It’s well-established that Tom Brady has dominated the Bills since succeeding Drew Bledsoe as the Patriots’ quarterback 17 years ago. Brady is 28-3 against the Bills, the most victories any quarterback has recorded over a single franchise in NFL history. One of those games was the meaningless 2014 season finale, in which Brady played just a half.
Those 17 years have featured some horrifying play by Buffalo’s quarterbacks, who have been consistently outfoxed by Bill Belichick and his staff and played some of the most dreadful games imaginable.
Drew Bledsoe went 8-for-19 passing for 76 yards with three interceptions in a 29-6 road loss on Sunday night in November of 2004. Troy Brown, a wideout pressed into service at cornerback, had a pick that night. If memory serves me, the Pats honored the World Series champion Red Sox before the game that night.
J.P. Losman threw for 192 yards in a 28-6 loss to the Pats in Buffalo in 2006. Last year, Tyrod Taylor and Nathan Peterman combined to go 15 of 33 passing for 115 yards in a 23-3 loss at New Era a year ago. That’s three games right there where the Bills didn’t score an offensive touchdown.
How about the 12-9 overtime loss at what was then called Ralph Wilson Stadium in Brady’s first win in Buffalo in 2001? Alex Van Pelt played quarterback for the Bills that day. Neither team scored a touchdown. Adam Vinatieri, who broke the NFL’s career scoring record this past Sunday, tied the game with a late field goal and kicked another in overtime to win it.
Ah, memories! There aren’t a lot of good ones against New England where Buffalo quarterbacks are concerned. Belichick has made their lives pretty miserable, generally taking the Bills’ top receiver away (Lee Evans, invariably) and limiting big plays down the field.
The Patriots are 30-4 against the Bills in the Brady era. Matt Cassel won two games in 2008 and Jacoby Brissett was on the losing end of a 16-0 loss at New England two years ago. Brady got picked off four times in the two losses in which he played the whole game — a 31-0 blanking in the 2003 opener and a 34-31 loss at the Ralph in 2011, when he also threw four touchdown passes.
In the 30 losses, the Bills’ quarterbacks have completed 57.7 percent of their passes for 5,993 yards, or almost exactly 200 yards a game, That’s pretty bad, especially when you consider how much garbage time there was in those losses. The Buffalo QBs have 30 TD passes (that’s 1.0 a game, math whizzes) and 44 interceptions.
The average score in the 30 losses was 31-15. So when you consider the history, and the fact that the quarterback situation could be the worst yet, it’s no surprise that the Bills are a 14-point underdog at home tonight at New Era.
The most productive Bills quarterback during the Brady era has been Ryan Fitzpatrick, by far. In seven games, Fitz completed 63 percent of his passes for 2,039 yards, or 291 a game. All other Bills quarterbacks averaged 172 during the Brady era.
The Bills averaged 23 points in Fitzpatrick’s seven starts against New England. He had 13 touchdown passes and — oh, yes — 17 interceptions. Classic Fitz. He went 1-6, but he usually made it interesting.