Niagara Gazette

Sports

December 29, 2013

Bills close season at NE

Niagara Gazette — FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Another year, another playoff berth for the New England Patriots. For the Buffalo Bills, the postseason drought continues.

With their fifth straight AFC East title already achieved, the Patriots (11-4) can clinch a first-round bye Sunday. The Bills are simply ending their 14th straight season, the NFL’s longest current streak, without reaching the playoffs.

But under first-year coach Doug Marrone, Buffalo (6-9) has a solid defense and a chance to finish with three straight victories by beating New England.

“We just lost some heartbreaking games,” running back C.J. Spiller said. “We just have to find a way to be able to get over that edge and we will. We’ve got a great leadership group. We’ve got a lot of great guys coming back in the near future. We’re definitely going to get over that hump and make the Bills fans happy.”

The Bills lost the season opener to the Patriots 23-21 on Stephen Gostkowski’s field goal with 5 seconds left. They dropped overtime games to Cincinnati and Atlanta. And they’ve used three quarterbacks because of knee injuries to rookie EJ Manuel, who was limited in practice this week.

But a victory would make them the only AFC East team with a winning record in division games.

“That would be important for what we want to be able to build on,” Marrone said. “Really (we’re) just trying to change things.”

Change has been a constant for the Patriots in an injury-filled season with five key starters — defensive tackles Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly, linebacker Jerod Mayo, tight end Rob Gronkowski and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer — on injured reserve. But as long as Bill Belichick is the coach and Tom Brady is the quarterback, their divisional dominance is likely to continue.

The Patriots want more, starting with their eighth bye in Belichick’s 14 seasons as their coach. They also would drop into a wild-card game if they end up seeded third or fourth.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page