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(Sunday, September 20th)
Final Score: Buffalo 33, Tampa Bay 20
Orchard Park, NY (Sports Network) - Trent Edwards threw for two touchdowns and Fred Jackson gained a career-high 163 yards on 28 carries, as the Buffalo Bills defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 33-20, at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Edwards finished with 230 yards and one interception on 21-of-31 efficiency for the Bills (1-1). Terrell Owens had 52 yards and one score on three receptions, while Derek Schouman hauled in six passes for 62 yards before being carted off in the third quarter with an apparent right knee injury.
Byron Leftwich completed 26-of-50 passes for 296 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions for the Buccaneers (0-2), who were playing in Buffalo for the first time in team history. Kellen Winslow, Cadillac Williams and Jerramy Stevens each made a touchdown grab.
Coming off the gut-wrenching loss to New England in Week 1, in which Buffalo held an 11-point lead with three minutes remaining before Tom Brady threw a pair of touchdown passes to tight end Ben Watson, the Bills raced out to a 17- point lead against Tampa Bay in the first quarter.
"Guys buckled down, I think we learned our lesson from last week," said Edwards. "It's a valuable lesson we're going to need throughout this season. The game is never over until it reaches double-zeroes on the clock. We have to finish games and that's what we did today."
Edwards and Lee Evans hooked up for a 32-yard score on the Bills' opening drive. On the ensuing series, Leftwich was picked off by Donte Whitner, who dashed 76 yards down the far sideline for the touchdown. Rian Lindell booted a 31-yard field goal in the dying seconds of the frame.
Tampa Bay answered on its next offensive sequence as Leftwich threw a 42-yard TD pass to Winslow, capping a five-play drive that took a little over two minutes.
Lindell converted from 43 yards out, and Buffalo was on the verge of extending its lead, marching deep into Tampa Bay territory, until there was a huge swing in momentum late in the second quarter.
Jackson lost the handle on the ball as it popped up into the air. Tampa Bay safety Sabby Piscitelli secured the ball at his own 20-yard-line and sprinted down the left sideline before he was tackled by receiver Roscoe Parrish at the Bills eight.
On the next play, Leftwich found Williams in the end zone, trimming the deficit to 20-14.
Lindell's third field goal of the game -- a 27-yarder -- made it 23-14 with 11:23 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Tampa Bay went three-and-out on its next drive, and Edwards hit Owens for a 43-yard TD.
Stevens' six-yard score came with 5 1/2 minutes left to play. Tampa Bay failed on the two-point conversion.
Lindell drilled a 20-yarder to account for the final score.
"We dug ourselves in a very big hole today," said Leftwich. "Most of the time it's been us (the offense) making mistakes. We have to learn how to not do that. The difference is winning this football game was making four or five plays."
Tampa Bay was limited to 57 yards on the ground...Winslow and Williams both caught seven passes for 90 and 56 yards, respectively...Owens has a reception in 185 consecutive games, the third longest streak in NFL history...Bills right tackle Brad Butler was carted off the field with a right knee injury in the first half.
09/20 22:42:27 ET