Monday, October 10, 2011
Sports News

Opportunistic Bills ground sloppy Eagles 31-24

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[October 10, 2011]  ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -- Safety George Wilson is tired of answering questions about how talented the Bills' opponents are, as if each of Buffalo's growing number of wins this season has been some type of fluke.

Perhaps it's time, Wilson suggested, to start asking how good the Bills might be.

"We have talent, too. We don't back down from any challenge," Wilson said. "If we do our job, we're going to be a tough football club to beat regardless of who we're playing."

The Bills proved that once again on Sunday with a 31-24 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Wilson had a team-leading 11 tackles, broke up three passes and had one of four interceptions in helping the "No-Name" Bills become Michael Vick and the so-called Eagles "Dream Team's" latest -- and perhaps worst -- nightmare.

And no need to ask the Bills about all those yards they allowed in each of the past four games.

"When it needed to get done, it got done," defensive tackle Kyle Williams said.

Linebacker Nick Barnett made sure of that. After returning an interception 31 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter, he sealed the win by picking off Vick a second time with 1:49 left to end the Eagles' final scoring drive.

While Buffalo (4-1) has already matched its win total from last year's 4-12 finish, the Eagles (1-4) continue to unravel, looking nothing like the high-priced team that was supposed to be a sure-thing Super Bowl contender.

Philadelphia's lost four straight for the first time since 2005, and is off to its worst start since 1999, coach Andy Reid's first season.

"I've never been a part of anything where you feel like things are snowballing on you," Eagles tight end Brent Celek said. "You feel like when you're in the game, things just continually feel like they're not falling your way. But that's up to us, we can turn it around."

The Eagles' woes continue to be self-inflected, only this time they didn't squander a second-half lead as they did in their previous three losses. On Sunday, Philadelphia's five turnovers led directly to the Bills scoring 17 points. And that includes Barnett's interception.

Philadelphia's defense continues to prove porous after allowing Bills running back Fred Jackson to rack up a combined 196 yards, including 111 rushing, and score on a 5-yard run.

Penalties continue to be a problem. Consecutive penalties turned a second-and-goal from the Bills 6 to a second-and-goal at the 26, forcing the Eagles to settle for Alex Henrey's 35-yard field goal that cut the deficit to 31-24.

Then came the capper. Facing fourth-and-inches at midfield with 1:23 left, Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick coaxed defensive end Juqua Parker offside to give Buffalo another set of downs and run out the clock.

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Reid refused to blame the loss on Parker.

"I'm not going to hang one guy out to dry," he said. "A lot of people were involved throughout the game."

Vick went 26 of 40 for 315 yards and two touchdowns with a career-worst four interceptions. And he added 90 yards rushing to give him 4,948 for his career, passing Randall Cunningham for most yards by an NFL quarterback.

"Sitting at 1-4, there's really not too much you can say," Vick said. "I know I've got confidence in those guys. We've just got to keep fighting."

The Bills now have 12 interceptions this season -- one more than they had all of last season. And they've now scored on interception returns in three straight games to match the team record set in 1960, the franchise's inaugural season.

Fitzpatrick went 21 of 27 for 193 yards passing with a 6-yard touchdown strike to David Nelson and an interception. The Bills eventually built a 28-7 lead on Brad Smith's 5-yard run early in the third quarter.

"We're putting ourselves in a tremendous opportunity," Jackson said. "We're happy where we're putting ourselves. But we still have a lot of work to do and a lot of teams left to play."

NOTES: The Bills are in the midst of playing a three-game stretch against NFC East opponents that continues next weekend at the Giants. After their bye week, Buffalo "hosts" Washington at Toronto. ... Vick has seven interceptions on the season and eight touchdowns passing. ... NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell held a 35-minute question-and-answer session with a select number of Bills season-ticket holders earlier in the day, and stuck around with family and friends to watch the game from the stands.

[Associated Press; By JOHN WAWROW]

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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