Danny Woodhead swerves around Buffalo safety Da’Norris Searcy during first-half action of Sunday’s game in Foxborough, won by the Patriots 37-31.
By Mike Lowe
FOXBOROUGH - Danny Woodhead doesn't care about how many carries he gets or how many plays he has in a game.
"You know, whatever the coaches ask me to do, I'm going to do," he said. "If it's blocking, if it's playing special teams, if it's running or catching, I'm a football player and that's what I try to be -- a football player. I try to do whatever I'm supposed to do on a particular play to the best of my abilities."
Well, Woodhead did more than his share Sunday afternoon, getting the first two-touchdown game of his career in the New England Patriots 37-31 victory over the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium.
Woodhead scored on a 15-yard run through a gaping hole in the second quarter, then took a pass from Tom Brady and turned it into an 18-yard touchdown in the third.
"It's a pretty good day because we got the W," he said. "That's really the only thing that matters. Two touchdowns, whatever, that's not the most concern. It's getting the win and we got the win."
Woodhead gave the offensive line complete credit on his run. He took a hand-off and squeezed between Nick Solder and Logan Mankins and suddenly bolted into a wide-open secondary.
On the touchdown pass, Tom Brady was forced to scramble to his right and hit Woodhead with a pass at about the 12. He turned upfield and raced in for the score.
"Danny's a versatile player," said Coach Bill Belichick. "He does a lot of things well. He's got a good skill set, he's smart, he works hard, always trying to improve and he does what we ask him to do, so he's got a lot going for him."
Woodhead's size, or lack of it (he's listed at 5-foot-8), is also apparently a plus, at least according to Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty.
"He's tough," said McCourty. "And the biggest thing is, like, it's hard to see him. I make fun of him all the time for his height, but he uses it to his advantage a lot. Whenever we're on the bench and we see Woody with the ball in his hands, we know he has a chance to make a big play."
NICE TOUCHES by the Patriots organization all day long. In recognition of Veterans Day, the teams honored all branches of the military and Coast Guard in a pregame ceremony that included a giant American flag held by players from both teams and the military.
The national anthem was performed by the 215th Army Band's Voices of Freedom, followed by a flyover from the 439 Airlift Wing in Westover, Mass.
Throughout the game, video messages from military members serving overseas were played on the video boards. And service men or women in the stands were asked to stand and be recognized.
The Patriots also unveiled on Friday a permanently unoccupied black seat in the south end of the stadium that is dedicated to the MIA/POWs still unaccounted for.
Then at the half, the Patriots honored retired running back Kevin Faulk for his 13-year career that included three Super Bowl championships.
"He's a champion," said owner Bob Kraft.
Faulk thanked the fans for their support. "My first few years my goal was to help my family," he said. "I did that. And during my time here, I gained another family, that of New England Patriots Nation."
THE PATRIOTS lost both starting guards in the game: right guard Dan Connolly left with a back injury, left guard Logan Mankins with an ankle injury (and he was seen leaving Gillette Stadium with a plastic boot on his left foot).
Donald Thomas came in on the right and Nick McDonald on the left and did a nice job.
"We were kind of fortunate," said Belichick. "Most of the time we only carry seven offensive linemen and we happened to have eight today. ... You just never known when the bell's going to ring and both Nick and Donald answered it."
TOM BRADY is now 20-2 against the Bills in his career. The losses? Sept. 7, 2003, the 31-0 debacle in Buffalo, and Sept. 25, 2011, 34-31, also at Buffalo.
He also extended his streak of throwing at least one touchdown pass in a game to 41, third-best in NFL history.
DYLAN HAPWORTH of Winslow was the winner of the 14-15 boys division of the Punt, Pass and Kick competition and was honored during the game.
Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: