FOXBORO, Mass. - Are the Patriots about to experience, as Yogi Berra might say, deja vu all over again?
Each of the last two seasons, New England swept all eight games in the second half. On Sunday, the 2012 Patriots opened the second half with a 37-31 win over the Bills, thus sweeping the two-game season series between the teams.
This wasn't an easy win, as Devin McCourty intercepted a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass in the end zone with 23 seconds left after the Bills moved to the New England 15.
Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes, one of them to Danny Woodhead, who also scored on a 15-yard run, to power New England (6-3 with three straight wins) to a win in a game that saw Buffalo amass 481 yards of offense.
The Patriots had 347 yards of offense, ending their NFL-record streak of 350-yard games at 27 straight.
The Bills (3-6 with three straight losses) were hit with 14 penalties for 148 yards, but one of them, a 37-yard pass interference penalty in the end zone, was a dreadful call.
Fitzpatrick was 27-for-40 for 337 yards, the one pick and two touchdowns.
Buffalo's Fred Jackson ran for 80 yards and two touchdowns but was guilty of a fourth-quarter fumble at the New England 1. He was called down by contact on the field, but the play was reversed on review. He then fumbled again with his team marching entering the final minute, but Buffalo recovered at the Patriots' 37 with 59 seconds left.
Brady was 23-for-38 for 237 yards, while Stevan Ridley ran for 98 yards and a touchdown in the win.
The Patriots scored 45 points in the second half in their Sept. 30 win at Buffalo, and tacked on 24 more in the first half Sunday.
Brady got his team in position for a 40-yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal (the first of his two on the day) that opened the scoring, and the Fitzpatrick fumble, caused by Vince Wilfork and recovered by Jermaine Cunningham, set up Ridley's one-yard TD run.
The Bills marched to a 41-yard field goal by Rian Lindell to get on the board, but Brady used a nine-yard pass to Wes Welker and a 24-yarder to Rob Gronkowski to start another scoring drive. Woodhead gained the final 37 yards, catching passes of 15 and seven yards and then bursting through a huge hole for a 15-yard touchdown with 9:09 left in the half.
Buffalo came right back. After a two-yard play started the drive, the next five plays went for 12, 23, 17, 12 and 14 yards, with C.J. Spiller running it in from 14 yards out.
The Pats then took advantage of three penalties, the third the horrible pass interference call in the end zone (the ball was uncatchable), and Brady hit Gronkowski with a two-yard TD. It was the 41st straight game with at least one touchdown pass for Brady, the third-longest streak of all time.
But the Bills weren't done, going 80 yards on 11 plays, with Fitzpatrick hitting tight end Scott Chandler with a 2-yard TD pass with 31 seconds left in the half.
NOTES: A second-quarter completion gave Fitzpatrick 10,000 yards passing as a Bill, making him the fifth Buffalo quarterback to reach that mark. ... Buffalo-area native Gronkowski has at least one TD catch in all six career games against the Bills. ... Welker dropped a touchdown pass on New England's first drive, but also caught a pass on the march, giving him 103 straight games with at least one catch. He dropped another pass in the fourth quarter, but had six catches. ... On Buffalo's first drive, the Bills had third-and-1 from their 35, then took a false start, a holding penalty and another false start to create a third-and-21. ... The Patriots honored former running back Kevin Faulk at halftime. ... Running back Brandon Bolden, who wouldn't have played anyway because of injury, served the first game of his four-game league suspension for a drug violation. Newly acquired Patriot Aqib Talib served the final game of his four-game incurred while he was with Tampa Bay. ... A giant American flag covered the field for the National Anthem, commemorating Veteran s Day, and the Patriots unveiled a black seat, which will forever be empty, to honor the 91,803 POW/MIAs since World War I. The backs of the end zones had the Words, "Salute To Service." ... The Bills host Miami Thursday night, while the Patriots host Indianapolis Sunday.