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Late fumbles cost Bills victory

Posted Dec 1, 2013

Two costly fumbles at the end of regulation and overtime resulted in a Bills loss to the Falcons.

COMPLETE STATS (pdf)
FINAL SCORE:
34-31 OT
LOCATION:
Rogers Centre – Toronto, ON
RECORDS:
Buffalo (4-8); Atlanta (3-9)

HIGHLIGHTS | PHOTOS

IN A NUTSHELL
Buffalo went 59 minutes and 40 seconds of Sunday’s game without a turnover, and then coughed the ball up on consecutive possessions in a 31-31 game at the end of regulation and in overtime and it cost them a win against the Falcons.  
 
The Bills jumped on the Falcons early staking themselves to a 14-0 first quarter lead, but they couldn’t maintain it. Atlanta tied the game at 17 by halftime, and then took the lead early in the third quarter (24-17).

Buffalo stormed back with a pair of touchdown drives with Fred Jackson delivering a 21-yard swing pass for a score and C.J. Spiller ripping off a 36-yard run for another touchdown to give the Bills a 31-24 lead with just under 12 minutes remaining.

After punting on four straight possessions between the end of the third and fourth quarter Atlanta cashed in a 1st-and-goal situation to tie the score with 1:28 left in the game (31-31).

With all three timeouts remaining and 1:28 to work with EJ Manuel converted a big 3rd-and-10 play from his own 24, hooking up with Scott Chandler for a 23-yard gain to near midfield. He then had another 3rd-and-short converted on a completion to Stevie Johnson, but Johnson was stripped of the ball from behind by Falcons safety Robert McClain. The loose ball was recovered by fellow safety William Moore with 20 seconds left.

Atlanta let the clock run out in regulation after a short pass play on their half of the field.

Buffalo won the coin toss at the start of overtime and elected to receive. But Scott Chandler on a 22-yard catch and run fumbled and the Falcons again recovered and returned the loose ball into Buffalo territory.

HOW IT WENT DOWN
--The Bills had an early 14-0 first quarter lead, but it eventually evaporated as the Falcons steadily climbed back into the game with a 49-yard field goal from Matt Bryant tying it at 17 at the half.

--Between the second and third quarters Atlanta scored on three straight possessions to turn a 17-7 deficit into a 24-17 lead.

--Kiko Alonso recovered a fumbled exchange between Joe Hawley and Matt Ryan at the Falcons 22-yard line midway through the third quarter. Fred Jackson scored one play later on a 22-yard swing pass for a touchdown to tie the score at 24.

--C.J. Spiller, following a 33-yard hookup between EJ Manuel and Robert Woods and a 15-yard defensive penalty, put the ball in the end zone on a 36-yard run (31-24).

--Matt Ryan led a touchdown drive with Steven Jackson plunging in from a yard out to tie the game at 31 with under a minute and a half left.

--On the ensuing drive Stevie Johnson had a third down converted, but was stripped of the ball and Atlanta recovered and ran out the clock to force overtime.

--Buffalo with the first possession in overtime was driving, but Scott Chandler fumbled after a catch and run near midfield. Again Atlanta recovered. Five plays later Matt Bryant put the winning 36-yard field goal up and through for a 34-31 victory.

THE HALF OF IT
--C.J. Spiller had 105 yards on nine carries at the break.

--The Bills went 2-3 in the red zone.

--Both of Atlanta’s first half rushing touchdowns went for more than 25 yards (27, 38).

--At halftime Roddy White had five catches for 72 yards for Atlanta, while the rest of the Falcons receiving corps combined had six for 53.

SUBPLOTS
--Zebra influence – After flagging Harry Douglas on 3rd-and-goal at the Bills five for unnecessary roughness backing Atlanta up to the Buffalo 16, the officials called pass interference on Nickell Robey on the next play at the goal line. That gave the Falcons a 1st-and-goal situation at the Bills one-yard line where Steven Jackson ran it in to tie the game with 1:28 remaining (31-31).

--There were four lead changes and three ties during the course of the game.

--For the fourth time this season the Bills were unable to post back-to-back victories. They are now 1-4 following wins.

--Fred Jackson had a rushing and receiving touchdown in the game. It marked just the second time he’s done that in his career. The only other time was on Nov. 14, 2010 vs. the Detroit Lions

--C.J. Spiller’s 149 rushing yards is his highest single game rushing total since posting 169 on Sept. 9th last season at the New York Jets.  It is his second-highest total in his career.

--Buffalo’s defense posted six sacks in the game, which is the most given up by the Atlanta Falcons in a game this season. 

INACTIVES
QB Jeff Tuel, RB Ronnie Wingo, CB Brandon Smith, LB Ty Powell, G J.J. ‘Unga, G Antoine McClain, TE Chris Gragg

UP NEXT
The Bills will travel to Tampa Bay to take on the Buccaneers (3-9).