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Quarterly Report / Mark Gaughan breaks down the game quarter-by-quarter

>First Quarter

Opening statement

The New England Patriots have owned the first quarter this NFL season.

Sunday night's game was no different.

The Patriots took a 14-7 lead after the first 15 minutes and were knocking on the door for a third touchdown when the quarter ended.

Pats quarterback Tom Brady finished the quarter 7 of 9 for 117 yards, and both of his incompletions were dropped passes.

The Patriots now have outscored opponents, 86-17, in the first quarter this season. The Bills were only the second team to get a touchdown on them. The Pats have not allowed one opponent to score on the opening drive this year.

Key plays: Bills free safety George Wilson has been rock steady since entering the starting lineup the fifth game of the season. Wilson, however, was exposed on the Pats' second touchdown, a 43-yard pass down the right sideline to Randy Moss.

The Bills did give the fans something to cheer about. Roscoe Parrish beat Ellis Hobbs deep down the left sideline, and J.P. Losman hit him with an excellent throw at the goal line for a 47-yard touchdown.

Second-guess: The Patriots needed 34 seconds of possession time to score their first touchdown. What took them so long?


>Second Quarter

Master at work


That's the one-word summation of the exhibition New England quarterback Tom Brady put on in the second quarter.

It started with a 16-yard scoring strike to Randy Moss on the second play of the quarter to put the Patriots ahead, 21-7. It ended with a 17-yard scoring strike to Moss with 10 seconds left in the quarter to put the Patriots ahead, 35-7.

In between, Brady was near perfect, spreading the ball around to Moss, fellow receivers Wes Welker and Jabbar Gaffney, tight end Ben Watson and running back Kevin Faulk. The Pats' scoring marches went eight, 12 and 10 plays.

Brady made it look easy.

Key plays: The last touchdown was a thing of beauty. Moss had run a post route on the previous play and was open, but Brady's pass was just a tad early and too far ahead of the receiver. So New England went right back to Moss. This time he faked over the middle and broke to the corner of the end zone. Brady's pass was perfect, and Moss stretched to make the grab a step behind safety Donte Whitner.


>Third Quarter

A broken record

It was obvious there would be no silver lining or consolation prizes for the Bills this game.

The third quarter was all Brady, Brady, Brady.

New England took the opening kickoff and marched 73 yards in 10 plays to a touchdown that made the score 42-7.

Tom Brady threw only one touchdown pass, a 4-yarder to tight end Benjamin Watson. It was a pretty one, lofted to the right side of the end zone over Bills safety Donte Whitner.

The Patriots ran 19 plays to just seven for the Bills.

Odd play: A 52-yard field goal try by Rian Lindell just barely made it over the crossbar and hit the camera mounted on the middle post, bounding back onto the field of play. The referees correctly ruled it a made kick.

Second guess: There was 1:12 left in the quarter. The Patriots had a fourth-and-1 situation from the Bills' 10. The score was 42-10. Patriots coach Bill Belichick eschewed the field-goal try and went for it. Brady threw a quick, 3-yard pass to Moss to the right, and the Pats' drive stayed alive, amid a chorus of boos from the crowd in the roughly one-third-full stadium.


>Fourth Quarter

Pouring it on

The Patriots capped off what was a near-perfect night for them with a wacky defensive touchdown 1:01 into the fourth quarter.

J.P. Losman threw a swing pass to rookie running back Dwayne Wright in the left flat. Wright barreled toward the left sideline but didn't quite get his shoulder low enough. Patriots safety James Sanders got underneath Wright and delivered a hit, popping the ball straight up in the air. It blooped directly into the arms of cornerback Ellis Hobbs, and he raced 33 yards down the sideline and into the end zone for the Patriots' ninth and final touchdown of the evening.

No-name performer: Patriots rookie fullback Kyle Eckel scored the second touchdown of his NFL career on the first play of the fourth quarter. It was a 1-yard plunge.

Cushy job: With just one punt on the night, Pats punter Chris Hanson has only 22 punts in 10 games this year.

Rout numbers: In two games against the Patriots, the Bills were outscored, 94-17.

Second guess: In hindsight, NBC should have passed on this game and opted to carry one of the Patriots' later games on prime-time television.

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