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(Sunday, November 14th)
Final Score: Buffalo 14, Detroit 12
Orchard Park, NY (Sports Network) - Fred Jackson ran for 133 yards with a score and also caught a pass for a touchdown, as Buffalo reached the win column for the first time this season with a 14-12 triumph over Detroit at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Jackson carried the brunt of the ground game after C.J. Spiller left in the first half with a hamstring injury. Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 12-of-24 passes for 146 yards and a touchdown for the Bills (1-8), whose winless start after eight games was the worst for the franchise since an 0-11 start to the 1984 campaign.
The Lions rallied late when they scored with 14 seconds left after Shaun Hill found a wide open Calvin Johnson up the middle from 20 yards out. Detroit, though, failed to convert the two-point attempt and suffered a record 25th straight road loss.
Hill, who replaced an injured Matthew Stafford for the sixth time this season, passed for 323 yards on 29-of-50 attempts with a touchdown and an interception. The Lions (2-7) dropped their second straight game on the heels of last week's overtime loss to the New York Jets. Johnson had 10 catches for 128 yards in defeat as Detroit broke its own mark of 24 straight road losses, set from 2001-03.
Down 14-3, the Lions mounted a fourth-quarter comeback when newly acquired Dave Rayner nailed a 45-yard field goal with 5:53 left. He redeemed himself from a 49-yard shank that sailed wide right nearly seven minutes earlier. The 28-year-old kicker replaced veteran Jason Hanson, who was hurt on a field goal attempt last Sunday.
After Detroit forced a punt, Hill directed a 15-play scoring drive that traveled 88 yards in 3 1/2 minutes. During the series, Detroit converted three fourth-down plays, including Johnson's 20-yard TD catch.
During the ensuing two-point conversion play, Hill dropped back and couldn't find anyone open. He rolled to his right and overthrew several potential receivers. Detroit attempted on onside kick with 14 seconds left, but the Bills recovered to close the game out.
"We were hanging on for dear life," Fitzpatrick said. "It seemed like that last drive took forever. But we found a way to win. That's the beauty of the NFL, it's a team game. This one we've been waiting a long time for, but it doesn't make it any less special that it came down to the end."
After a scoreless first quarter, Lee Evans beat Chris Houston on a deep fade route for 43 yards just 30 seconds into the second. The play put Buffalo on the six-yard line and two plays later, Jackson dove into the end zone from one yard out for the game's first score.
The Lions had a golden opportunity to square the game after a Jackson fumble that put them on their own 41-yard line with 8:17 left in the half. But it was squandered after a Jeff Backus holding penalty and a sack, forcing Detroit to punt the ball away.
"It doesn't matter what we face, we need to be able to run the ball better," said Lions head coach Jim Schwartz. "We ran the ball poorly, and then the penalties -- false starts, and holding. It's hard to get any rhythm on offense."
Detroit got on the scoreboard as time expired in the half when Rayner hit a 25-yard field goal to make the score 7-3. Hill converted a 3rd-and-3 dump pass to Kevin Smith to keep the drive alive and the Lions reached the seven-yard line with seven seconds left. On the ensuing play, Leodis McKelvin bobbled a possible interception to give the Lions one last play to attempt the field goal.
The Bills opened the second half with a 67-yard touchdown march that was capped by a Fitzpatrick swing pass to Jackson, who bounced to the right side and sprinted into the end zone for 16-yard play and a 14-3 lead.
With 10 seconds left in the third quarter, Buffalo could have extended its lead but Rian Lindell missed a 41-yard field goal that floated just outside of the right upright.
With the win, Buffalo tied the series 4-4-1...Newly-acquired linebacker Shawne Merriman did not suit up for Buffalo because of a sore Achilles...The Lions outgained the Bills 390-290...Brandon Pettigrew had four catches for 50 yards for Detroit, while Jahvid Best only had 35 yards on 17 carries in defeat...Lee Evans led Buffalo with 52 receiving yards.
11/14 18:54:30 ET
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