ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Rex Burkhead scored twice and the New England Patriots won their eighth straight by beating the Buffalo Bills 23-3 on Sunday, continuing their dominance over their AFC East rival.

Tom Brady was 21 of 30 for 258 yards and an interception while improving to 27-3 over Buffalo and breaking Brett Favre’s NFL record for most wins by a quarterback against one opponent. Favre had 26 wins over Detroit.

Brady needed to simply stand aside and let the Patriots’ rejuvenated rushing attack wear down the Bills in a game New England never trailed. Dion Lewis had 92 yards rushing and Burkhead finished with 78.

It was a bad day all around for the Bills (6-6), who lost starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor because of a left knee injury. It’s unclear when Taylor was hurt, though he began favoring his left leg after being sacked by David Harris on Buffalo’s first play from scrimmage. He stayed in the game until the opening minute of the fourth quarter.

The Bills also were irate about a late hit in the fourth quarter by Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who drove his shoulder into the back of cornerback Tre’Davious White’s head while the rookie was already on the ground after an interception.

White was being evaluated for a concussion after the game.

“That’s just dirty football. There’s nowhere in our game for that,” Bills safety Micah Hyde said. “I don’t know if it was a shoulder, elbow, I’m not sure what it was. That was dirty.”

Gronkowski was remorseful following the game.

“I’m not in the business of that. It was a lot of frustration,” he said. “I just want to apologize to Tre’Davious White. I don’t really believe in those type of shots.”

The Patriots built a 9-3 lead on Stephen Gostkowski’s three field goals in the first half, including a 50-yarder. Burkhead then took over in the second half, capping New England’s first two drives with 1- and 14-yard touchdown runs.

New England (10-2) won its 14th consecutive road game – the second-longest streak in NFL history – and reached double-digits in victories for the 15th consecutive season. New England also improved to 30-5 against Buffalo since Patriots Coach Bill Belichick was hired in 2000.

After Taylor left the game, Nathan Peterman took over and oversaw a 13-play, 73-yard drive that stalled at the Patriots 1. The drive ended on fourth-and-goal when Peterman’s fade pass intended for Zay Jones was batted away by cornerback Stephon Gilmore. Gilmore spent his first five seasons in Buffalo before signing with the Patriots in free agency this past offseason.

Peterman finished 6 of 15 for 50 yards in his first appearance since throwing five interceptions in the first half of a 54-24 loss at the Los Angeles Chargers on Nov. 19.

The Bills’ offensive inconsistencies were once again apparent, which was a reason Coach Sean McDermott took what he called a “calculated risk” to bench Taylor in favor of Peterman in the first place.

Taylor finished 9 of 18 for 65 yards and a costly interception. It happened on Buffalo’s opening possession, with the Bills facing first-and-goal at the 6. Taylor double-pumped in the pocket before throwing a pass directly to linebacker Eric Lee at the goal line.

The Bills managed four first downs and 102 yards over their next six possessions before Taylor left the game.

Taylor’s status is uncertain. He would only nod “yes” when asked by The Associated Press if he was all right while limping heavily on his left knee as he boarded a cart and was driven out of the stadium.

“He was in pain. You could see it on his face, the expressions he was making,” running back LeSean McCoy said. “It shows you a true warrior.”

McDermott provided no update except to say Taylor was being evaluated.

Burkhead’s first touchdown capped a methodical 10-play, 70-yard drive. After Burkhead was stopped attempting to dive right on first-and-goal from the 1, he scored by diving to the left to put the Patriots up 16-3.


The Bills introduced some trickery in a bid to spark their offense by using third-string quarterback Joe Webb in several wildcat formations.

Webb had three rushes for 27 yards, including a 22-yarder up the middle to open Buffalo’s fourth possession. Five snaps later, facing second-and-10 from New England’s’ 37, Webb slightly overthrew Travaris Cadet, who was open deep over the middle.


Late in the first quarter, after the Patriots finished a 14-play drive that ended with a 50-yard field goal by Gostkowski, CBS cameras caught Brady and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels in a heated discussion on the sideline.

“It’s just football,” Brady said. “We’ve been around each other a lot. I love Josh.”

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