Week 13: Bills Pull Out Improbable 17-16 Win
Lindell's fifth field goal wins it with :04 left.
by Steve Saslow
The Bills were able to get behind the right leg of Rian Lindell to come from behind to gain an improbable 17-16 win over the emotionally charged Washington Redskins. It was an emotional day and the Redskins led 16-5 in the third quarter before the Bills mounted a very slow, very methodical come back to gain the victory. Game ending bizarre field goals have become the norm in Bills games this year, this time it went in their favor. Lindell initially hit from 51 yards out but the Redskins used a timeout as the snap was happening. As Lindell lined up to kick it again the Redskins tried to call a 2nd timeout which isn't allowed. They were given a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and Lindell hit the shorter kick for his team record tying 17th straight field goal.
The offense struggled most of the way as they got near the red zone they were forced to settle for five Lindell kicks on the day and a safety on defense for their unorthodox 17 points. They refused to stay with the running game that was impressive averaging eight yards a carry in the first half. Little used Fred Jackson had a great performance, he ran well but not often. He did well in the passing game as well, his huge 54 yard reception hasn't been seen by a Bills running back in a long time and setup one of the three 4th quarter field goals. They seemed focused on the pass and Trent Edwards struggled early but led the team to the game winning drive in the final :56 with no timeouts left. The big play was a 30 yard pass over the middle to Josh Reed to setup the winning kick.
The defense really tightened in the second half after the Redskins went up and down the field in the first half. They had three long drives but the red zone was the only place the Bills held strong early on. The Redskins converted third down after third down until they got close but not in the end zone. Three of their four first half possessions were long field goal drives of 14, 13, and 13 plays. The only stop the Bills had got them two points. Angelo Crowell sacked Jason Campbell in the end zone for a safety to make it 6-2 in the 2nd quarter.
Lindell hit his first field goal on the Bills opening drive of the 2nd half but the Redskins responded with the only touchdown drive of the game by either team. Clinton Portis ran it in from three yards out to give the Redskins their biggest lead of the game. It was all Bills after that despite their inability to get the ball in the end zone. They would pick at the Redskins the rest of the way on offense while the defense just shut the door tight. Washington failed to score another point and have two giveaways that led to Bills' field goals on successive possessions to pull the Bills back in the game at 16-11.
The defense stopped taking the ball away in the fourth quarter but did keep the Redskins out of the scoring zone. The Bills pulled within 16-14 on Lindell's fourth field goal on a nice drive that was highlighted by Jackson's catch and run. The Bills would punt on a three and out on their next possession. The defense would give up a first down but stopped the Redskins on the next set of downs setting up the winning drive by Edwards that started at the Bills 22 with :56 left and no timeouts and ended with that great leg of Lindell once again.
It was an emotional game with everyone's hearts a bit heavy with the death of Sean Taylor. Everyone wondered how the Redskins would play. They were inspired but emotions didn't really come onto the field as it was a hard fought effort by two mediocre teams with the Bills doing enough in the end to barely pull it out. They young offensive tandem of Edwards and Jackson did a beautiful job in between the 20s and I'll give Edwards props for the bomb to Reed to setup the winning kick but this offense needs to do a hell of a lot more going forward. The defense was scary in the first half but scary good after the Redskins touchdown. The Bills remain on the fringe of the playoff picture at 6-6 with winless Miami coming to town next week. A nice win aside, they aren't really a playoff team the way they are playing now but it's nice to be playing games that may mean something in December even if it's a long shot.
Here are our exclusive gameballs and goats from the Bills game against the Redskins:Gameballs