Monday's roundup: Unbeaten Pats make it 10 straight at Bills' expense
Foxborough, Mass. — Tom Brady called out Rex Ryan and then he beat the Bills — again.
After shouting the name of the Buffalo coach as an audible, Brady led New England to a 20-13 victory over the Bills on Monday night and kept the defending Super Bowl champions on course for their second perfect regular season in nine years.
Brady completed 20 of 39 passes for 277 yards, hitting James White for a 20-yard score that was the first touchdown of the running back's career. White added a 6-yard run in the third quarter to give New England (10-0) the lead for good.
Brady even took a dig at the Buffalo coach, lining up under center in the first quarter and shouting "Rex Ryan! Rex Ryan!" Asked if there was a message in it, Brady struggled to suppress a smile.
"We have a lot of unusual terms," Brady said. "I think we run the gamut. So we've got to get creative and think of different things. That one is pretty unique."
Ryan was less troubled about any personal slight than losing to his longtime nemesis for the 11th time in 15 games.
"He likes me, I know that," the coach said.
The game was filled with mistakes, penalties, injuries and turnovers — including two fumbles on a single punt, a rare missed field goal by New England's Stephen Gostkowski and an inadvertent whistle that led to one of many lengthy conferences among the officials.
"That's one of the craziest I've ever seen," said LeSean McCoy, who ran 20 times for 82 yards and a 27-yard touchdown and caught six passes for 41 yards to surpass 100 yards from scrimmage for the fourth straight game.
And the game ended on another apparent refereeing blunder, with Sammy Watkins crawling out of bounds untouched near midfield but the official inexplicably signaling for the clock to run.
New England remained unbeaten despite losing another key player: Danny Amendola, who took over as the Patriots' No. 1 receiver because of last week's injury to Julian Edelman, caught nine passes for 117 yards before leaving with a knee injury of his own in the third quarter.
"We were down to two healthy receivers," Brady said. "You get pretty limited in things you can do pretty quickly."
The Patriots lead the AFC East by five games with six to play.
"At the end of the day, they find ways to win," Ryan said. "That's what championship teams do. We're not at that level, but I promise you we'll get there."
Tyrod Taylor was 20 for 36 for 233 yards for the Bills (5-5), who snapped a two-game winning streak and lost to Brady for the 25th time in 28 games; Ryan was 4-9 against New England as the New York Jets coach before getting swept in his first season in Buffalo.
With the wind chill temperature at 21 degrees at kickoff, both teams struggled on offense. Stephon Gilmore picked Brady off — just the fourth interception of the year for the reigning Super Bowl MVP; another interception was negated by offsetting penalties.
The Patriots even failed to score in the fourth — the first time they were shut out in a quarter since the first one of the season.
In the third, both teams fumbled on the same punt.
Leodis McKelvin fielded a punt at his own but coughed up the ball 2 yards later. New England's Jonathan Freeny picked it and rumbled 5 yards before he lost the ball and it bounced out of bounds.
The Patriots took over at the Buffalo 30 and took a 20-10 lead on Gostkowski's 35-yard field goal.
Even the referees were sloppy.
Early in the third, Brady rolled toward the right sideline before throwing downfield to Amendola. As the receiver broke for the end zone, the play was whistled dead — apparently because the official thought Brady stepped out of bounds.
After a long discussion, the referee announced that there was an inadvertent whistle. The 14-yard reception counted, with a 15-yard penalty for interference from the Bills coaching staff.
The drive ended with an even more unusual error: Gostkowski's first miss in 51 weeks.
The Patriots managed just a field goal in the first, then went scoreless for 22 minutes, 16 seconds before Brady led a 33-second touchdown drive to make it 10-3 with 13 seconds left in the half.
Brady threw an out pass to White, who broke a tackle along the sideline to score from 20 yards out.
That prolonged New England's scoring streak, but it came to an end at 38 in a row when the Bills shut them out in the fourth.
And another streak was snapped, too.
Gostkowski hadn't missed a kick all season, a total of 22 field goals and 35 extra points before his attempt from 54 yards out in the third quarter sailed wide right. It was his first miss since Nov. 30, 2014, and his first miss at home since Week 2 of the 2013 season.
Osweiler to start again
Brock Osweiler is preparing for his second consecutive start for the Broncos and Peyton Manning is seeking a second opinion on his injured left foot.
Manning flew to Charlotte, North Carolina, on Monday to meet with renowned foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson about his torn plantar fascia.
This doesn't mean he had a setback in his rehab nor does it indicate Manning faces increased odds of a season-ending surgery, coach Gary Kubiak said.
"We shouldn't read anything into it," Kubiak said. "It was a decision made on Saturday. It's taking place today and then we know more (today)."
Kubiak told the team Monday Osweiler would start next weekend when the Broncos (8-2) face the Patriots (9-0), who hosted the Bills on Monday night.
Several of Manning's teammates said they didn't feel that his seeking a second opinion on his injured foot raised any red flags.
"I would do the same thing," tight end Owen Daniels said. "If I had a foot issue, I would want to go see the best in the world, as well, just to make sure you're getting the right opinion. As an athlete, you respect what the team doctors have to say and what the trainers have to say, but you've got to do your due diligence.
"I'm not any more concerned than I was before," Daniels said. "I just want him to get healthy and do whatever he can to do that."
Manning stayed back in Denver when the Broncos beat the Bears 17-15 in Chicago.
Brian Hoyer (Michigan State) is done with the Texans' concussion protocol and will start at quarterback on Sunday against the Saints.
... Darrelle Revis' concussion symptoms have not improved a day after injuring his head against the Texans, leaving the Jets cornerback's availability for Miami on Sunday in doubt.
Center Nick Mangold is also uncertain after needing six or seven stitches to close a deep cut on his right hand.
The Jets also waived outside linebacker Quinton Coples, the team's first-round pick in 2012.
... The Bears waived quarterback Jimmy Clausen and elevated David Fales from the practice squad to back up Jay Cutler.
... Colts left tackle Anthony Castonzo has sprained the MCL in his right knee and is listed as week to week.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan has set a March date for oral arguments in the NFL's appeal of a ruling lifting Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's four-game suspension in the "Deflategate" controversy.
The date ensures no ruling will occur until well after the end of this season.