Not with the Patriots moving toward another division title.
Despite a noticeable limp and playing on a slick, snowy field, Brady kept his feet and his poise in leading New England to a 35-7 victory over the Bills on Sunday.
“He sucked it up and made plays for us as he always does,” New England receiver Troy Brown said.
Brady shrugged off the praise, saying he wasn’t going to come out after getting hurt when he was tackled in the end zone following a 3-yard scamper that opened the scoring.
“I’m just playing,” Brady said. “It’s going to be hard to ever get me out of there.”
Finishing 29-of-38 for 329 yards passing, Brady did it all. He ran for a touchdown, threw for two more and even set a block to open the way for Deion Branch on a reverse.
“Are you kidding me?” Patriots running back Corey Dillon said, referring to Brady. “Oh, man, No. 12 is 12. … He’s a heck of a quarterback.”
What bugged Brady is that he was penalized on the play for an illegal crackback.
“I thought it was a good block,” Brady said. “We don’t get a chance to block a whole lot so you get excited when you can stick your nose in there and make a play.”
Corey Dillon had 102 yards rushing and a touchdown, Brown and Christian Fauria caught touchdown passes and New England piled up a franchise-record 32 first downs.
Brady’s performance, combined with a stingy outing by the Patriots’ defense, put New England (8-5) on the verge of clinching its third consecutive AFC East title and fourth in five seasons. The Patriots, who host Tampa Bay on Saturday, need one more victory or a Miami loss to clinch after the Dolphins (6-7) stayed alive with a win at San Diego on Sunday.
The Bills (4-9) are headed in an entirely different direction, having lost six of their last seven. Willis McGahee described the Bills as a team in “chaos” earlier this week, and they looked it on Sunday.
Buffalo failed to overcome the distraction of missing star receiver Eric Moulds, who was suspended one game for conduct detrimental to the team.
“It’s been a tough week for a lot of people,” team president Tom Donahoe, whose status has been called into question, told The Associated Press. “Maybe it was just too much for everybody to overcome.”
Assessing his team’s performance, Donahoe added: “We didn’t have a chance. We never really got us into the game. You have to give them credit and we’ve got to find a way to regroup.”
The margin of defeat was the worst for Buffalo at home since a 38-7 loss to New England on Nov. 3, 2002. And it would have been worse had J.P. Losman not hit Josh Reed for a 51-yard touchdown catch in the final two minutes, averting the Bills’ first shutout loss at home since 1983.
The Bills managed eight first downs and limited to 183 yards offense, including 14 yards rushing—the fourth fewest in team history.
It was so bad that a fan, wearing a brown bag over his head, yelled to Patriots owner Robert Kraft following the game, saying: “Bob, buy our team.”
The game turned in the first quarter when Losman—facing third-and-goal from the 22—ignored a wide-open receiver and threw a pass into the end zone that was easily intercepted by Asante Samuel.
Brady took over and went 5-of-6 for 73 yards passing, capping the eight-play drive himself by taking the ball up the middle. Brady came up limping after he was hit diving into the end zone by linebacker Jeff Posey.
Dillon made it 14-0 in the second quarter, and Brady then made it 21-0 late in the third quarter by completing a 5-yard swing pass to Brown.
The Patriots defense did the rest.
New England forced seven three-and-outs and intercepted Losman three times, the capper coming when safety James Sanders scored on a 39-yard return after Tedy Bruschi tipped the pass at the line of scrimmage.
“We’re starting to roll,” defensive lineman Richard Seymour said. “I thought the offense did a a good job creating situations for us, and I thought it just rolled over to the defense.”
It’s easy when the offense is functioning as well as it did.
“Thirty-five points is a defense’s best friend,” linebacker Rosevelt Colvin said.
With a game-time temperature of 30 degrees, Brady improved to 14-0 when it’s 35 degrees or colder. … Moulds watched the game from a suite. … The Bills have been outscored 59-9 in their last seven quarters since blowing a 21-0 first quarter lead in a 24-23 loss at Miami last weekend. … The Patriots had five plays of 20 yards or more.