Patriots improve to 10-0, beat Bills 20-13
FOXBOROUGH — James White filled in for Dion Lewis.
Danny Amendola replaced Julian Edelman.
Tom Brady was just his usual self.
Brady completed 20 of 39 passes for 277 yards, then threw in a personal dig at Buffalo coach Rex Ryan on Monday night as the New England Patriots beat the Bills 20-13 to remain on course for their second perfect regular season in nine years.
Lining up under center, Brady began barking out an unusual signal: "Rex Ryan! Rex Ryan!" Asked if there was a message in it, the Patriots quarterback struggled to suppress a smile.
"We have a lot of unusual terms," Brady said. "I think we run the gamut. So we've got to get creative and think of different things. That one is pretty unique."
Ryan was less troubled about any personal slight than losing to his longtime nemesis for the 11th time in 15 games.
"He likes me, I know that," said the coach, who was 4-9 against New England as the New York Jets coach before getting swept in his first season with Buffalo.
The Bills (5-5) had their two-game winning streak snapped and lost to Brady for the 25th time in 28 games.
Here are some other things we learned from the Patriots' victory over the Bills:
NEXT MAN UP: Brady hit White for a 20-yard score that was the first touchdown of the running back's career. White added a 6-yard run in the third quarter to give New England (10-0) the lead for good.
Amendola, who took over as the Patriots' No. 1 receiver because of last week's injury to Julian Edelman, caught nine passes for 117 yards before leaving with a knee injury of his own.
"We were down to two healthy receivers," Brady said. "You get pretty limited in things you can do pretty quickly."
RUNNING AWAY: The Patriots lead the AFC East by five games with six to play. Buffalo and Miami are each 5-5.
"At the end of the day, they find ways to win," Ryan said. "That's what championship teams do. We're not at that level, but I promise you we'll get there."
OFFICIAL MESS: The refs blew one play dead by mistake. Then when Sammy Watkins crawled out of bounds untouched near midfield on the final play of the game, the official signaled for the clock to run.
Referee Gene Steratore told a pool reporter that it was decided that Watkins "gave himself up in the field of play."
The inadvertent whistle came on a 14-yard pass to Amendola when the official apparently thought Brady stepped out of bounds. After a long discussion, the referee announced that 14-yard reception counted, with a 15-yard penalty for interference from the Bills coaching staff.
"That's one of the craziest I've ever seen," said Bills running back LeSean McCoy, who ran 20 times for 82 yards and a 27-yard touchdown.
McCoy also caught six passes for 41 yards to surpass 100 yards from scrimmage for the fourth straight game.
ODDITIES: That drive ended with an even rarer mistake: Stephen Gostkowski's first missed kick in 51 weeks. There were other oddities in the game, including Brady's fourth interception of the season; another was negated by offsetting penalties.
The Patriots even failed to score in the fourth — the first time they were shut out in a quarter since the first one of the season. But the strangest event might have been the two fumbles on a single punt.
Leodis McKelvin fielded a punt but coughed up the ball 2 yards later. New England's Jonathan Freeny picked it and rumbled 5 yards before he lost the ball and it bounced out of bounds.
SHOULDERING THE LOAD: Tyrod Taylor was 20 of 36 for 233 yards for Buffalo. He remained in the game after apparently injuring his shoulder late.
"I asked him at the end of the game, but he said, 'No, Coach. I'm ready to go,"' Ryan said. "I was going to go with (EJ Manuel), but he said he was ready to go."
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