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Patriots hold on to beat wasteful Buccaneers
October 6, 2017 / 5:01 AM / 2 months ago

Patriots hold on to beat wasteful Buccaneers

(The Sports Xchange) - The New England Patriots recaptured their winning defensive formula early in Thursday’s game, then held on to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 19-14 as the home side were hampered by three missed field-goal attempts by kicker Nick Folk.

Oct 5, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New England Patriots outside linebacker Cassius Marsh (55) and middle linebacker Elandon Roberts (52) and defensive end Trey Flowers (top left) combine to sack Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) during the second quarter of an football game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

New England (3-2), which allowed an NFL-high average of 456.8 yards in its first four games, stifled the Bucs (2-2) through three quarters at Raymond James Stadium.

Tampa Bay rallied within striking distance on Jameis Winston’s red-hot fourth quarter, including an 18-yard touchdown pass to tight end Cameron Brate with 2:09 remaining.

The Bucs failed on their onside kick, however, and New England drove for a cushion score on Stephen Gostkowski’s 48-yard field goal -- his fourth of the game -- with 1:10 to play.

Tampa Bay had a final opportunity, driving to the Patriots 19-yard line with three seconds remaining before Winston threw an incompletion near the goal line on the game’s last play.

Folk’s struggles continued as he missed a 31-yard attempt with 5:36 remaining that would have trimmed the deficit to 16-10. He also failed to convert from 56 and 49 yards and has made only one field goal in his last six attempts.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady completed 30-of-40 passes for 303 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The Patriots also got field goals of 27, 23 and 45 yards from Gostkowski.

Oct 5, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New England Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers (98) pressures Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Winston completed 26-of-46 passes for 334 yards but went 14-of-21 for 225 yards in the fourth quarter alone.

New England committed 12 penalties for 108 yards but the Bucs had the game’s costliest misdemeanor.

Trailing 16-7 with third-and-goal from the Patriots three-yard line, Winston scored on a scramble but the play was negated by an illegal-use-of-hands penalty on offensive lineman Evan Smith.

Slideshow (5 Images)

Winston threw an incompletion from the 13, and Tampa Bay opted for Folk, who was wide left on his 31-yard attempt.

Utilising a pair of long scoring drives, New England led 13-7 at halftime.

The Patriots opened the scoring on Gostkowski’s 27-yard field goal, capping a 13-play, 89-yard drive, which began at their two-yard line after a 45-yard punt from the Bucs’ Bryan Anger.

Tampa Bay took a 7-3 lead with 8:26 remaining in the half, getting a one-yard touchdown run from Doug Martin, back in action after serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.

The Patriots regained their advantage 10-7 on Brady’s five-yard pass to Chris Hogan that completed a nine-play, 75-yard march. Gostkowski then tacked on a 23-yard field goal with 40 seconds remaining in the half.

Editing by John O'Brien

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