Sunday, September 18, 2011

Late-game comeback drive sparks Bills

The final seconds for the Oakland Raiders at Orchard Park Sunday were anything but celebratory. Unfortunately for them, it’s all too familiar.

After going into halftime down 21-3, the Buffalo Bills converted touchdowns on all of their second-half possessions, the final one coming with 14 seconds left, capping off a roller-coaster come-from-behind victory in their home opener.

The 38-35 win puts the Bills at 2-0 for the first time since 2008, and the second-half effort put forth showed skeptics that Buffalo is capable of big comebacks.

“I can't recall one quite like that,” Bills coach Chan Gailey told reporters after the game. “It was an amazing gut-check by our football team. What they did coming out of halftime was really amazing.”

The last time the Raiders were in Buffalo, the Bills came back in similar fashion, erasing a nine-point deficit and sealing the win on a last-second field goal.

The Bills tallied 481 yards of total offense Sunday, 217 of those on the ground. Fred Jackson broke the century mark for the second game in a row, amassing 117 yards and two touchdowns.

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had another solid game, finishing with 264 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.

After losing the lead with less than four minutes to go, Fitzpatrick brought the Bills downfield on a 14-play, 80-yard drive, converting two fourth downs and connecting with a wide open David Nelson on a 6-yard touchdown pass.

“I don't know what happened, but I think they misaligned to be honest,” Fitzpatrick said of the game-winning play. “I was lucky enough to see it.”

Oakland quarterback Jason Campbell went toe-to-toe with Fitzpatrick the whole game, throwing for 323 yards and two touchdowns. Raiders running back Darren McFadden was held to less than 100 yards on the ground, but amassed 143 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns.

“Good job by them, bad job by us,” Raiders coach Hue Jackson told reporters. “When it's all said and done, we did not finish the game.”

The Bills will have a tough test in Week 3 as they face the New England Patriots, who are also 2-0 and have won the last 15 meetings against Buffalo.

Other Notes: For the first time since 2004, Buffalo had back-to-back 30-point games; The Bills set a franchise record with their 34 first downs; The 35 points by the Bills were the most allowed by the Raiders in a second half.