Week 7: Bills Power Past Chargers 23-14
Bills pull out big conference win in power-less Ralph.
by Steve Saslow
It was a weird day at Ralph Wilson Stadium as power problems caused issues on and off the field all day. Fans watching on TV missed a good portion of the game. Fans listening to the game on the radio heard it like it was an old time high school game through a cell phone feed. Fans in the stadium saw the whole game but had to deal with concession stands and bathrooms without any power. Through it all the Bills and Chargers played old school and the Bills came away with an old school 23-14 win to go to 5-1 and hold on to sole possession of first place in the AFC East.
The power first went out at around 12:30 and came back just before kickoff. The Chargers were forced to punt on the opening possession and that is when the game was delayed for a scheduled power failure. Rian Lindell would hit a field goal on the Bills first possession to give them a 3-0 lead.
The Chargers drove right down the field afterwards on an 11 play drive to a 14 yard touchdown pass from Phillip Rivers to Malcolm Floyd. The Chargers moved the ball through the air fairly well with the Bills missing Terrence McGee and for most of the game Ashton Youboty. The defense would stiffen for most of the game however and only allowed one other touchdown in the third quarter.
The Bills tried to pull within one but Lindell missed a 52 yard field goal just to the right. The Bills would get the lead back however after a Rivers fumble was recovered by Marcus Stroud and setup a seven play 38 yard drive to a great two yard touchdown reception by Lee Evans. A late field goal gave the Bills a 13-7 halftime lead.
Trent Edwards showed no ill effects of his concussion as he was very accurate throughout the game and had plenty of time to throw to get the offense moving. The pass to Evans was the first of only two touchdowns by the Bills but the three field goals by Lindell were the difference in the final score.
After the Chargers re-took the lead on a second Rivers touchdown pass the Bills responded with a 78 yard drive that ended in a Marshawn Lynch nine yard touchdown run to regain the six point lead. The Bills worked hard on the run blocking schemes over the bye but Lynch still found running very tough with the touchdown being a rare exception. He finished with a 3.7 yard average and 70 yards rushing in the win.
The real difference in the game was the two big plays that Kawika Mitchell made late in the fourth quarter. With the Bills clinging to a 20-14 lead Mitchell picked off a pass in the end zone and returned it 32 yards to setup another field goal drive that gave the Bills the nine point lead. He would preserve it with a forced fumble on Rivers on the next series that was recovered by Copeland Bryan to wrap up the win.
Many people figured the Chargers were rolling now and would roll through Buffalo on their way to London for next week's international game. The Bills wanted to prove that they are for real and they took a big step towards that with another big conference win against a team that is suppose to be one of the AFC's elite. The tests get bigger from here as they have three straight division games coming up that will show how close the team is to pulling away in the division.
Here are our exclusive gameballs and goats from the Bills game against the Chargers:Gameballs