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(Sunday, October 25th)
Final Score: Buffalo 20, Carolina 9
Charlotte, NC (Sports Network) - Ryan Fitzpatrick led the offense with a touchdown pass, while rookie Jairus Byrd paced the defense with two interceptions, as the Buffalo Bills hung on to beat the Carolina Panthers, 20-9, in Week 7 action at Bank of America Stadium.
Fitzpatrick, who was making his first start in a Buffalo uniform in place of an injured Trent Edwards, connected on 11-of-22 passes for 123 yards for the Bills (3-4), who were coming off a 16-13 overtime win against the Jets last Sunday. Lee Evans caught five passes for 75 yards and a score. Marshawn Lynch rushed for 40 yards and a TD on 17 carries for Buffalo, which won despite being outgained 425-167.
The Bills, who had a total of three interceptions in the game, have nine picks over their last two contests.
"What a huge win for us," said Bills head coach Dick Jauron. "Our guys were just flying around...They were talented up front and challenged us. It's just a huge win for our guys."
Jake Delhomme completed 27-of-44 passes for 325 yards and three interceptions for the Panthers (2-4), who had a brief two-game winning streak snapped. DeAngelo Williams rushed for 89 yards and a TD on 16 carries. He also had five receptions for 50 yards. Steve Smith hauled in six passes for 99 yards in defeat.
"This one was discouraging because we moved the ball pretty effectively," said Carolina head coach John Fox. "Missed scoring opportunities and turnovers were the difference. We just have to get better as a football team."
Down 17-2 midway through the fourth, Carolina put together an eight-play, 78- yard scoring drive to make things interesting. A 48-yard catch from Smith put the Panthers in the red zone. Faced with a 4th-and-1 at the 15-yard-line, Williams rumbled through tacklers and into the end zone to cut the deficit to 17-9 with 6:34 remaining.
The Panthers made a key mistake after stopping Buffalo on offense. Kenny Moore muffed the catch on the punt return and the Bills recovered the ball. Buffalo ran the clock down before Rian Lindell drilled a 22-yard field goal for a 20-9 lead with 1:56 to go.
The Bills took advantage of an early turnover to take a 7-0 lead. On the first play of Carolina's third possession, Byrd intercepted a Delhomme pass and returned it 37 yards to the Panthers seven. Lynch then rushed up the middle and into the end zone with 4:36 left in the first to give Buffalo its first rushing TD of the year.
The Panthers put together a drive that bridged the first and second periods. However, the march went for naught as John Kasay missed a 43-yard field goal wide right.
Buffalo was backed up near its own end zone following a Carolina punt. A false start penalty on first down put the Bills at their own two. On the next play, Fred Jackson took a handoff and was stuffed in the end zone by Hollis Thomas for a safety with 9:06 remaining until half.
The Panthers put together a drive at the end of the half, but Kasay missed a 39-yard field goal wide left to keep the score 7-2 at the break.
Carolina took its second possession of the third stanza into the red zone. Faced with a 4th-and-1 at the Buffalo 13, Jonathan Stewart took a handoff and was stuffed at the line by a number of Bills defenders.
On the next Panthers drive, Byrd picked off a Delhomme pass that deflected off the hand of Smith. Byrd returned the interception 30 yards to the Carolina 27. Buffalo capitalized when Fitzpatrick hit Evans in the end zone with a quick two-yard pass for a 14-2 lead with 13:52 left in the fourth.
After forcing Carolina to punt, Fitzpatrick connected with Evans on a 55-yard pass play. However, Buffalo had to settle for a 29-yard Rian Lindell field goal to make it 17-2 with 9:50 to play.
The Bills won back-to-back road games for the first time since 2004...Carolina had the ball for 34:40, while Buffalo controlled the ball for 25:20...Edwards left in the second quarter of last week's win with a concussion...Fitzpatrick was acquired by Buffalo as a free agent this past offseason. He went 4-7-1 in 12 starts with the Bengals last season...Byrd recorded his fourth and fifth INT of the season. He is the first Bills rookie to post five picks in a season since Jeff Nixon (6) in 1979...Lynch's TD was the first of his season...Evans is now tied for third place with Elbert Dubenion on the team's all-time TD receptions list with 35 career touchdowns...Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams left the game in the first quarter with a knee injury and did not return...Carolina tight end Dante Rosario suffered a knee injury in the third frame and did not return...Buffalo has a 4-1 lead in its all-time series with Carolina, but was a 13-9 home loser when the teams last met, during the 2005 season...The Bills host the Texans next Sunday, while the Panthers travel to Arizona to play the Cardinals.
10/25 21:31:13 ET