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Bills score 13 unanswered in second half to sink Broncos

Posted Sep 24, 2017

Buffalo's offense strung together 13 points in the second half to put the game away.


Location: New Era Field, Orchard Park, NY

Regular season records: Buffalo (2-1), Denver (2-1)

In a nutshell:
Buffalo’s passing game found some rhythm, the Bills defense got a takeaway and turnover on downs and Stephen Hauschka was money from long distance. The total team effort resulted in a Bills 23-16 victory over Denver.

The Bills were in a nip and tuck battle through the first half with two ties and a pair of lead changes as the two teams went to the locker room knotted at 13.

Denver broke the tie in the third quarter with a field-goal drive, but Buffalo scored 13 unanswered points the rest of the way with a touchdown pass from Tyrod Taylor to Charles Clay and a pair of Hauschka field goals to close the game out.

Buffalo’s defense wasn’t dominant, but certainly effective, registering a pair of second-half interceptions by EJ Gaines and Tre’Davious White. Their special teams also thwarted a fourth-down fake punt to force a turnover on downs.

The win lifted Buffalo to 2-1 on the season and more importantly 2-0 in the AFC.

How it went down:
-The Broncos put points on the board thanks in part to a pair of questionable pass interference penalties that gave Denver two third down conversions. A 3rd-and-9 call on E.J. Gaines, followed by another 3rd-and-9 call on Tre’Davious White gave the Broncos another first down in Buffalo territory. Three plays later Brandon McManus booted a 38-yard field goal to give Denver a 3-0 lead late in the first quarter.

-Buffalo was the beneficiary of a fortuitous deflection as Tyrod Taylor’s touchdown pass intended for Zay Jones, deflected off the rookie and into the arms of Andre Holmes for a two-yard scoring play. It capped a 10-play, 74-yard drive and put the Bills in front 7-3 with 11:41 left in the first half.

-Denver answered quickly with a three-play 79-yard scoring drive aided by a pair of personal foul penalties assessed on the Bills. The 30 penalty yards helped set up Denver 1st-and-goal at the Bills 12-yard line where Jamaal Charles scored on a 12-yard run to give the Broncos the lead (10-7) with 10:26 left in the half.

-Buffalo evened the score thanks mainly to a 17-yard punt return by Brandon Tate that gave the Bills a drive start at the Denver 32-yard line. Though a penalty stalled the drive, it was close enough for Stephen Hauschka to knock a 49-yard field goal up and through to make it a 10-10 tie with 2:51 left in the half.

-A successful two-minute drive by the Broncos put Brandon McManus in position for a 35-yard field goal with 42 seconds left in the half to put Denver back in the lead (13-10).

-Buffalo managed to get in field goal range with six seconds left on the clock and Hauschka was true from 55 yards away to tie the game at 13 at the break.

-Denver took the lead again when Denver took their first possession into the red zone. Buffalo’s defense however, forced the Broncos to settle for a field goal. McManus was good from 28 yards out to make it 16-13 midway through the third quarter.

-The Bills answered right back. Tyrod Taylor hit Nick O’Leary for a 31-yard pass play and followed it up with a 28-yard connection with Jordan Matthews. One play later he found Charles Clay for a six-yard touchdown pass just a minute after Denver’s field goal (20-16).

-A big turnover on downs on a fourth down stop by Deon Lacey gave the Bills offense the ball on the Broncos’ 31-yard line. Though the offense didn’t move the ball they were still close enough for Hauschka to hit a 53-yard field goal to push Buffalo’s lead to seven (23-16) early in the fourth quarter.

-A Tre’Davious White interception on the very next Broncos possession again gave the offense another opportunity to make it a two-score game. The Bills drove 53 yards on 16 plays in a clock-killing seven-and-a-half minute drive that pushed Buffalo’s lead to 10 on a 27-yard field goal by Hauschka with just over three minutes remaining (26-16).

Subplots:
-Tyrod Taylor was 20-26 passing (77%) for 213 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His passer rating was 126.

-LeSean McCoy only rushed for 21 yards, but had seven receptions for 48 yards, while Charles Clay chipped in with six receptions for 39 yards and a touchdown.

-EJ Gaines had a big day in coverage for Buffalo. He broke up a touchdown pass in the end zone intended for Demaryius Thomas. He made a key tackle defending Buffalo’s red zone on third down to force a field goal, and he had an interception.

-Tre’Davious White posted the first interception of his career with a key fourth quarter takeaway.

-Stephen Hauschka had a trio of long distance field goals. One from 49 and the other two from 50-plus, the two longest so far in his Bills career (53, 55).

-Rookie Dion Dawkins made his first career NFL start at left tackle in place of the injured Cordy Glenn.

-Kaelin Clay made his first catch as a Bill converting a 2nd-and-8 play into a 28-yard gain to set the offense up in the red zone on their first scoring drive.

-Inactive for the game were DT Marcell Dareus, OT Cordy Glenn, DT Jerel Worthy, TE Khari Lee, RB Joe Banyard, DT DeAndre Coleman, G Vladimir Ducasse

Up next:
The Bills travel to Atlanta to face the Falcons for a 1 pm kickoff on Sunday, Oct. 1st.