Even more dominating than the Patriots now 13-game winning streak against the Bills is quarterback Tom Brady's numbers in those games. Since 2006, Brady had thrown 15 touchdown passes along with just two interceptions entering Sunday's 17-10 victory. One of the Bills' bright spots defensively altered half those figures, and continued his steady season in the process.
After the Bills capped an impressive 14-play, 69-yard drive over nine minutes to open the game, the Patriots developed a seven play march of their own. However, that was immediately thwarted when Paul Posluszny recorded his third interception of the season two minutes later. The pass was intended for Patriots receiver Wes Welker, except Brady was heavily pressured and forced the ball into a tight window across the middle.
"We were in man coverage and like I just mentioned, we had an awareness of where Welker was, I was the free guy, reading the quarterback's eyes, seeing what threats he had down the middle of the field, and it was just reading Brady's eyes and just broke on the ball," Posluszny said.
Posluszny's fourth-career pick made him the first linebacker since Bryce Paup in 1995 to record interceptions in back-to-back contests after his INT last week in a win over Kansas City. From a team perspective, the Bills increased their league lead for interceptions with 26.
Most importantly, the turnover kept a Patriots team ranked second in total yards and passing offense from inflicting immediately answering the Bills field goal drive. The drive lasted 2:46, with the Patriots compiling only two first downs.
"Any time you get a turnover—fumble recovery, interception, sack—it's big. Turnovers are huge and they win football games," Donte Whitner said. "The percentage of winning goes up a lot when you get turnovers. Poz has been around the football these past few weeks, the second straight week, and third of the season. It was very, very big for us getting our offense back on the football field to put points on the field. It was huge."
The offense failed to capitalize though, scoring zero points and failing to cross midfield—signifying the first of Posluszny's four career interceptions the Bills didn't respond with a score. The quick possession included two sacks on Ryan Fitzpatrick, which stopped the momentum, and began an offensive stagnation until late in the fourth quarter.
Not lost in the final stat sheet were Posluszny's nine tackles, giving him a team-leading 95. He was aggressive in run support, earning a number of tackles in pursuit. Yet the most crucial stop came when the Patriots threatened to increase their 7-3 lead in the first half. On a 2-and-1 play in Buffalo territory, Posluszny charged through the middle stopping running back Laurence Maroney for -6 yards—forcing a Patriots punt two plays later.
Brady's success against Buffalo is well-documented, winning his 15th regular season game against the Bills Sunday—his highest regular season victory total over any opponent. With a 13-yard hookup to Randy Moss in second quarter, Brady now has more touchdown passes against the Bills than any other opponent (33).
Brady did manage the game efficiently, but not to his elite caliber. His pedestrian 11-of 23 for 115 yards were far below normally lofty standards.
Posluszny contributed to a defensive effort, one that ranks fifth in the league against the pass. Throughout the game, the Patriots used several quick-snap formations hoping to test the Bills' secondary in covering both Moss and Welker.
Posluszny said he was prepared to make adjustments based on previous tendencies.
"They weren't letting our D-line have the time to get to Brady, so they were running those quicker routes which was a little bit of a changeup, we're used to them throwing the ball downfield a lot to Moss and some other guys, but I think we were well prepared for it," he said. "We practiced it during the week and we had a pretty good feel for it, but they're always going to change things up a little bit."
The Patriots are a symbol of downright bad luck for the third-year veteran. In 2007, Posluszny was placed on injured reserve after breaking his forearm against New England in Week 3. He then proceeded to miss six games this season after a similar injury in the season opener, a one-point heartbreaker in Foxborough.
Losses don't help the frustration either.
"Especially against them," said Posluszny. "We feel like this game, we had a lot of confidence. The most confidence we've ever had going in to play the Patriots in the short time that I've been here. It's tough."