Bills show resolve in rallying to beat Vikings
Oct. 20, 2014
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Following so many years of frustration, veteran defensive tackle Kyle Williams is beginning to wonder if the Buffalo Bills have learned a thing or two about resilience.
"There's a few times where you could've used things as a crutch to lose a football game and have an excuse to do it," Williams said of a team that hasn't had a winning season since 2004 or made the playoffs since 1999.
Instead, he added: "In a couple of instances we've turned it around and used it as an opportunity to go out and make plays and win the game."
Kyle Orton delivered in the clutch by capping a 15-play, 80-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Sammy Watkins with 1 second left to pull out a 17-16 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
It was the 10-year journeyman's second last-second comeback drive in three starts since EJ Manuel was benched. It marked the third time the Bills (4-3) have won on their final possession this season.
Orton helped set up Dan Carpenter's 58-yard field goal with 4 seconds left in a 17-14 win at Detroit two weeks ago. Buffalo opened the season with a 23-20 overtime win at Chicago.
The defense played a key role in keeping the score in reach. Buffalo had five sacks and two interceptions. The Bills also forced Minnesota to settle for Blair Walsh's 33-yard field goal that made it 16-10 after facing first-and-goal from the 7 early in the fourth quarter.
"It's a good feeling to give our offense opportunities," Williams said. "Kyle made the throws that he needed to make to win the football game, so it's a good day."
It was a bad day for the Vikings (2-5), who were 3:07 away from snapping a two-game losing streak.
"There are no words that can describe this loss," defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd said. "It's the last play of the game. I've got nothing to say about that except it hurts."
Here are a number of things that stood out in a game in which the Bills improved to 3-0 against NFC North opponents this season:
THE DRIVE: On the decisive drive, Orton went 8 of 12 for 105 yards and a spike, was sacked twice and overcame a false-start and intentional grounding penalty.
Orton kept the drive alive by converting a fourth-and-20 with a 24-yard pass to tight end Scott Chandler over the middle. Three plays later, Orton hit Watkins on a crossing pattern for an 18-yard gain on third-and-12. He set up the decisive score by threading a 28-yard pass to Chris Hogan at the 2 along the left sideline.
Running back Anthony Dixon was impressed by how loose Orton was in the huddle.
"He even cracked a smile one time and was like, 'C'mon guys, we got this,'" Dixon said.
WATKINS WATCH: Watkins had career-highs with nine catches, 122 yards, and two touchdowns, including a 26-yard catch in the second quarter.
The player selected fourth overall in the draft became the first Bills rookie to have a two-TD game since Lee Evans in 2004.
Not that the 21-year-old player out of Clemson considers himself a rookie.
"I've never really felt like a rookie unless one (of my teammates) makes me feel like one," he said with a laugh.
SQUANDERED SACKS: The Vikings defense had six sacks and forced four turnovers, one interception and three fumbles.
Not that it meant much in the end.
"That hurt. Everything hurt. The touchdowns, fourth-and-20, everything hurt," said defensive end Everson Griffen, who had three sacks. "We want the victory. It feels better when you get a victory. The sacks don't mean nothing when you lose."
TEDDY'S TD: Vikings rookie Teddy Bridgewater went 15 of 26 for 157 yards with a 4-yard touchdown to Cordarrelle Patterson and two interceptions in his third career start, first on the road.
The touchdown pass in the second quarter was the first of his career and first by the Vikings in over 20 quarters, dating to Matt Cassel's 25-yarder to Matt Asiata on the opening drive of a 30-7 loss to New England in Week 2.
INJURIES: The Bills running attack was grounded after Fred Jackson (groin) and C.J. Spiller (left shoulder) were carted off 10 minutes apart in the first half.
Spiller is out indefinitely, and the Bills are still waiting for test results to determine the severity of Jackson's injury.
Buffalo is down to two running backs, Dixon and Bryce Brown — who has been inactive the first seven games — and fullback Frank Summers.
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