The formula worked so well last week, it appears the Bills are trying it again.
They played a miserable first half against the Raiders last Sunday, falling behind 21-3 before rallying for a 38-35 victory. And today, they replicated that start against the Patriots, falling behind 21-0 in the first 25 minutes.
But they showed signs of life with an efficient 7-play, 96-yard drive late in the second quarter and closed the gap to 21-7 on an 11-yard touchdown from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Stevie Johnson.
Then an interception by Bryan Scott on the Bills' 10-yard with a minute left in the half stopped a Patriots drive that seemed destined to produce yet another touchdown. And Buffalo sliced the Pats' defense with a near-perfect two-minute offense, going 66 yards in 10 plays and getting a 42-yard field goal from Rian Lindell with three seconds left.
So the half ended with the Bills facing a smaller deficit -- 21-10 -- than they erased last week against Oakland.
No one would have guessed the game would be in question after the first quarter-and-a-half, which was completely dominated by New England.
The Patriots offense got a pair of Tom Brady touchdown passes -- one of 14 yards to Wes Welker and the other of one yard to upstate New York native Rob Gronkowski -- and the Patriots defense got a pair of drive-killing interceptions by Kyle Arrington as New England jumped out a 14-0 lead after one quarter.
They made it 21-0 with six minutes to go in the second quarter when Brady hit Gronkowski for another TD, this one of 26 yards. It was set up by a 21-yard Brady-to-Gronkowski completion on the play before.