ORCHARD PARK, N.Y., NOV. 18 -- Big plays have been a big thing in making this a big season for the Buffalo Bills. Today they got only a couple but that's all they needed.
They produced a 14-0 victory for the Bills, 9-1 and winners of eight straight, over New England, loser of eight straight and, at 1-9, holder of the NFL's worst record.
Rookie James Williams's interception of Marc Wilson's pass in the final two minutes was followed by Thurman Thomas's 80-yard touchdown run as the Bills posted their second shutout in three games.
"I don't think we had quite the big-play strike we had in the past," said Bills Coach Marv Levy. "It was one thing we didn't do until the end of the game."
Actually, there was one big play in the second quarter with a 7-0 lead in jeopardy. The Patriots had first and goal from the 1. Presently, it was fourth and goal from the 1, and they went for it.
New England sent Marvin Allen, who had run effectively in the early going, off the right side of his line. Linebacker Ray Bentley shot through and stopped him for a yard loss.
"About four guys hit me and I shed them all and got in there," Bentley said with a laugh. "Actually, the guard pulled out of there and I just went in where he left and came through untouched."
The stand seemed to inspire the Buffalo defense, staunch until New England's next-to-last drive.
Still trailing 7-0, the Patriots got the ball with 4:05 left. Wilson moved them to the Buffalo 38 before Williams stepped in front of an underthrown ball intended for Irving Fryar in the end zone.
"I had a feeling they were going to try and go toward me because I was a rookie out there," said Williams, a first-round draft choice who was starting for injured Kirby Jackson.
Buffalo got the ball on its 20 and the Patriots let Thomas slice through the line on the next play. Thomas, who would finish with 165 yards on 22 carries, cut toward the sideline and sprinted past Maurice Hurst for his second touchdown of the day.
"We were basically just trying to get a first down," Thomas said. "The offensive line came off the ball well. Usually that play doesn't cut back all the way to the right, but the hole was so big I just had to do it."
And so the suffering continues for the Patriots, blanked for the first time since Nov. 20, 1983.
"We just got bad breaks. It's not falling our way," said running back George Adams. "We took the field like we were 8-1, not 1-8. We know what we can do; it's just a matter of time."