Brady was 23 for 38 for 237.
His last incompletion, a ball thrown into the ground about 5 yards in front of the intended receiver, set the stage for Buffalo’s final drive. Brady watched McCourty’s interception from the sideline.
“I had an opportunity to do something about it 50 seconds before that,” he said. “The defense really saved the day.”
The game was closer than expected considering the Patriots led the NFL in points and yards gained and the Bills were next to last in points and yards allowed.
The Patriots extended their streak to 11 straight scoring possessions against the Bills with a field goal and three touchdowns on their first four series yesterday. In the previous meeting, New England scored on its last seven series: six touchdowns followed by a field goal.
But not even that could give the Patriots a secure lead and they entered the fourth quarter ahead 31-24.
“They didn’t really hit us with a lot of big plays,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “They’ve got an explosive group of skilled players and they got them all involved.”
The Patriots led 24-17 at halftime, scoring on a 43-yard field goal by Gostkowski, touchdown runs of 1 yard by Stevan Ridley and 15 yards by Danny Woodhead, and a 2-yard pass from Brady to Rob Gronkowski, his fifth touchdown catch in three games.
The Bills scored on a 42-yard field goal by Rian Lindell, a 14-yard run by Fred Jackson and a 3-yard pass from Fitzpatrick to Scott Chandler with 31 seconds left in the half.
Woodhead scored again, his first multi-touchdown game of his career, on an 18-yard pass from Brady. But the Bills cut the lead to 31-24 on the next possession on a 1-yard run by Jackson and Lindell’s extra point.
Gostkowski’s 48-yard field goal gave the Patriots a 34-24 lead 50 seconds into the fourth quarter.