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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Fumbled away

   September 14, 2009 -- We knew right away that this game was going to be memorable. Then again, so is root canal surgery.

   The Bills figured to be in for a tough night when they opened the 2009 season with the New England Patriots ... on the road. It was a Monday night game, with a national television audience watching. Still, the Bills had a 24-13 lead with less than six minutes to play. Bills' fans had time enough to dream a bit about the finish and the season to come.

   Then, the roof fell in. New England pulled to within 24-19 with a little more than two minutes left. On the ensuing kickoff, Leotis McKelvin fumbled the ball. The Patriots recovered, Tom Brady hit Ben Watson with a touchdown pass a little more than aminute later, and the Bills were instant losers, 25-24. It was Buffalo's 12th straight loss to the Patriots.

    "It tears my heart out for them," Bills coach Dick Jauron said. "You've got to finish. You've got to finish games, particularly against a team as talented as New England. ... It's just an awful feeling in that locker room."

   McKelvin was criticized for carrying the ball out of the end zone on the kickoff, instead of simply downing it.

   "I chose to bring it out because that's me," McKelvin said. "If I had another chance 100 times, I would probably do the same thing. The only thing I've got to do is hold on to the ball."

--- Budd Bailey

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About Sports, Ink

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has served in a variety of roles in Buffalo sports in the past 35 years, including reporter, talk-show host, baseball announcer, public relations staffer and author. He covers the Bandits and running for The News when not working as an editor.

@WDX2BB | bbailey@buffnews.com

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