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Bills continue to stumble toward the finish line

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The last the Patriots saw of the Bills, the Buffalo players were strutting off the field in jubilation, celebrating a 31-0 season-opening rout that appeared to signal that one of these teams was headed toward the heights while the other was down and out.


Talk about mixed signals.

The Patriots, after being rocked at the starting gate, have rolled to a 13-2 record, while the Bills have stumbled and bumbled all the way to 6-9. Buffalo's lifeless season will be put to rest Saturday at Gillette Stadium.

Yesterday, it appeared as though the Bills already were finished, as their lackluster effort resulted in a 20-3 loss to Miami. Despite the win, the Dolphins are out of the playoff chase as well because of last night's Denver triumph at Indianapolis.

It was another tough game in a season of tough games for Drew Bledsoe. The former Patriots quarterback was sacked six times, and he threw a third-quarter interception that Terrell Buckley -- another former Patriot -- returned 74 yards for a touchdown.

Bledsoe was 12 of 24 for 114 yards, the eighth time this season he's failed to break 200. That's a big drop from last year, when Bledsoe set 10 franchise passing records in his first season with the Bills. "Right now I'm so mad," he said. "I didn't see the season going this way."

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afc east standings
  W L T Pct. PF PA
Patriots 13 2 0 .867 317 238
Dolphins 9 6 0 .600 288 240
Bills 6 9 0 .400 243 248
Jets 6 9 0 .400 262 276
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