Rian Lindell hit a 28-yard field goal as time expired to cap a stunning comeback for a 34-31 victory over the New England Patriots on Sunday. The win snapped Buffalo's 15-game losing streak against the Patriots that dated to 2003, and sparked a wild celebration in which stadium officials guarded the goal posts to ensure fans didn't bring them down.
As Lindell's kick sailed through the uprights, holder Brian Moorman jumped on Lindell's shoulders, and receiver David Nelson went running down the other end of the field pumping his fist.
The Bills (3-0) won courtesy of yet another Ryan Fitzpatrick-led rally, overcoming a 21-0 second-quarter deficit. It was reminiscent to what the Bills did in a 38-35 win over Oakland a week earlier, when they scored touchdowns on their final five possessions to overcome a 21-3 deficit.
This time, they did it against their longtime AFC East nemesis.
Tom Brady went 30 of 45 for 386 yards and four scores for New England (2-1), which had a 10-game regular-season winning streak ended. Wes Welker had 16 catches for a franchise record 217 yards and two scores.
Despite setting a league record for most yards passing over a three-game stretch, Brady matched a career worst with four interceptions. That included Drayton Florence's 27-yard interception return for a touchdown with 10:22 left that came 14 seconds after Buffalo's Fred Jackson tied the game at 24 with a 1-yard plunge.
Though Brady led the Patriots back to tie the score at 31 on a 6-yard touchdown pass to Welker — on fourth-and-goal, no less — the Bills would not be denied.
Getting the ball back with 3:25 remaining, Fitzpatrick needed only three plays to get the Bills into scoring position.
Facing first-and-10 at the Patriots 39, Fitzpatrick hit Jackson on a short crossing pattern over the middle. Jackson broke lose and was attempting to dive into the end zone before being tackled from behind by Devin McCourty.
Officials initially ruled Jackson had scored before having it overturned on video review.
That wound up an advantage to the Bills, who ran down the clock by kneeling. The Patriots ran out of timeouts — and composure, as an unsportmanlike conduct penalty against Vince Wilfork gave Buffalo another set of downs at the 1.
Dating to 1950, the Bills became the only team to overcome deficits of at least 18 points to win in consecutive weeks, according to STATS LLC. In fact, only six teams have won twice in one season when trailing by 18 or more points.
The last team to do so: the Patriots in 1996.
This comeback started before halftime. Down 21-0, Fitzpatrick capped a 96-yard drive by hitting Steve Johnson for an 11-yard touchdown. Brady's first interception came on the following possession, which led to Lindell's 42-yard field goal.
Johnson had eight catches for 94 yards and a touchdown for Buffalo. Tight end Scott Chandler also scored on a 3-yard catch.
It was a back-and-forth game featuring two of the NFL's top-scoring teams. The Bills racked up 448 yards on offense and 24 first downs. The Patriots were even more productive, finishing with 495 yards offense and 30 first downs.
Brady's 387 yards passing gave him 1,326 in three games. That eclipsed the record of 1,257 set in 2006 by New Orleans QB Drew Brees. It was also Brady's 37th 300-yard career game, moving him into ninth place, one ahead of John Elway.
Brady's four touchdowns gave him 272, one short of tying Joe Montana for ninth place on the NFL list.
The Patriots extended their franchise-record streak to 11 games of scoring 30 points or more, three short of matching the NFL record set by the St. Louis Rams in 1999-2000.