Wed, Sep 16, 2009 - Page 19 News List

NFL: Brady rallies Patriots past Bills

BIG FINALE Buffalo seemed ready to break an 11-game losing streak against New England, but Tom Brady threw two TD passes in the final 2:06 to beat the Bills again

AFP AND AP , FOXBORO, MASSACHUSETTS

Tom Brady of the New England Patriots throws a pass during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, on Monday.

PHOTO: AFP

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, back in the National Football League spotlight, came up with a characteristically big finale.

Brady threw two touchdown passes in the final two minutes and six seconds as the Patriots handed Buffalo a heartbreaking 25-24 defeat on Monday.

It was a thriller of a return for Brady, who missed last year’s season after tearing knee ligaments in the season-opener.

Under pressure through much of the game, Brady rarely looked like the record-breaking quarterback who piloted New England to an undefeated 2007 regular season.

But when Buffalo’s Leodis ­McKelvin fumbled a kickoff return after the Patriots had narrowed the deficit to five points, Brady rose to the occasion.

Patriots placekicker Stephen Gostkowski recovered the ball at the Buffalo 31-yard line.

Three plays later, Brady connected with Benjamin Watson over the middle for the decisive 16-yard touchdown with 50 seconds remaining.

Little more than a minute earlier he had hit Watson for an 18-yard TD.

“Two-minute drives always are fun for a quarterback,” Brady said. “Spread it out, the pass rush gets a little tired, you get a feel for the coverage, you just have to be patient.

“I’m glad it’s over, glad we are moving on, got a win, and we’ll learn from it,” he added.

Brady threw for a record 50 touchdowns in 2007 as he led New England to a perfect regular season record.

But they lost that season to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl, and Brady’s hopes of guiding the Pats back to the championship game ended when he was injured in the first game of last season.

For most of Monday’s contest, the Bills seemed poised to snap an 11-game losing streak against New England.

“That’s not how we drew it up, but I’ll take it,” Brady said. “We did a lot of things poorly but we got the win.”

Brady said the close call would spur the Patriots to improve.

“We have a real competitive locker room, a real competitive team,” Brady said. “When you’re in a situation like we were, it’s when you really have to step it up. It takes every guy on the field to step it up. Hopefully, we will continue to do that.”

The Patriots have not lost a regular-season game with Brady at quarterback since Dec. 10, 2006.

CHARGERS 24, RAIDERS 20

At Oakland, California, Philip Rivers answered a pair of Oakland touchdowns by leading with two touchdown drives, capped by Darren Sproles’ 5-yard run with 18 seconds left, that gave San Diego their 12th straight win in their one-sided rivalry with the Raiders.

This might have been the toughest one of the bunch. JaMarcus Russell had given Oakland a 20-17 lead with a 57-yard touchdown pass to rookie Louis Murphy with 2:34 left, but despite having two backup linemen in the game, Rivers calmly led the Chargers down the field for the winning score.

Rivers was six for seven for 79 yards on the winning drive before Sproles silenced the crowd with his run up the middle. This marked the Raiders’ 11th straight loss in prime time and perhaps the most painful, considering how close they came.

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