NFL news of October 29, 2002

Patriots coach Bill Belichick knew this day would come when he traded quarterback Drew Bledsoe to the Bills last April for Buffalo’s first-round draft pick in 2003.

He just didn’t anticipate going into Ralph Wilson Stadium on Nov. 3 riding a four-game losing skid after Sunday’s hideous 24-16 setback to the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium.

Bledsoe is the NFL’s second-most productive starting quarterback with a rating of 98.3, trailing only Green Bay’s Brett Favre. The revitalized Bills are 5-3 on Bledsoe’s watch, and his numbers over eight games are staggering.

Bledsoe has completed 203-of-318 passes (63.8 percent) for 2,500 yards and 16 touchdowns with five interceptions. That doesn’t bode well for a Patriots defense that was systematically picked apart on consecutive weeks by Miami’s Jay Fiedler, Favre and Denver’s Brian Griese. They also have been run over by Priest Holmes, LaDainian Tomlinson, Ricky Williams, Ahman Green and Clinton Portis.

“We have to focus on beating the Buffalo Bills. It doesn’t matter who their quarterback is,” Pats receiver Troy Brown said.

— Rich Thompson, The Boston Herald “Pats draw Drew”

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