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Pro Football Week 11 | BUFFALO 13, NEW ENGLAND 10

Flutie Breaks Out, Helps Bills Stay in Playoff Hunt

November 16, 1998|From Associated Press

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — After being bottled up by the New York Jets last week, Doug Flutie broke loose and jump-started Buffalo's running game. At the same time, he revved up their playoff hopes in a 13-10 victory over the New England Patriots on Sunday.

Flutie threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jay Riemersma with 1:57 left in the third quarter for what proved to be the deciding score. The play also ended the Bills' drought of nearly seven quarters without a touchdown, during which Steve Christie kicked nine field goals.

Flutie, facing the Patriots for the first time since they released him after the 1989 season, ran for 49 yards in 11 carries--getting first downs twice on scrambles early in the game. He was 14 for 26 passing for 178 yards and two interceptions.

The Bills rushed for 213 yards, two short of their season high against the St. Louis Rams. Antowain Smith had 88 yards in 24 carries and Thurman Thomas, whose season high had been 42 yards, had 76 in 11 carries.

The Bills (6-4) are tied for second place with the Jets in the AFC East, one game behind Miami. The Patriots (5-5) have lost four of their last five.

"This team isn't going in the tank," said Patriots Coach Pete Carroll, who had won all four of his previous games against the Bills. "We had a chance to win."

The Bills, however were giddy about their prospects.

"This was a huge win for us," Bill fullback and ex-Patriot Sam Gash said. "We pounded the ball. We won the time of possession [37:17] and most of all we won the game."

The Patriots pulled within 13-10 on a 37-yard touchdown pass from Drew Bledsoe to Tony Simmons with 13:11 to play. Buffalo then used 14 plays to get to the New England four, but Flutie's pass was intercepted in the end zone by Lawyer Milloy with 4:41 left.

A pass interference call put the Patriots at the Buffalo 34 with less than two minutes left. But Drew Bledsoe had three incomplete passes and was sacked by Bruce Smith, his second on the final drive.

"He makes a lot of plays at the end of the ballgame, because he's got something in his heart that most players don't have," Bill Coach Wade Phillips said of Smith.

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