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The Patriots’ lead was cut to 34-31 with 7:47 to go.
But the New England offense, oft-maligned for failing to close out games, engaged in a 14-play, 59-yard drive that took 5 minutes 41 seconds off the clock. It ended with Stephen Gostkowski’s third field goal of the day, which gave the Patriots a 37-31 lead with 2:06 to go.
The Patriots’ defense, and the gravitational pull of losing that weighs down the Bills’ franchise, took care of the rest.
“Devin made a big play,” said Wilfork. “Situational, we played very well. But it’s in between situations. We’ve got to just put it together for 60 minutes, just be consistent with it. If we do that, we’ll be OK, but I’m never disappointed in a win. I don’t care how we get it because that’s what this game is all about, winning and losing.”
If the 2012 Patriots had a slogan it would be “The win justifies the means.”
But it doesn’t justify our trust, not yet.