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What they're saying: National media weigh in on the Bills

[, John Clayton – Last call](

Defensive game ball – Leodis McKelvin         

Bills cornerback Leodis McKelvin intercepted Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater on consecutive throws in the second quarter of Buffalo's 17-16 victory.


CBS Sports, Pete Prisco – Monday musings](

• I have to give it to Bills quarterback Kyle Orton. I didn't think he would play as well as he has so far in his three starts. Orton threw for 283 yards and two touchdowns in Buffalo's come-from-behind victory over Minnesota. He hit Sammy Watkins for the game-winner with one second left on the clock. Watkins caught nine passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns. The Bills are now 4-3 and have to be considered a playoff contender.


Sammy Watkins: His career is only seven games old, but he set personal highs with nine catches for 122 yards and two TDs, including the game winner with 1 second left against the Vikings. Safe to say the Bills' new star is picking up rookie of the year momentum.* *

— It was a good omen Bills rookie WR Sammy Watkins hung onto the winning 2-yard TD pass from QB Kyle Orton with one second to go against the Vikings. The Bills will need a lot more from their top draft pick now that RB C.J. Spiller is likely done for the season with a broken collarbone and RB Fred Jackson (groin) may miss some time as well. This was Watkins' best game of his young career — nine catches, 122 yards, two TDs — and journeyman Orton is smart enough to keep feeding him now that their options have thinned in the backfield.


Kyle Orton and Doug Marrone: When the Buffalo Bills fell to 2-2, Marrone made a decision that was second-guessed, sitting 2013 first-round pick E.J. Manuel for journeyman veteran Kyle Orton.

Not that Manuel had played well, but it was still a bold move to give Manuel the hook so soon into a season, with the Bills still at .500. Especially since Orton has established his role in the NFL: a solid quarterback who can execute the offense but rarely will do anything special.

But lo and behold, Orton made one of the biggest plays of the NFL season so far, and Marrone looks pretty smart. Orton – who also led a last-minute drive in his first start to beat the Detroit Lions – took the Bills 80 yards in 3:06 with Buffalo trailing by six, and hit rookie Sammy Watkins with one second left to give Buffalo a dramatic 17-16 win. The degree of difficulty on the win was high after the Bills lost their top two tailbacks, Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller. Orton came through.

Orton's career looked to be over when he threatened retirement all offseason. He did that to force the Cowboys to release him (you can argue the ethics of that), and then the Bills gave him a two-year, $11 million contract that seemed a bit expensive. But now with the Bills at 4-3 thanks to two late victories led by Orton, it all makes sense. 

10 things I think

m. The Bills putting longtime play-by-play man Van Miller on their Wall of Fame at Ralph Wilson Stadium. So deserving.

v. Buffalo quarterback Kyle Orton with a beautiful 26-yard touchdown pass laid in perfectly to Sammy Watkins.


1. Buffalo WR Sammy Watkins. He has a career-best 122 yards in catches; he has a career-best nine receptions; he has a career-best two touchdowns; and he makes the only catch that matters — a game-winning TD grab with one second left. Memo to St. Louis: You should've drafted this guy when you had the chance.

  1. Trailing 16-10, Kyle Orton drove Buffalo on a gutsy 15-play, 80-yard drive that saw him connect with four different pass-catchers before finding rookie Sammy Watkins in the end zone with one tick left on the clock. Orton's biggest toss on the march saw wideout Chris Hogan make an outstanding 28-yard catch that set up the Bills at the Minnesota 2. It's a critical win for Buffalo, one that keeps them alive in the AFC East.
  1. The win didn't come without a cost to Buffalo. After Bills running back Fred Jackson was lost for the day to a groin injury, C.J. Spiller was carted off the field with the broken collarbone he suffered on a dazzling 52-yard sprint in the second quarter. With enigmaticBryce Brown inactive for the seventh straight game, Anthony Dixon -- the only running back left -- held his own to rumble for 51 yards at 3.9 yards per clip.
  1. After throwing an ugly interception last week against the Lions, Teddy Bridgewater flung a pair of picks to Bills cornerback Leodis McKelvin. The second of those interceptions saw Teddy underthrow wideout Adam Thielen, who couldn't stop McKelvin from jumping the route to give Buffalo the ball back at the Minnesota 26. Orton hit Watkins one play later for the 7-3 lead.

Photos of the week 7 matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Minnesota Vikings.


Kyle Orton is far from perfect, but the Bills passer delivered on a 15-play, 80-yard march that saw him connect with four different pass-catchers before finding rookie Sammy Watkins in the end zone with one tick left on the clock. Chris Hogan made the biggest catch on the drive with this outstanding 28-yard grab that set up the Bills at the Minnesota 2. It's a critical win for Buffalo, one that keeps them alive in the AFC East. -- Marc Sessler**

6. Everyone's been saying it for years: Any time you can get the ball to Chris Hogan in a big spot, you have to do it. The little-known 25-year-old Bills wide receiver has spent time with four different organizations in four years. But with the game on the line Sunday, he came up with a huge catch, attacking the ball in the air for a 28-yard gain that got Buffalo to the Vikings' 2-yard-line. Sammy Watkins, who was brilliant all day, then sealed the win, keeping his feet in bounds for the touchdown from Kyle Orton.

The Bills lost running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller to injuries. They turned it over four times and allowed six sacks, yet escaped with a 17-16 victory.

Buffalo Bills – Performances of Note

Sammy Watkins, WR:  3.0


Breakdown:** Watkins has had a very up-and-down season so far, but this was an outstanding performance he put up against the Vikings. He had nine receptions (in 14 targets) for 122 yards and two touchdowns, setting personal bests in all three categories. He looked extremely quick in and out of breaks all afternoon.

Signature Play: Q2, 9:28 remaining. On his first touchdown grab of the day, he jumps inside on the go-route, giving Orton a good angle to hit him on at the goal line, beating Captain Munnerlyn for the touchdown.

Jerry Hughes, DE:  2.5

Breakdown: Hughes managed his fourth straight game at 1.0 or higher against Minnesota, and continued to show quickness off the edge. He got to Bridgewater twice for sacks, and added three stops in the run game.

Signature Play: Q4, 13:35 remaining. On first-and-goal for the Vikings, Hughes puts an inside move on left tackle Ryan Kalil and is immediately on Bridgewater for the sack.

Signature Stat: After finishing tied for fourth last year in Pass Blocking Efficiency among offensive tackles, Glenn is currently 24th out of 55.

Game Ball: Sammy Watkins gets our game ball for his career (albeit early) performance against the Vikings.

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