Bills can't protect early lead, fall to Texans

Final Score: Texans 23 – Bills 17

Location: NRG Stadium – Houston, Texas

W-L records: Buffalo (2-2); Houston (3-1)

In a Nutshell:  
Buffalo jumped out to an early 10-0 lead in the first half, but by the third quarter that lead was gone. J.J Watt put Houston ahead with an 80-yard interception return for a touchdown (14-10) and the Texans' offense followed with a field goal drive to put the home team ahead 17-10.

Come the fourth quarter the Texans added three more on a 55-yard bomb by Randy Bullock (20-10), but one play later EJ Manuel rolled out and found a wide open Mike Williams deep down field for an 80-yard catch and run for a touchdown to pull within a field goal with nine minutes remaining (20-17).

Bullock came up big for Houston with a 50-yard field goal with just under five minutes in the game to push the Texans'  lead back up to six, and Buffalo's last attempt to win the game was ended with under a minute to play when EJ Manuel's pass intended for Robert Woods was intercepted.

Houston killed the remaining time on the clock to improve to 3-1 and drop Buffalo to 2-2 on the season.

How it went down: 
--Buffalo got on the board first when Dan Carpenter capped a 13-play, 67-yard drive with a 31-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead early in the second quarter.

--A forced fumble by Brandon Spikes following an Andre Johnson reception was recovered by Da'Norris Searcy and led to Buffalo's first touchdown drive.

--EJ Manuel finished off an eight-play 49-yard drive with a five-yard touchdown pass to Sammy Watkins on a quick slant to push Buffalo's lead to 10-0 with just under six minutes left in the first half.

--Leodis McKelvin recorded the Bills' second takewaway of the first half with an interception on a deep post route by DeAndre Hopkins, but the offense could not convert it into points moving the ball just 16 yards on five plays.

--Ryan Fitzpatrick got the Texans on the board just before the end of the half hitting Hopkins for a 35-yard touchdown strike against single-high safety coverage to make the score 10-7 at the half.

--The Bills got their third takeaway of the game when Kyle Williams tipped a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass in the air and it was intercepted by Nigel Bradham at the Texans 21-yard line. But on a 3rd-and-3 at the Houston 12-yard line J.J. Watt snared an EJ Manuel pass intended for Robert Woods and went 80 yards the other way for a touchdown.

--The Texans added a field goal drive late in the third quarter to push their lead to seven (17-10), and Houston kicker Randy Bullock nailed a 55-yard attempt in the fourth quarter (20-10).

--Buffalo responded immediately with an 80-yard touchdown hook up between EJ Manuel and Mike Williams to pull the Bills to within a field goal (20-17) with nine minutes left in regulation.

--Houston moved the ball close enough on the ensuing possession to put Bullock in range for a 50-yard field goal (23-17).

Stat lines 
--Buffalo's offense did not convert a third down play in the second half until the final drive going 1-for-7.

--The Bills run defense was stout through the first three quarters allowing just 1.6 yards per carry.

--Buffalo averaged 5.1 yards a carry through the first two quarters as Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller combined for 72 yards on 14 carries.

--The Bills defense held Houston to 4-12 on third down conversions in the game.

--Houston committed four 15-yard penalties in the first half.

Subplots: 
--After not having a dropped pass in any of the first three games Bills' pass catchers had three on their first three possessions Sunday.

--The 80-yard touchdown play by Manuel and Williams were career longs for both players.

--The Bills lost a pair of defensive starters to knee injuries. Both Nigel Bradham and Kyle Williams left the game in the second half and did not return. Ron Brooks also left the game with a shoulder injury.

--Cyril Richardson made his first career start in place of the injured Chris Williams.

Inactives:  
CB Ross Cockrell, RB Bryce Brown, LB Randell Johnson, G Chris Williams, OT Cyrus Kouandjio, WR Marcus Easley, WR Marquise Goodwin.

Up Next:  
The Bills will travel to Detroit to take on the Lions next Sunday Oct. 5 at 1 pm.

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