Tom Brady and a much-improved rushing attack spurred the Patriots to a 52-28 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. The victory pushed New England to 2-2 on the season, an underwhelming start to what fans expect to be another deep playoff run.
While the Patriots performance remains inconsistent on the field, though, their dominance of television ratings continues to be as good as ever. Sunday’s win in Buffalo drew a 32.8 household rating, which marked the fourth time this season that the Patriots drew a rating of at least 32 in the Boston market.
The stellar ratings in such early-season contests is a big boost over years past, as this is the first season the Patriots have ever drawn a household rating of 30 in each of their September games. Sunday’s game also drew a record TV audience for the Patriots-Bills rivalry, bringing in the second-highest rating for a September meeting between the two teams since 1992. Only the Patriots’ comeback 25-24 win on Monday night in 2009 drew a higher rating with a 35.
The Patriots’ comeback win on Sunday was one of the most thrilling September games in recent memory. Trailing 21-7 early in the third quarter, the Patriots’ offense ferociously charged back behind Brady’s arm and the strong running of Stevan Ridley and rookie Brandon Bolden.
New England proceeded to light up the Bills for 45 points in the second half, a mark not reached by any NFL team since 1972, and threw up 580 total yards just to solidify the performance.
The Patriots now prepare for a visit from Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos on Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium. The game is set for 4:25 p.m., and given the longstanding rivalry between Brady and Manning, it should draw an even bigger audience than the 36 seen in the Sunday night game against Baltimore.
Check out the Patriots’ television ratings for each game this season.
Patriots 2012 September Ratings in Boston (Manchester) TV Market
Date Opponent Network Boston TV HH Rat. HH Share
9/12 at Tennessee CBS WBZ 33.5 60
9/16 Arizona FOX WFXT 32.88 63
9/23 at Baltimore NBC WHDH 36.06 57
9/30 at Buffalo CBS WBZ 32.8 60