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

FIRST QUARTER / Big-name player

He has one of the best nicknames in the NFL -- "The Law Firm."

Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis has a name that sounds like a partnership, and he's making a name for himself this season with New England.

Green-Ellis rushed for 42 yards in the first quarter as the Pats took a 7-3 lead. His mother's name is Green, his father's is Ellis. His mom liked the name BenJarvus. Green-Ellis was an undrafted gem signed by the Pats in 2008. He was a little under the radar in college, transferring from Indiana after two years to Mississippi. But he became only the second Ole Miss back to rush for 1,000 yards two straight years.

Now Green-Ellis is on pace for 1,000 yards in the NFL. He had 104 yards Sunday and stands at 928 for the season.

Key plays: The Bills got a 26-yard field goal from Rian Lindell off the opening drive of the game. Buffalo ran seven times for 64 yards on the march.

Second-guess: The Bills rammed the ball down the Pats' throats on the first series, then stuck with the offensive script and spread them out on the second drive. It didn't work.


SECOND QUARTER / Mayo brings mustard

New England scored a big hit with its first choice in the 2008 NFL draft.

Linebacker Jerod Mayo, the 10th overall pick that year, leads the NFL in tackles by a wide margin this season. Mayo entered the game with 164 tackles, according to That was 19 ahead of the next closest tackler, Tennessee's Stephen Tulloch. Buffalo's Paul Posluszny was fourth at 126.

Mayo was all over the field in the first half, delivering big hits on Bills ball-carriers. He recovered a fumble late in the first quarter. He put a big lick on Stevie Johnson early in the second to force an incompletion on a third-down throw underneath the coverage. He put a big hit on Ryan Fitzpatrick on a blitz on the next series.

Key plays: Tom Brady threw touchdown passes of 8 yards to Rob Gronkowski and 4 yards to Alge Crumpler. The Pats got a 34-yard field goal from Shayne Graham.

Bad timing: The Bills took themselves out of running situations on their best second quarter threat, trailing 14-3. Buffalo had first and 10 at the Pats' 30 but tackle Mansfield Wrotto took a 10-yard holding foul to negate a 17-yard gain. That drive stalled.


THIRD QUARTER / Giving it away

The Bills sent the home fans rushing to the exits with three turnovers in the third quarter.

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick made the first one, throwing an interception on a short sideline pass for Stevie Johnson. Pats safety Jarrad Page picked it off in the flat to give New England the ball on the Buffalo 11. Three plays later, Tom Brady hit tight end Rob Gronkowski on an 8-yard pass for a touchdown to give the Patriots a 31-3 lead.

The Bills' next series ended on downs. The series after that ended when C.J. Spiller fumbled at the end of a 5-yard run around left tackle. Jerod Mayo forced it. Dane Fletcher recovered it. On the next series Fitzpatrick fumbled after a 14-yard scramble down the right side. Cornerback Devin McCourty forced it. Eric Moore recovered it.

Key plays: Tom Brady threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Gronkowski to give the Pats a 31-3 lead.

Second-guess: Fitzpatrick got a little greedy on his scramble down the sideline, which ended in a fumble. It was a second-down play. He should be a little quicker to slide.


FOURTH QUARTER / Got the T-shirt

Hail to the Patriots.

In the locker room after the game, the team handed out baseball caps and T-shirts that read 2010 AFC East champions to all the players and coaches.

It was the seventh division title for the Pats in the last eight seasons. It marked the 12th time in Robert Kraft's 17 years of ownership that the Patriots have made the playoffs.

"I don't know if the hat and T-shirt really mean anything, but we like to yell that we got a hat and T-shirt so we know we've accomplished something," said Pats guard Logan Mankins.

"Being able to come into the locker room and see that hat and T-shirt, that's just one of your goals," said Pats defensive tackle Vince Wilfork. "That's something to be proud of. All year we knew what we had in this locker room, we knew how special this team could be."

Snow kings: The Patriots are 12-0 in games played in snow under Bill Belichick. This was the third snow victory over Buffalo. The others were 35-7 in 2005 and 13-10 in 2000. In the last five games played in the snow, the Pats have outscored their opponents, 211-24.

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