For the longest time, there were nothing but field goals.
For three entire quarters, for 45-plus minutes of football, not a single team could find the end zone at New Era Field in Buffalo. Even the great Tom Brady, the best quarterback to ever play the game, couldn’t muster a way to get the Patriots across the goal line.
And even after James White finally scored the first touchdown of the game early in the fourth quarter, putting up nothing but field goals for that long isn’t going to help you cover the gambling spread when you are favored by 13.5 points.
Obviously, the Patriots themselves don’t actually care about covering the spread. But this was a big game for me; I needed the Pats to cover in order to remain at .500 for the week, as well as for the season. By the time the fourth quarter finally rolled around, I had pretty much given up all hope on that. I thought we were going to look back on this Monday night affair with the Bills and remember it as the “Endless Field Goals Game.”
All chances of New England coming back to cover the spread seemed hopeless — until Devin McCourty happened.
With just under six minutes to go in the game, McCourty intercepted Derek Anderson and returned it 84 yards for a pick six. Before McCourty’s defensive work of art, the Patriots had apparently gone 40 games without a defensive touchdown, which was the longest drought for such a thing in the NFL.
(That’s hard to believe, you know, with Bill Belichick being the great defensive coach that he is.)
With McCourty pulling off the play of the game, the Patriots stretched their lead from 12 points to 19 points, and they held on to take down the Bills 25-6. For those counting, it was Brady’s 29th career win against Buffalo. How is that for dominance?
And more importantly (just kidding), the Patriots covered the two-touchdown spread. A few days ago when I picked them to cover, I remember feeling a little uneasy about it because 13.5 points is quite a few points. I wrote that I would never be able to live with myself if I actually picked Derek Anderson over Brady and Belichick.
And boy, for over 50 minutes, I was actually regretting being so loyal to the greatest coach-quarterback duo in history. But then Devin McCourty came out of nowhere and cleared all of those doubts right up.