Jairus Byrd continued his torrid pace of takeaways and Terrell Owens made an appearance in the end zone, but it wasn't enough. Buffalo's offense stalled in the second half as they failed to post a first down until their final possession. Meanwhile the Houston Texans attack found its rhythm in the final two quarters scoring 25 unanswered points en route to a 31-10 defeat of the Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
"Everyone is not pleased with the way we played, but looking at it from our team's perspective offensively we're not getting it done," said Terrell Owens. "The defense is doing a great job. They're keeping the opponent out of the end zone. Honestly the defense has been playing their butts off the last four or five weeks and offensively we haven't done anything help them out."
The Bills took a 10-6 lead into the locker room at halftime, but Buffalo's offense could not put a sustained drive together in the second half. Ryan Fitzpatrick and company went three-and-out on their first two second half possessions. In the fourth quarter in an attempt to lengthen their third offensive series Buffalo went for it on 4th-and-2 at their own 40-yard line, but the attempted end around failed giving the ball to Houston on downs.
"It's been discouraging obviously," said a downtrodden Dick Jauron of his team's offense. "And it was the reason why we tried to fake it just because we weren't getting anything done. Then when we threatened to get it down we ended up turning it over. Disappointing."
The Texans promptly marched 37 yards on six plays with Ryan Moats capping the drive with a one-yard touchdown run to put the game out of reach with just under 10 minutes remaining (24-10).
Houston, despite losing top target Owen Daniels to a knee injury and benching leading rusher Steve Slaton after a first quarter fumble, effectively moved the football and dominated time of possession in the second half. The Texans held the ball for almost 12 minutes in the third quarter alone, and finished with almost 40 minutes to total possession time.
"We didn't tackle well, weren't technically sound," said Chris Kelsay. "Guys were out of gaps. They ran through a lot of our tackles, our arm tackles. We were on the field a lot, but we've kind of gotten used to that. It's just frustrating. We all need to play better. We've put ourselves in some bad situations."
Moats, who was the primary ball carrier for Houston after Slaton was benched, had a career-high 126 yards on 23 carries and three rushing touchdowns.
Ryan Fitzpatrick finished the game with 93 yards passing, but had just 63 until Buffalo's final possession. He also threw two interceptions. The Bills finished with 204 total net yards, just 37 yards more than they had in their win at Carolina the previous week.
"There is just no spark out there," said Fitpatrick. "It's hard to get momentum when you can't stay on the field. We weren't running the ball and converting third downs to allow (the defense) to catch their breath."
"As a unit we're just not functioning the way we need to be whenever our defnse is giving us opportunities like that," said Fred Jackson. "We've got to make plays. We have potential and we have all the players to do it, but we're not doing it and that has to change."
Buffalo's defense turned away a promising opening drive by the Texans. After reaching the Buffalo 32-yard line however, a Matt Schaub pass intended for Owen Daniels was off the mark due to pressure by George Wilson and the throw was intercepted by Jairus Byrd.
It was the sixth interception in six starts for Byrd, who added another later in the first quarter. Byrd's second interception came on a 2nd-and-4 at the Texans' 25-yard line. The rookie returned the pick nine yards to the Houston 29.
One play later Terrell Owens took an end around all the way to the end zone as he went untouched for a 29-yard touchdown run to put Buffalo on the board first 7-0 late in the first quarter. It was Owens first rushing touchdown since the 2002 season.
For Byrd it was his third straight game with two interceptions marking the first time that's happened in the NFL since San Francisco's Dave Baker turned the trick in 1960.
The Texans would climb back into the game with a pair of field goal drives in the second quarter to cut the Buffalo lead to 7-6, but the Bills would get three points back on a field goal drive at the end of the second quarter. Rian Lindell put a 21-yard attempt through for 10-6 lead at halftime.
After a three-and-out by Buffalo's offense to start the second half, the Texans offense found a rhythm. Matt Schaub hooked up with Jacoby Jones on a 36-yard pass play that set up a 1st-and-goal at the Bills 10. Though the Buffalo defense held the Texans out of the end zone, Houston was able to pull within one capping their 12-play 72-yard drive with a 26-yard field goal by Kris Brown (10-9).
It began a 25-point onslaught by Houston as they pulled away from Buffalo ending the Bills two-game winning streak and dropping them to 3-5 at the midseason mark.
The Bills also suffered a handful of injuries in the game with Jairus Byrd and Aaron Schobel suffering groin injuries. Keith Ellison sustained a strained quad and Jamon Meredith suffered a sprained MCL.
"We definitely need the rest and the time off, but it'd be a lot better sitting at 4-4 instead of 3-5," said Kelsay. "That's another bad thing about bye weeks, if you don't win the week before it's a long time to sit on it. That could be good, it could be bad. I know personally I like to get back out there and put the last game to bed, but we've got some time off."
Buffalo has a bye in Week 9 before beginning the second half of their regular season schedule in Week 10 at Tennessee.