten the Bill and the 15th time in the last 16 games.

Honestly, it was a boring game watching both teams run the ball. Given the wind conditions though, you can’t fault the coaches for running the ball. The Patriots tandem of Sammy Morris and LaMont Jordan combined for 149 yards with Matt Cassel rushing for 19 yards, including two big rushes on 4th down.

Passing was at a premium in the game as Cassel attempted just 8 passes hitting on 6 of them for 78 yards while Trent Edwards was 14-of-25 for 128 yards. Most of Edwards passes came in the 4th quarter into the wind that had died down.

Stephen Gostkowski (3) of the New England Patriots celebrates kicking a field goal against the Buffalo Bills in high winds at Ralph Wilson Stadium - Getty ImagesEven the field goal kickers had fun as one of Stephen Gostowski’s field goal attempts looked like it was going in only to have it blown sideways out of the end zone just in front of the goal posts. Rian Lindell’s field goal attempt was way wide right when the wind pushed. Honestly it was just really ugly for the kickers. How Gostowski made those 2 field goals is beyond me. Gostowski’s PAT attempt in the 3rd quarter barely got across the goal posts as the wind blew it back.

Now all the Patriots can do is watch the Jets/Dolphins game and the Ravens/Jags game to find out what they will be doing this week. Will it be practice for a playoff game or will they be the second team since 1985 (Denver Broncos) to be 11-5 and miss the playoffs. We should have that answer in about 3 hours.

Scoring Plays

PATRIOTS 3 0 7 3 13
BILLS 0 0 0 0 0

1st Quarter

  • NE – Stephen Gostowski 33 yard field goal

2nd Quarter


3rd Quarter

  • New England Patriots' LaMont Jordan (32) celebrates his touchdown during the third quarter of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium - AP PhotoNE – LaMont Jordan 2 yard run (Gostowski PAT)

4th Quarter

  • NE – Gostowski 23 yard field goal

Offensive Player of the Game

Stephen Gostowski was 2-0f-3 on field goals, hitting from 23 yards and 33 yards. Considering the havoc, the win played, his two field goals were key in the victory.

Defensive Players of the Game

Junior Seau had 9 tackles and Jarvis Green filled in admirably for Richard Seymour with 5 tackles and 2 sacks and a forced fumble.

Turning Point(s) of the Game

  1. The Patriots winning the coin toss and electing to take the wind in the 1st quarter.
  2. At the end of the 2nd quarter, Fred Jackson was stopped at the Patriots 9 and a mini-fight broke out. The officials never stopped the clock and the Bills were unable to get on to the field to kick the field goal which possibly could have tied the game at 3 going into the half.

Offensive Leaders/Notes

New England Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel runs under pressure from Buffalo Bills' Reggie Corner (27) during the first half of an NFL football game at Ralph Wilson Stadium - AP PhotoMatt Cassel was 6-of-8 for 78 yards, Sammy Morris had 24 carries for 85 yards, LaMont Jordan had 20 carries for 64 yards and a touchdown and Heath Evans had 2 catches for 31 yards.

  • 1st/10 NE 49 – Sammy Morris runs for 7 yards
  • 3rd/1 BUF 42 – LaMont Jordan stopped for a 1 yard loss
  • 4th/2 BUF 43 – Nick Kaczur called for a false start forcing the Patriots to punt
  • 2nd/10 NE 37 – Matt Cassel hits Heath Evans for 19 yards
  • 1st/10 BUF 44 – Morris runs for 7 yards
  • 1st/10 BUF 33 – Cassel hits Evans for 12 yards
  • 2nd qtr – 1st/10 NE 37 – Jordan runs for 7 yards
  • 2nd/6 BUF 48 – Jordan runs for 8 yards
  • 4th/5 BUF 35 – Cassel scrambles for 7 yards and a 1st down
  • 1st/10 BUF 28 – Jordan rushes 8 yards
  • 2nd/2 BUF 20 – Jordan runs for 6 yards
  • 3rd qtr – 3rd/7 NE 23 – Cassel sacked for a 7 yard loss
  • 1st/10 BUF 43 – Morris runs for 9 yards
  • 2nd/9 BUF 32 – Jordan rushes for 8 yards
  • 3rd/1 BUF 24 – Jordan stopped for a 1 yard loss
  • 4th/2 BUF 25 – Cassel runs a bootleg 6 yards for a 1st down
  • 4th/5 BUF 14 – Cassel hits Welker for 12 yards and a 1st down
  • 1st/goal BUF 2 – Jordan rushes for a touchdown
  • 3rd/7 NE 18 – Cassel hits Kevin Faulk for an 8 yard gain
  • 2nd/6 NE 30 – Morris runs for 10 yards
  • 1st/10 NE 40 – Morris rushes for 12 yards
  • 4th qtr – 2nd/5 BUF 39 – Cassel hits Randy Moss for 13 yards
  • 1st/10 BUF 26 – Jordan stopped for a 1 yard loss
  • 3rd/7 BUF 23 – Cassel hits Welker for 13 yards
  • 3rd/8 NE 41 – Cassel punts for 57 yards downed at BUF 2

Defensive Leaders/Notes

Besides Seau and Green, Vince Wilfork and James Sanders both had 8 tackles while rookie Jerod Mayo had 7 tackles.

  • 2nd/4 BUF 38 – Vince Wilfork and Jarvis Green stopped Fred Jackson for no gain
  • Trent Edwards #5 of the Buffalo Bills is pressured by Jarvis Green #97 and Mike Vrabel #50 of the New England Patriots at Ralph Wilson Stadium - Getty Images3rd/4 BUF 38 – Junior Seau and Green stop Xavier Omon for no gain
  • 1st/10 BUF 40 – Rosevelt Colvin and Mike Vrabel stop Jackson for no gain
  • 1st/15 BUF 49 – Seau stops for Jackson no gain
  • 2nd qtr – 1st/10 BUF 31 – James Sanders stops Darren Fine for no gain after the catch
  • 3rd qtr – 2nd/1 BUF 45 – Ty Warren stops Jackson for no gain
  • 2nd/9 – BUF 49 – Green sacks Edwards for 6 yard loss and forces a fumble recovered by Vrabel
  • 2nd/2 BUF42 – Vrabel and Colvin stop Jackson for a loss of 2 yards
  • 4th qtr – 2nd/7 BUF 34 – Vrabel stops a Edwards to Jackson pass for no gain
  • 2nd/10 NE 48 – Green sacks Edwards for 7 yard loss
  • 4th/2 BUF 49 – Le Kevin Smith sacks Edwards for a 3 yard loss. Flag on the play. Play is nullified as Jerod Mayo is called for illegal contact

Special Teams Notes

  • Stephen Gostowski missed a 26 yard field goal in the 2nd quarter when the wind took the ball and blew it sideways.

Coaching Decisions

  • On 4th/5 at the BUF 45, the Patriots decide to  go for it and Matt Cassel scrambles for a 7 yard gain and a 1st down.
  • On 4th/2 at the BUF 25, the Patriots decide to go for it and Cassel runs a bootleg for 6 yards
  • On 4th/5 at BUF 14, the Patriots decide to go for it and Cassel hits Wes Welker for a 12 yard gain and 1st down
  • On 4th/1 at the NE 39, the Bills decided to go for it and Edwards pass fell incomplete
  • On 3rd/8 at the NE 41, Bill Belichick calls for a quick kick by Matt Cassel that goes for 57 yards and is downed at the BUF 2
  • On 4th/10 at NE 34, the Bills decided to go for it and Edwards was run down by Jerod Mayo
  • On 3rd/3 at the NE 40, Belichick decides to punt the ball


  • Ellis Hobbs was shaken up in the 1st quarter but returned a few plays later
  • Matt Light was shaken up at the end of the 3rd quarter. His return was announced as questionable and he didn’t return to the game.
  • Mike Wright was shaken up in the 4th quarter when he got a hit in on Trent Edwards. He needed help getting off the field but appeared fine after a few minutes.

Stadium workers straighten a goal post that tilted in high winds during an NFL football game between the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots at Ralph Wilson Stadium - AP PhotoThe Officials

  • With the wind today, the umpire held the ball at the line of scrimmage until the center grabbed it. They also made the decision to fix the goal posts if they were tilted only on field goals.
  • The officials missed a late hit by the Patriots in the 1st quarter
  • At the end of the 2nd quarter, a scrum broke out with Buffalo in field goal range. The officials never stopped the clock and the Bills were unable to get off the field goal.

Game Notes

  • Inactive players for the Patriots today: RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, OL Wesley Britt, LB Tedy Bruschi, S Ray Ventrone, OL Billy Yates, DE Richard Seymour, DB Lewis Sanders, QB Matt Gutierrez (3rd quarterback)
  • Inactive players for the Cardinals today: RB Marshawn Lynch, WR Roscoe Parrish, LB Teddy Lehman, CB Jabari Greer, OT Jason Peters, OT Demetrius Bell, OT Jonathan Scott, QB JP Losman (3rd quarterback)
  • Note: The third quarterback can still enter the game at any time, but if he does so in the first, second or third quarters, the team can no longer use its top two quarterbacks the rest of the game.
  • Offensive starters for the Patriots:
    QB: Matt Cassel
    RB: Sammy Morris
    WR: Randy Moss
    LT: Matt Light
    LG: Logan Mankins
    C: Dan Koppen
    RG: Stephen Neal
    RT: Nick Kaczur
    TE: Benjamin Watson
    TE: David Thomas
    TE: Russ Hochstein
  • Defensive starters for the Patriots:
    DE: Ty Warren
    NT: Vince Wilfork
    DE: Jarvis Green
    OLB: Mike Vrabel
    ILB: Jerod Mayo
    ILB: Junior Seau
    OLB: Rosevelt Colvin
    CB: Ellis Hobbs
    CB: Jonathan Wilhite
    S: James Sanders
    S: Brandon Meriweather
  • The Patriots won the toss and elected to take the wind in the 1st quarter.
  • New England Patriots @ Buffalo Bills Week 17 BOX SCORE
  • Since December of 2003, the Patriots are 24-2 in the month of December
  • The Patriots shut out the Bills today, recording their first shutout since downing the Green Bay Packers 35-0 on Nov. 19, 2006. Today’s shutout was the sixth for the Patriots since Bill Belichick became head coach in 2000. New England had three shutouts in 2003, one in 2005 and one in 2006.
  • The 2008 Patriots finished their 16-game regular season with just 57 accepted penalties called against them, setting an NFL record for fewest penalties in a 16-game season. The NFL expanded its season from 14 games to 16 games in 1978. The Patriots broke the previous 16-game season record of 59 penalties, established by the Seattle Seahawks in 2007.
  • Sammy Morris’ 6-yard run in the first quarter raised the Patriots’ 2008 team rushing yardage total to 2,135 yards, passing the team’s 2004 total (2,134 yards) as the franchise’s highest rushing total in 23 years (since the 1985 team gained 2,331 rushing yards). The Patriots finished the 2008 season with 2,278 rushing yards, a total that is the highest for a Patriots team since 1985.
  • LaMont Jordan’s third-quarter touchdown run was the 21st rushing score by the Patriots this season, tying the team’s fourth-best single-season rushing touchdown total (21 in 1974) and standing as the team’s highest rushing score total since having 23 in 1981. The Patriots set a franchise record with 30 rushing touchdowns in 1978. The Patriots finished the 2008 season with 21 rushing touchdowns, a total that is the highest for a Patriots team since 1981.
  • With his 33-yard field goal in the first quarter, Stephen Gostkowski raised his season total to 144 points, setting a new Patriots record for most points in a season since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, topping Adam Vinatieri’s 141 points in 2004. He finished the season with 148 points, a total that ranks second in single-season team history, trailing only Gino Cappelletti’s 155 points in 1964 (7 TD, 36 XP, 25 FG, 1 2-pt). Gostkowski’s 2008 point total is the highest in team history by a player who scored all his points as a kicker.
  • On a 13-yard reception in the fourth quarter, Randy Moss broke the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the season, marking the ninth time in his 11-year career that he has exceeded the 1,000-yard milestone. Moss’s nine 1,000-yard receiving seasons are tied for the second highest total in NFL history, trailing only Jerry Rice’s 14 seasons with 1,000 or more receiving yards. In addition to Moss, Tim Brown and Jimmy Smith also reached the 1,000-yard receiving mark nine times.
  • On a 13-yard reception in the fourth quarter, Randy Moss moved into ninth place on the NFL’s all-time receiving yardage list, passing Andre Reed’s career total of 13,198 receiving yards. Following his 13-yard catch, Moss had 13,201 career receiving yards. Henry Ellard ranks eighth on the league’s all-time receiving yardage list with 13,777 career receiving yards.
  • .Cassel became the first Patriots quarterback to record a punt since Tom Brady booted a 36-yard punt that was downed at the 1-yard line against Miami on Dec. 7, 2003.

Post Game Press Conferences

Listen to what Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Matt Cassel had to say about the game.

Post game press conferences via

Things To Work On For Next Week

If the Patriots make it to the postseason, they need to work on their tackling. They had Jackson stopped for no gains a few times but he was able to slip out to gain some positive yardage.

Next Week’s Opponent

The Patriots await their fate for the playoffs. They will either be the #3 seed in the AFC and host a game or the #6 seed and head out on the road. It’s also possible they could be preparing for the offseason. Only time will tell.