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Bills Blow 21-0 Lead in Season Finale 49-21 Loss to Patriots

Devin McCourty #32 of the New England Patriots tumbles to the ground after intercepting a pass in the second hal

In the first meeting between the Bills and Pats in Week 3, the Bills overcame a 21-0 deficit for a 34-31 victory in which Tom Brady threw four interceptions.

On Sunday, the Patriots returned the favor, falling behind the Bills 21-0, and then coming back to crush Buffalo 49-21 to end the year 6-10.

The Bills had snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 40-21 win over the Broncos last Saturday, but they head into the offseason with the memory of a 5-2 start that it couldn’t sustain.

The Pats avoided being swept by an AFC East opponent for the first time since 2000 and by the Bills since 1999.

Things looked great early for the Bills, as they took a 21-0 lead in the first quarter on a 4-yard run by Tashard Choice and Ryan Fitzpatrick’s scoring passes of 18 yards to Stevie Johnson and 15 yards to C.J. Spiller.

Johnson was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct when he lifted his jersey to reveal a T-shirt with the words “Happy New Year.” After that, he was benched by coach Chan Gailey.

The pass to Spiller gave Fitzpatrick 13 completions in 16 attempts for 156 yards and two touchdowns. At that point, Brady had thrown twice, both incompletions.

He finished with 23 completions in 35 attempts for three touchdowns—two to Rob Gronkowski—and one interception. Fitzpatrick ended at 29 for 46 for 307 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions.

Sunday’s deficit was the Patriots biggest of the season, but they had Brady to lead them back.

A 1-yard run by BenJarvus Green-Ellis and a 39-yard pass to Aaron Hernandez, which put Brady over the 5,000-yard mark, cut the lead to 21-14.

Field goals of 41 and 20 yards by Stephen Gostkowski made it 21-20 and the Patriots went ahead to stay 28-21 on Brady’s 17-yard scoring pass to Gronkowski with 1:32 left in the third quarter and a 2-point conversion run by Danny Woodhead.

They kept rolling with a 3-yard touchdown run by Green-Ellis, a 7-yard scoring pass to Gronkowski with 3:07 left in the game and a 21-yard interception return for another touchdown by Sterling Moore just 12 seconds later.

It was a terrible end to a season that held so much promise. While it appears that no changes will be made at the top for the Bills, things need to change for this team to make the next step this offseason.

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