Well folks, the Buffalo Bills are still fighting hard. After the loss to Cleveland at home which lead many people to call for Dick Jauronís job and a billboard going up asking for his ouster, this team has shown resiliency and bounced back with 2 road wins. The Bills went down to Carolina and caused 4 turnovers, on route to a 20-9 win.
The Bills started the game strong defensively on a quick 3 and out, forcing Carolina to punt. The question all Bills fans would be interested in this game was how Ryan Fitzpatrick was going to do. On his first pass he went down the middle to Terrell Owens but the ball was high and went through his hands. The Bills were showing early in the game that they wanted to go downfield. They were forced to punt after a Fitzpatrick 5 yard run that fell short of the first down marker. Carolina started the next drive from their own sixteen yard line, and moved the ball to midfield before the drive stalled. Dante Rosario was tackled short of the first down after a 5 yard catch from Jake Delhomme.
On the next drive the Bills were forced to punt again but Brian Moorman pinned the Panthers insider their own 20 yard line. Delhomme threw a first down pass down the middle which was intercepted by Jairus Byrd, and returned 37 yards to the Panthers 7 yard line. Two plays later, the Bills struck first as Marshawn Lynch ran it in from 7 yards out to put Buffalo up 7-0. Carolina responded on the next drive with Delhomme hitting Steve Smith for a 10 yard gain on second down, and John Fox utilized DeAngelo Williams on a couple of running plays that went for 9 and 7 yards. The Panthers drove the Bills 40 yard line, and Delhomme completed a critical 2nd down and 15 pass to Williams for 12 yards. After that play Williams ran for a two yard gain to take the ball to the Bills 26 yard line. John Kasay ended up missing the field goal from 43 yards out to keep the score at 7-0.
On the next drive, Alex Van Pelt called a deep pass which was under thrown by Fitzpatrick and Owens could not make a play on it. Owens was open for a potential touchdown on this play. After the next Panthers possession, the Bills got the ball back inside their own five yard line. The Bills called a running play to Fred Jackson, which was completely stopped by Hollis Thomas, resulting in a safety. On this play the right side of the offensive line completely broke down. Carolina would get one more scoring chance, as John Kasay missed a 39 yard field goal attempt to keep the score at 7-2.
Jackson started the second half with a big 33 yard kickoff return to the Bills 38 yard line. After the Bills got the ball to midfield, Fitzpatrick threw two incompletions to Owens and was sacked on third down which forced a Bills punt. A key play for the Bills defense came with about six minutes left in the third when Carolina drove the ball down to the Bills 15 yard line but on 4th and 1, Carolina did not convert as a Jonathan Stewart run was stopped for a 2 yard loss by Chris Draft and Paul Posluszny. The defensive got the push up the middle, and there was nowhere for Stewart to run. After the Bills next possession resulted in a punt, Delhomme threw his second interception of the game to Byrd which was returned the Carolina 27 yard line. Fitzpatrick connected with Lee Evans for 14 yards to get the Bills to the Carolina 13 yard line. Three plays later, Fitzpatrick threw a bullet on a slant pattern to Evans for the touchdown to put the Bills up 14-2. After Carolina was forced to punt, Fitzpatrick threw a 50 yard pass to Evans to set up a 29 yard field goal by Rian Lindell. The Bills were up 17-2, but the Panthers would come back on a 4th and 4 play with the game on the line, Smith broke loose on a deep pass down the middle for 48 yards, Byrd made the touchdown saving tackle. Three plays later, Williams ran the ball in for a touchdown breaking two tackles on a 4th down inside draw to cut the Bills lead 17-9.
The Bills faced a critical third down and two with six minutes left, and called a reverse to Owens which was stopped a yard short, and the punting unit came on. Moorman punted the ball away to Kenneth Moore who fumbled the ball, and the Bills recovered it to set up another Lindell field goal to go up 20-9. Delhomme got one more opportunity, and got intercepted by George Wilson to ice the game.
The Bills came up with a huge 20-9 road win, and look to get back into the playoff race with a challenging game against Matt Schaub and the Houston Texans at Ralph Wilson Stadium this Sunday.
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