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PATS PICK ON BLEDSOE AGAIN

Drew Bledsoe has had better days. But the Buffalo Bills quarterback hasn't had many good ones when he faces his former team, the New England Patriots. Especially when he plays in Foxboro.

The Patriots continued to be Bledsoe's chief tormentor, intercepting him three times and sacking him twice during a 29-6 rout over the Bills in Gillette Stadium on Sunday night.

Bledsoe is 1-5 in six meetings against the team he spent his first nine seasons with, including three straight losses on the road. He has averaged 211 yards in those six games, but he has thrown 11 interceptions compared to only five touchdowns. Eight of those interceptions occurred in Foxboro.

Sunday was Bledsoe's worst performance ever against the Patriots as he completed just 8 of 19 passes for 76 yards. His quarterback rating of 14.3 was the lowest of his career, topping the 18.4 rating he put up last year at Miami.

It was so bad for Bledsoe he was intercepted by wide receiver Troy Brown, substituting as a cornerback.

"We didn't throw it well enough and we didn't put any points on the board," said Bledsoe, who has failed to lead an offensive scoring drive in his last two games in Gillette Stadium. "We came in here and knew we had a tremendous challenge playing against the world champs, and they played like the world champs. They played very well, and we didn't play well against them."

There was optimism Bledsoe could finally produce a meaningful performance against the Patriots. He had played well in helping the Bills win three of their last four games.

But it seems the Patriots just have Bledsoe's number. Despite having good protection for most of the night, Bledsoe missed wide-open receivers by overthrowing them or by short-hopping balls off the ground.

"They really didn't do anything different that we didn't expect," Bills coach Mike Mularkey said. "That's the disappointing thing. They basically lined up like we thought they would line up. Didn't do anything exotic, didn't try to trick us. Didn't do anything that should have thrown us off. They were better than we were. That's it. Plain and simple."

Wide receiver Eric Moulds has his own idea as to why Bledsoe struggles so badly against the Patriots.

"I think he was pressing a lot," Moulds said. "Anytime you have a ball skip or things like that happen, a quarterback is pressing trying to make a play. He's had some bad games here, so it could be one of those things where he wants to beat this team really bad and go out there and play well, and he's rushing his throws and not relaxing."

Bledsoe denied he was pressing, but he clearly took some of the blame for the interceptions.

"Just looking at the pictures on the sideline, I should have thrown more check downs to my halfback," Bledsoe said. "They did a good job of covering us downfield, so I should have just dropped it off underneath and taken the short gain.

"They're a good team, a very good team obviously."

Bledsoe was replaced by rookie J.P. Losman with 4:40 left, which is sure to raise speculation that Losman will soon be replacing Bledsoe permanently.

But Mularkey wasn't prepared to remove Bledsoe as the starter just yet.

"I'd say it's too early to do that," Mularkey said. "It's too early to think about that. I've been in a situation very similar to this. Same amount of losses and made the playoffs in 1989, so one game is not going to change our outlook. I know they still believe."

And Moulds said the players still believe in Drew.

"I don't think it's just Drew," Moulds said. "I think as a whole team we didn't play well today. He played a bad game, but I think the whole team played a bad game. As teammates, we have to help him get over that hump and make plays for him."

e-mail: awilson@buffnews.com

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