ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - Tom Brady and the New England Patriots still own Buffalo no matter who's signing the Bills' checks.
Brady threw four touchdown passes, the last two to Brandon LaFell, in a 37-22 win Sunday that spoiled the Bills' first game under new owners Terry and Kim Pegula. Brady went 26 of 36 for 352 yards to become the NFL's fifth player with 60 300-yard games. He's two short of matching Brett Favre.
Brady also improved to 23-2 against AFC East rival Buffalo, and the Patriots won their sixth straight in the series.
LaFell scored on 17- and 56-yard passes less than six minutes apart in the fourth quarter. Tight ends Tim Wright and Brian Tyms also scored. The Patriots' defense forced three turnovers and New England never trailed.
The Patriots (4-2) took over first place in the division, moving ahead of the Bills (3-3), who failed to build on a come-from-behind 17-14 win at Detroit a week earlier.
Kyle Orton was inconsistent in his second start since taking over for EJ Manuel. The 10-year journeyman went 24 of 38 for 299 yards with touchdown passes to Robert Woods and Chris Hogan.
But Orton threw an interception and lost a fumble.
The loss put a huge damper on the buzz that had been generated all week in Buffalo.
The Pegulas' NFL-record $1.4 billion bid was approved by league owners Wednesday. On Friday, during his inaugural news conference as owner, Terry Pegula created a stir by emotionally discussing how important it was to him to preserve the Bills in western New York.
The script, however, fell apart against the Bills' longtime nemesis.
The Patriots took control on their drives before and after halftime. New England went up 13-7 on Stephen Gostkowski's 53-yard field goal to close the second quarter. Then the Patriots opened the third with the ball, and Brady efficiently capped a six-play, 80-yard drive with a 43-yard pass over the middle to Tyms, who outmuscled cornerback Stephon Gilmore and came down with the ball in the end zone.
Hogan's 8-yard touchdown catch and Woods' 2-point conversion pulled Buffalo within 30-22 with 5:58 remaining. But facing second-and-12 at his own 44, Brady hit LaFell up the right sideline for a touchdown to clinch the victory.
The Patriots capitalized on all three Buffalo turnovers in the second quarter. On the first play of the period, linebacker Jamie Collins undercut a route and picked off Orton. That led to Brady's 1-yard touchdown pass to Wright.
Gostkowski, who missed his first field-goal attempt from 36 yards, hit a 42-yarder that was set up by Orton's fumble on a sack by Chandler Jones.
Gostkowski's 53-yard kick came two plays after Devin McCourty forced and recovered running back C.J. Spiller's fumble at the Buffalo 42 at the end of a 15-yard gain.
The Patriots overcame injuries to several starters. Linebacker Jerod Mayo did not return after hurting his knee in the first half. Running back Stevan Ridley did not return after injuring his right knee in the third quarter.
The entire Pegula family took the field during a pregame ceremony introducing them as the Bills' new owners. Fans chanted "TERR-RRY! TERR-RRY!" as Pegula was handed the microphone at midfield.
Pegula made a brief statement to the fans. And he paid tribute to Ralph Wilson, his predecessor, who died in March.
"There aren't too many times in life where I'm happy with being second in anything," Pegula said. "But to follow Ralph Wilson, I'll accept that."