Bills let fourth quarter lead slip in loss to Bears

The Bills had another game there for the taking. Buffalo's defense appeared to safely protect a five-point lead midway through the fourth quarter sending Chicago's offense three-and-out, but on the first play of the ensuing Bills possession, Ryan Fitzpatrick was picked off at the Bears 38 by Tim Jennings. His interception return to the Bills 23 led to a two-yard touchdown reception by Earl Bennett and subsequent two-point conversion by Matt Forte to stake Chicago to a three-point lead with six minutes remaining. That lead stood up for a 22-19 final, dropping Buffalo to 0-8.

"Great play call by Chan," said Ryan Fitzpatrick of the interception play. "We wanted to get the ball down the field. Obviously it was a little bit short. And that was the difference in the game. That play right there was the one that I don't know if it would've iced it or not, but I would've liked to hit that to Stevie. It's unfortunate for the guys. They played hard."

"We'd been setting it up the whole ball game. They had been biting and biting and coming closer and we had set it up and had the opportunity and just didn't make the play. I didn't want to go conservative there. I wasn't going to do that. Our guys worked too hard and we had a chance to hit the big play. We just couldn't make the play."

Buffalo tried to put together a drive and get in field goal range to tie the game with six minutes left, but Fitzpatrick missed on a couple of good looking plays as he was under pressure, and a batted pass on 4th-and-11 at the Bears 44 led to a turnover on downs.

With only a timeout and the two-minute warning at their disposal, Buffalo got the third down stop they needed when Spencer Johnson and Akin Ayodele stoned Chester Taylor for no gain on 3rd-and-1 at the Bills 47 with 1:15 remaining.

Chicago's punt on 4th-and-1 got a lucky bounce as it stayed inbounds and rolled to the Bills one-yard line pinning the offense deep. Fitzpatrick hit Steve Johnson over the middle to get Buffalo out to the 17-yard line with under a minute to go, but two plays later his pass attempt over the middle for Donald Jones was picked off by safety Chris Harris. The Bears offense then ran out the clock with a Jay Cutler kneel down.

"Up until the last interception we were thinking we were going to win the game," said Reggie Torbor, who finished with six tackles and a pair of pass breakups. "We got the big stop and got the offense the ball back and there's no doubt in our mind that we're going to go down and score at that point. But we're just finding ways to lose football games right now. Those mistakes are adding up and equaling losses right now."

Spencer Johnson came up with what looked like the defensive play of the game 10 seconds into the fourth quarter. With the Bears moving into Buffalo territory with a 1st-and-10 situation at the Bills 39, Jay Cutler was stripped by Johnson as he looped in behind the Bears quarterback and then fell on the loose ball near midfield.

"I was playing defensive end and Torell (Troup) got up the field and I just looped in and (Chris) Kelsay got some pressure and I looped in and got the ball out and recovered it," Johnson said. "So it was a big play at a big time."

Fitzpatrick led the most impressive drive of the day off the turnover as he went 4-4 passing on the drive for 31 yards and C.J. Spiller chipped in 19 yards rushing before Corey McIntyre plunged in from a yard out for his first career touchdown.

In an attempt to gain back the extra point that was blocked on their last scoring drive, the Bills went for two, but Fred Jackson was stopped on an inside run play leaving Buffalo with a five-point lead (19-14) with 10 minutes left in the game.

"In general I use 10 minutes in the fourth quarter (as a guide)," said Gailey on the decision to go for two. "I think it was 10:34 on the clock. I felt like it was a time to do that. Then if they score and you get a chance to go back and have another opportunity to win the game with a field goal."

After tying the game at seven in the closing seconds of the first half, Buffalo put together what looked to be a promising opening drive. Facing a 3rd-and-1 at the Bears 39, however, Fred Jackson with his second effort was stripped of the ball and Chicago recovered at their own 40.

Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz decided to stick to the ground on the drive and was rewarded. Chicago gained 46 yards on a 60-yard scoring drive. Matt Forte's 22-yard run to the Bills four-yard line set up first-and-goal for Chicago. Chester Taylor punched it in from a yard out two players later to put the Bears back in front 14-7 with 6:18 left in the third quarter.

The Bills offense answered as Ryan Fitzpatrick and Steve Johnson got in a rhythm on the ensuing possession. Fitzpatrick hit Johnson for a 16-yard completion to start the drive and then hit him with an 18-yard pass over the middle that Johnson took another 27 yards after the catch to the Bears four-yard line. Fred Jackson busted into the end zone from four yards out to pull Buffalo to within one (14-13).

However, Chicago's defensive line got great penetration on the point after attempt with Israel Idonije blocking Rian Lindell's kick to maintain a one-point lead for the Bears with 2:59 remaining in the third.

"Another one of the big plays was an extra point," said Gailey in reference to the block. "A simple thing like an extra point changes the whole tenor of the game. Those kinds of things you can't let happen. You can't take anything for granted in this game."  

The block ended Lindell's career streak of 321 consecutive extra points, the longest streak to start an NFL career.

A slow moving first half that saw the Bears carry a 7-0 lead into the second quarter off a five-yard touchdown catch by Greg Olsen, picked up pace when the Bills orchestrated a successful two-minute drill to end the half.

Starting at their own 32 with 1:45 left in the half, Ryan Fitzpatrick put together an 11-play 68-yard drive, which included a 4th-and-2 completion to David Nelson to set up 1st-and-10 at the Bears 28. After two screen passes to Fred Jackson moved Buffalo to the Chicago 14, Fitzpatrick hit Roscoe Parrish on the right side for a 14-yard touchdown to tie the score at 7-7 with 13 seconds left in the second quarter.

Parrish led Buffalo's receiving corps with four catches for 35 yards in the first half, but rushing yards proved hard to come by as the Bills managed just 11 on eight carries.

"We tried to establish the run early in the ball game and couldn't," Gailey said. "So we ended up having to throw the ball a lot more than I had ever wanted to in the ball game."

The Bills have now lost each of their last three games by a field goal, which hasn't made their winless record any easier to take.

"Just got to go back to work I guess," said Fitzpatrick. "We keep getting opportunities and I don't know somehow we find a way to have it hurt more and more. This one really hurts. I don't know really what else to say besides we did some good things out there again and came up short again."

Buffalo also remains winless in their Bills Toronto Series as they now have an 0-3 mark. The Bills host the Detroit Lions next Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium for a 1 pm kickoff.

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