Steve Grogan, playing quarterback for the first time in more than a year, threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Irving Fryar in the third quarter to spark the New England Patriots to a 14-3 NFL victory over the winless Buffalo Bills today.
Grogan, who replaced injured and ineffective Tony Eason late in the second period, completed 15 of 19 passes for 282 yards. It was his first game at quarterback since Sept. 16, 1984, when Eason won the job from him.
"Without a doubt, the performance of Steve Grogan was the thing that turned us around," said Patriots Coach Raymond Berry. "He came into a tough situation and really lifted the football team."
Grogan and Fryar teamed up for the game's only offensive touchdown on an 80-yard drive on the first series of the second half.
The Patriots (3-3) sealed the victory and sent Buffalo to its sixth loss of the season when Raymond Clayborn returned an interception of a Vince Ferragamo pass 27 yards for a touchdown midway through the fourth period.
Buffalo, which has lost 22 of its last 24 games, led by 3-0 at halftime on a 47-yard field goal by Scott Norwood with 6:39 left in the second quarter. Charles Romes had intercepted Eason's pass to give the Bills the ball at the New England 23-yard line.
Eason suffered a separated left shoulder after being sacked on three consecutive plays midway through the second period. He is to be examined Monday.