Week 3 Highlight - Patriots @ Bills
They were behind 21-0, but the Buffalo Bills stormed back to win their first game against the Patriots since 2003 to go 3-0 this season in a stunning 34-31 victory.
Both teams went into Sunday's game unbeaten and with a confrontation between the seemingly unstoppable force of Tom Brady and previously underwhelming Ryan Fitzpatrick, everything pointed in the direction of a comfortable win for the Patriots.
With 940 passing yards in the first two games, it was Brady who threw the first TD of what was to be a compelling match, with Wes Welker running into the end zone; Patriots led 7-0 at the end of the first quarter.
After a string of forced punts, it was Brady again as he drove his team foward and threw his second TD of the game to Rob Gronkowski who caught his 3rd TD of the season.
Rob Gronkowski was soon at the end of another sublime throw from Brady, as the Tight end recieved his second touchdown of the afternoon with the end result beginning to look inevitable.
But the Bills would not go into the half completely down and out as they grabbed themselves a lifeline with Fitzpatrick finding Steve Johnson to make it 21-7. After the Patriots had been forced to punt, a field goal by Rian Lindell put the Bills 11 points adrift going into half time (21-10).
After Brady was intercepted for the second time in the game, the Bills then scored another touchdown five minutes into the 3rd quarter with Fitzpatrick finding Scott Chandler in acres of space in the end zone catching his 3rd TD in as many games (Patriots 21-17 Bills). Stephen Gostkowski put a field goal in for the Patriots before the end of the 3rd quarter to open up a one-score lead over Buffalo (24-17) going into the final quarter.
Less then five minutes into the 4th, Brady threw his third interception of the game. These were uncharacteristic mistakes from Brady who only threw four interceptions in the whole of last season.
With the Bills now again ready to march forward, Fitzpatrick found Donald Jones for a 48 yard reception which eventually resulted in a rushed touchdown for Fred Jackson and with the extra point from lindell the Bills tied the game 24-24.
Unbelievably, Brady threw yet another interception via a freak bounce off the helmet of Bills defensive-end Marcell Dareus' which was then caught by cornerback Drayton Florence who returned for a TD to put the Bills in front for the first time in the game (24-31). It was also the first time Brady had thrown four interceptions in one game since 2006.
With Brady intent on making up for his mistake he targeted newly acquired wide reciever Chad Ochocinco in open space and looking sure to take it in for a touchdown, but the former Bengal couldn't manage to hold onto what seemed to be a routine reception as '85' continues to struggle for his new team.
The very next play however on 4th down, Brady found the record-breaking Wes Welker to get the much needed first down. Welker then broke the franchise record for yards received in one game (217 yards, 16 catches) when Brady drove forward further before throwing to Welker for another touchdown (Brady's 16th 4+ TD game) with only three minutes remaining to tie the score again (31-31).
The see-saw style continued as one minute later after the 2-minute warning, Fitzpatrick found Fred Jackson who thought he had ran in for the touchdown but was instantly reviewed and was spotted that his knee had landed just short of the end zone. After the booth review, the Bills found themselves in an imperious position and as the clock ran down Rian Liddell prepared to kick the Bills to their biggest victory in years.
The successful kick keeps the Bills undefeated whereas Bill Belichick and his star man Brady will have to lick their wounds ahead of their difficult game away to the in-form Oakland Raiders.
Round Up of Week 3
Rookie QB and #1 Draft Pick Cam Newton picked up his first win for Carolina throwing for 158 yards, 1 TD
Houston Texans 33 New Orleans Saints 40
Superbowl XLIV MVP Drew Brees threw for 370 yards & 3 Touchdowns after being behind on two occasions in the 4th quarter in one of the games of the season so far.
Miami Dolphins 16 Cleveland Browns 17
Colt McCoy threw a late touchdown to Mohamed Massaquoi, capping off a stunning 80-yard drive putting more pressure on Dolphins coach Tony Sparano.
Denver Broncos 14 Tennessee Titans 17
The Titans lost the AFC's leading receiver Kenny Britt, but new QB Matt Hasselbeck performed like he had played in Tennessee his whole life throwing for 311 yards and two touchdowns.
New York Giants 29 Philadelphia Eagles 16
Michael Vick was left with a broken hand as the Eagles slumped to defeat to their NFC East rivals as opposite QB Eli Manning found form throwing four touchdown passes for 254 yards.
Detroit Lions 26 Minnesota Vikings 23
QB Matthew Stafford helped the Lions roar back after trailing 20-0 at half time to go top of the NFC North on 3-0
San Francisco 49ers 13 Cincinnati Bengals 8
Cincinnati continue to struggle offensively as the 49ers scored a single touchdown to beat the Bengals, who were playing in front of their lowest attendance for an opening home game for 30 years.
New York Jets 24 Oakland Raiders 34
Darren McFadden was the star of the show as he ran for 171 yards, with two touchdowns to win their home opener
Kansas City Chiefs 17 San Diego Chargers 20
The Chiefs remain win-less as the Chargers scraped past in a forgettable match up
Baltimore Ravens 37 St Louis Rams 7
The Ravens tore the Rams apart as they set a new offensive record for the franchise (533 yards in total) to help get back on track after the loss last week to the Titans.
Green Bay Packers 27 Chicago Bears 17
The Packers made a winning return to Soldier Field for the first time since their NFC Conference victory back in January. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers (297 passing yards) and Tight-End Jermichael Finlay (3 touchdown receptions) impressed for the reigning Superbowl champions.
Arizona Cardinals 10 Seattle Seahawks 13
The Seahawks scrambled past the Cardinals to win their first game of the season.
Atlanta Falcons 13 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16
A defensive performance fitting to win any football match; the Buccaneers sacked Matt Ryan four times and forced three turnovers as they ended three years of frustration against Atlanta.
Pittsburgh Steelers 23 Indianapolis Colts 20
A field goal with seconds remaining helped the Steelers narrowly beat an improving Indianapolis team who were expected to be mauled by last years Superbowl runners-up.
Washington Redskins 16 Dallas Cowboys 18
Tony Romo battled through the pain barrier to drive deep into the Redskins territory, but a touchdown-less Cowboys side relied on Dan Bailey's six field goals to deny the Redskin's their first 3-0 start since 2005.
Players of the Week
Ryan Fitzpatrick (Bills), Wes Welker (Patriots), Aaron Rodgers (Packers), Matthew Stafford (Lions), Drew Brees (Saints), Matt Hasselbeck (Titans), Tony Romo (Cowboys), Colt McCoy (Browns), Eli Manning (Giants), Darren McFadden (Raiders), Joe Flacco (Ravens), Jermichael Finlay (Packers),
Winner of the Week - Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB, Bills)
The Harvard-graduate came up against one of the best quarterbacks of the last decade (if not of all time when Tom Brady retires), but Fitzpatrick didnt let that phase him, or the 21-0 deficit at one stage either. Throwing for 369 yards with two touchdowns, Fitzpatrick almost single-handedly won the game for the Bills to put them 3-0 and into the frame for the play-off chase already.
Loser(s) of the Week - Philadelphia Eagles
Millions spent on an influx of players. They are also the highest paid players in the NFL. However, at times they couldn't even tackle or block and quarter back Michael Vick moaned about being hit too much and too hard by the opposition when I'm sure that's part of the package to being a QB?
They were held in high regards as the favourites before the season started, but now after losing consecutive games including the rivalry game this weekend, they sit at the bottom of the NFC East. With Vick out for what is expected to be around a month, who knows what Eagles performance we can expect.