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Bills Shock The Falcons 23-17
Biggest road win in years puts the Bills in first place.
by Steve Saslow
at
Week 4
Bills  23
Falcons  17
Gameday Grades
The Skinny:
Matt Ryan's fourth and one pass fell incomplete and the Bills pulled off an amazing upset win in Atlanta 23-17. Stephen Hauschka was a star for the second week in a row hitting field goals from 56 and 55 yards out in the final quarter which was the difference in the game as the Bills beat a previously unbeaten team for the second consecutive week. The Bills got the break from two controversial replay reviews as a Jerry Hughes strip of a Ryan throw was ruled a fumble and Tre'Davious White returned it for an early second half score to get the Bills the lead back. Micah Hyde picked off two passes but the second one appeared to hit the ground but the replay did not overturn it and it setup the Bills for the go ahead scores.

The Turning Point:
White TD: Jerry Hughes hit Matt Ryan as he was getting ready to throw but the ball was lose before the forward motion happened and it was ruled a fumble. Tre'Davious White picked it up and ran for the go ahead touchdown in the third quarter

The Big Drive:
The Bills had a 19 play drive that went 82 plays and took a whopping 11:20 off the clock keeping the ball out of the Falcons high potent offense hands. The only downside it the Bills settled for a 24 yard field goal from Hauschka on the drive instead of going for it on 4th and 1 and possibly putting the ball away. The field goal kept the Falcons in striking distance and made for a tense final moments but the three points also kept the Falcons from tying it with a field goal in the end.

Stat I Did Like:
Turnovers: The Bills took the ball away three times and for a third straight game didn't turn the ball over.

Stat I Didn't Like:
Rushing Yards: To nitpick they only averaged 3.3 yards on 33 carries for 117 yards. However on the Big 19 play drive they ran it very well and they also were dealing with two banged up backs.

Scene Setters:
- The roof was closed for this game in the brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium despite beautiful weather. They apparently are having issues with the retractable roof.
- The Bills wore white jerseys with blue pants. This is the opposite of last week.
- Ryan Davis was announced as the starter for the injured Shaq Lawson instead Eddie Yarbrough started. Cedric Thornton got the surprise start for the now healthy Marcell Dareus. Dion Dawkins started for Cordy Glenn. Besides Lawson and Glenn the inactives were: Joe Banyard, Vlad Ducasse, Brandon Tate, Khari Lee, and Adolphus Washington.
- During the much anticipated National Anthem most Bills players locked arms and stood while Jerel Worthy, Kaelin Clay, Shareece Wright, Mike Tolbert, Cedric Thornton, and Taiwan Jones knelt a few yards behind the standing group.

Key Matchup Results:
The winners of the battles highlighted in our preview article:
RB LeSean McCoy vs. LB Deion Jones: Winner: McCoy. He had 108 total yards rushing and receiving.
RT Jordan Mills vs. LDE Brooks Reed: Winner: Reed. He had seven tackles and a sack and got the best of the Bills beleaguered tackle.
LB Ramon Humber vs. RB Devonta Freeman: Winner: Humber. He had six tackles and helped hold Freeman in check despite being bothered by a thumb injury.
DB E.J. Gaines vs. WR Julio Jones: Winner: Gaines. Only because Jones left with an injury. This could have been a far different game if Jones didn't get hurt.

Keys To The Game Results:
How the keys highlighted in our preview article turned out:
1. Pressure Ryan: Success! They only had one sack but it resulted in a Bills touchdown and another pressure resulted in an interception.
2. Get Running Game Going: Success! They didn't get that many yards but they controlled the entire third quarter clock.
3. Take Running Game Away: Failure! The Falcons averaged 5.1 yards per carry and gained 149 yards on the ground.

My Take:
Every time the Bills have had a chance to make a statement win on the road during the drought they haven't. That streak ended today in what is the biggest road win since perhaps the Super Bowl years as Jerry Sullivan told Sean McDermott in the post game press conference. Don't know if it's that big but it has the Bills in sole possession of first place a quarter of the way through the season. Who would have thought that?

What's Ahead:
The Bills stay on the road and travel to Cincinnati for a battle with the up and down Bengals who destroyed the Browns today.

Gameballs
  • Stephen Hauschka - What a find in free agency! He hit all three attempts including two from 55 and 56 yards out.
  • Charles Clay - He was the focus of the offense and had five catches for 112 yards.
  • Micah Hyde - He had two interceptions in the game and a touchdown saving tackle as well.
  • Jerry Hughes - Had a sack and another pressure both resulted in turnovers, one in a touchdown.


  • Goats
  • Zay Jones - Is having a confidence issue as he dropped two more passes today including an easy one on a deep ball. He had one catch for 18 yards on five targets.


  • Player Of The Week
  • Stephen Hauschka - Two weeks in a row he hit two field goals from 53 yards out or more. He has been incredible.


  • Positional Breakdown and Grades
    NFL.com Gamebook
    Falcons Game Preview
    Gameday Homepage




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