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Season's beatings <br> Fitzpatrick's gift-giving wraps up blowout loss

The Buffalo Bills made almost as many turnovers Sunday as the New England Patriots have committed the entire season.

That's one measure of just how big the gap is between the Bills and their daddies -- aka the Evil Empire -- aka the Colossus of Foxborough -- aka Darth Belichick and Rapunzel Brady.

The Bills paved their own way to another drubbing by New England with seven turnovers -- four fumbles and three interceptions.

The result was a 34-3 rout, which gave the Patriots their seventh AFC East title in the last eight years. It also gave the Pats home-field advantage through the playoffs. It also extended the Pats' dominance over the Bills to 15 straight wins and 20 wins in the last 21 games.

Who's your daddies? You know the answer, Bills Nation. It's Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.

"I killed the team today by turning the ball over," said Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. "You can't do that on any day. When you play a team that is that good and that efficient on offense, it hurts you that much more."

"It was a bad effort," said Bills safety Donte Whitner. "We wanted to send the fans home with a great Christmas gift and we didn't do that. We actually were embarrassed, similar to [the] Minnesota [loss]."

The Patriots continued their assault on football's history books.

New England made no turnovers for the seventh straight game. The old NFL record was four straight games. What's more, the Pats scored more than 30 points for the seventh straight game. No other team ever has gone more than three straight games with both 30 or more points and no turnovers. The Patriots are poised to set the record for the fewest turnovers in a season. They have made just nine turnovers in 15 games. The NFL record for a 16-game season is 13. The fewest in any season was 12, and that happened in the strike-shortened, nine-game season of 1982.

Brady broke a 19-year-old NFL record by stretching his streak of pass attempts without an interception to 319.

"I'm glad I'm not throwing interceptions," Brady said. "I think our team has done a good job this year of not turning the ball over in general, and all of the guys who have handled it this year have done a good job taking care of it."

In typical Brady fashion, he then deflected the praise.

"I'm very fortunate, believe me, there have been plenty of plays where we could have coughed it up," Brady said. "It's a good trend for us to be on and hopefully it continues."

Brady did not come close to coughing up the ball against the Bills.

He completed 15 of 27 passes for 140 yards with three touchdowns. The Patriots rushed 41 times for 217 yards, and it wasn't a case of rolling up the stats at the end of the game. New England had 163 rushing yards in building a 24-3 lead at halftime.

The game went downhill fast for the Bills.

Buffalo drove 64 yards to a field goal to open the game but New England took the lead for good on a 29-yard run by Danny Woodhead.

The 5-foot-8 Woodhead cut back to the weak side off left tackle and had too much speed for the Bills' defenders. Pats lineman Matt Light blocked outside linebacker Paul Posluszny, and defensive end Chris Kelsay could not get over to his left quickly enough to catch the back.

"The thing that I can do better on that play," said Posluszny, "is I've got a lineman right on me. But if I get on him, if I don't false-step. As soon as I see that play, if I -- bam -- go run into the lineman, try to get some separation, then that way I can at least make the ball deviate a little bit, [even] if I don't make the tackle. I think I need to get on the block quicker. See the blocker, attack and then go."

The Bills' offense promptly turned the ball over. Fitzpatrick hit C.J. Spiller for a 41-yard pass play but then fumbled as he was trying to elude Pats rusher Gary Guyton. Pats linebacker Jerod Mayo recovered at the New England 20.

"We had a bootleg called, and the end didn't bite on it," Fitzpatrick said. "I dipped underneath the end and instead of making a 1-yard gain, I decided to flip it out to Corey [McIntyre]. But somebody hit me from behind. That is a play, just be smart, take a 1-yard gain and move on."

Less than five minutes later, the Pats were in the end zone. Brady hit Williamsville's Rob Gronkowski on an 8-yard scoring pass to make it 14-3.

After the Pats tacked on a field goal, the Bills turned it over again. Fitzpatrick double-pumped in the pocket and threw over the middle for rookie Naaman Roosevelt. But Roosevelt broke in the other direction and safety Patrick Chung made a diving interception.

"Miscommunication between us, and that is going to happen," Fitzpatrick said. "We will look at the film to see but I thought he was doing one thing and he did another."

Less than two minutes later, the Pats were in the end zone. Brady threw a 4-yard scoring pass to tight end Alge Crumpler to give New England a 24-3 lead.

Any thought of making the game respectable ended on the Bills' first drive of the third quarter. Fitzpatrick threw an out pass to the left for Stevie Johnson but safety Jarrad Page, dropping back into coverage, stepped in front of it. Three plays later it was 31-3.

"The first interception I had in the second half was a bad throw," Fitzpatrick said. "The decision was fine, I just had to put it 5 yards outside."

Fred Jackson had 81 yards rushing for the Bills but 50 of them came on the first drive.

"The first series we were out there they played nickel defense against our nickel offense," Bills coach Chan Gailey said. "And then when we went out there the second series with the same offense, they put all their big people out there. They basically were saying we're going to stop the run by putting those seven guys up in there. You've got to throw it to move the football. We couldn't throw it well enough, consistently, to move the football."

Gailey said he wasn't about to overreact to Fitzpatrick's worst game of the season.

"If somebody has done a bunch of good things, there's not any of us, you guys included, that haven't had a bad day and have done some things you regretted," Gailey said. "He did them today, and it all came together in one game."

What went wrong on Brady's TD throws?

"Well, pass rush would have helped a couple of those," Gailey said. "The guy stood back there forever and somebody finally came open. That's one thing you can do -- you can get better pass rush."

Pressuring Brady into mistakes is something the Bills rarely accomplish.

Brady has 33 touchdown passes and six interceptions against the Bills since the 2003 season finale, which was the game that started New England's winning streak over Buffalo.

e-mail: mgaughan@buffnews.com

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