American football: Immediate cash return for Patriots

American football

Drew Bledsoe celebrated a $42m (pounds 26m) day at the negotiating table by steering the New England Patriots to a 27-14 victory over their AFC East rivals, the Buffalo Bills.

Bledsoe, who signed a seven-year contract earlier in the day, completed 23 of 40 passes for 262 yards as the slow-starting Patriots won their first Monday night game in eight years and halted a five-game losing streak. Bledsoe, who was the last NFL starting quarterback to throw a touchdown pass this season - it took him five games - threw one of five yards to Vincent Brisby.

The Bills (5-2), who had won five in a row, remain in first place in the AFC East but the Patriots (2-5) who were the NFL's lowest scoring team renewed their play-off hopes against a team that began the weekend with the NFL's top-rated defense.

Missing from the Bills sideline was Marv Levy, their head coach, who missed his first game in 45 years of coaching. Levy was at home recovering from surgery for prostate cancer. Elijah Pitts, the running backs coach, ran the team with a game plan drawn by Levy.

Bledsoe's passing opened up the rushing attack for New England and Dave Meggett and the rookie running back Curtis Martin took advantage.

Martin rushed 36 times for 127 yards, including a 20-yard run for a touchdown that opened the game's scoring in the first quarter. Meggett added a three- yard touchdown run in the second quarter for the Pats.

"When he's throwing like that, it's going to open up the running game," said Martin of his quarterback.

Martin said that the rare Monday night appearance for New England also helped to fire up the team. "It was definitely a motivating tool for me," Martin said. "I always watched Monday Night Football as a kid growing up. It was exciting for me."

Meggett's touchdown gave the Pats a 21-6 lead with 2min 22sec left in the half but Jim Kelly, the Bills quarterback, led Buffalo down the field in a hurry on a drive capped by a 45-yard touchdown strike to Bill Brooks. Kelly found Carwell Gardner in the end zone for a two-point conversion, the Bills' first successful conversion since the two-point rule was introduced last season, that made it 21-14.

Matt Bahr kicked a pair of field goals in the second half to provide a cushion against the Bills, who lost their starting running back, Thurman Thomas, to a hamstring injury in the first quarter but his two catches set a team record with receptions in 43 consecutive games.

The Patriots recovered three fumbles and had four sacks against a team that had lost just three fumbles and been sacked seven times all season.

Thomas' fumble on his first carry led to Martin's touchdown. His replacement, rookie Darick Holmes, lost a fumble on the first play of the second half and Matt Bahr followed with a 39-yard field goal for a 24-14 lead.

A former NFL executive pleaded guilty on Monday to participating in a scheme to defraud the league of $350,000. (pounds 222,000). Brian Hughes admitted to one count of mail fraud in connection with submitting fraudulent invoices for goods the NFL never received.

Michael Ornstein, another former NFL executive, pleaded guilty to similar charges last week. Hughes and Ornstein face up to five years in prison and $250,000 (pounds 158,000) in fines under the teams of their plea agreements.

According to federal prosecutors, Hughes, who was the NFL's vice president of corporate sponsorship, conspired to defraud the league with Ornstein, who was the senior director of club marketing, and Richard Schulman, who owns four Los Angeles companies that sell promotional items to corporations.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Intervention Teacher Required To Start ASAP.

£125 - £150 per day + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: A 'wonderful primary ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Maths Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Our client is an 11-16 mixed commun...

Recruitment Genius: PHP / Drupal / SaaS Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...

Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough, Cam...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy