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(Sunday, December 5th)
Final Score: Minnesota 38, Buffalo 14
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Tarvaris Jackson took over for an injured Brett Favre early in the first quarter and threw for 187 yards and two touchdowns, as the Minnesota Vikings routed the Buffalo Bills, 38-14.
Favre suffered a shoulder injury when he was hit from behind by Arthur Moats on his first passing attempt -- an interception by Drayton Florence. The 41- year old, who started his 297th consecutive regular-season game, was helped to the sidelines and did not return. Jackson completed 15-of-22 passes, but threw three interceptions.
"We'll do an MRI tomorrow. X-rays were negative, nothing broken thank goodness," Favre said. "I'll take it day by day, but I'm not overly concerned right now."
Adrian Peterson, who was questionable with an ankle injury, rushed for 107 yards and three touchdowns for the Vikings (5-7), who earned a 17-13 victory at Washington last week in interim head coach Leslie Frazier's debut. Minnesota has won three of its last five. Sidney Rice caught five passes for 105 yards and two scores in the victory.
"It felt great to get out there and just play," Jackson said. "We got the win and that's the most important thing. It just feels great to get out there and play in a meaningful game."
Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 158 yards on 15-of-25 efficiency with one touchdown and one interception for Buffalo (2-10), which dropped a 19-16 overtime decision to Pittsburgh last weekend and has split its last four games. Florence had two interceptions -- one returned for a 40-yard touchdown -- and David Nelson had a 12-yard TD reception in defeat.
"I didn't do a good job of preparing our football team for what they were getting into coming in here," Bills head coach Chan Gailey said. "You can't turn it over five times in a place like this with a team like that and ever expect to win, especially early in the ball game. We played extremely poor."
After Favre was knocked out of the game, Jackson, who failed to help the Vikings put points on the board in his initial set, was picked off on a pass intended for Greg Camarillo by Florence, who returned it for the score to give Buffalo a 7-0 lead with 4:34 left in the first quarter.
Minnesota got the points right back when Jackson heaved a 31-yard pass for Rice, who wrestled the ball away from the defender, but was ruled out of bounds. A replay overruled the initial call, giving the Vikings the touchdown.
Leodis McKelvin fumbled on the ensuing kickoff which led to a Peterson two- yard rushing score that capped a brief four-play, 14-yard drive to make it a 14-7 game early in the second.
The Vikings got the ball back a short time later and again it was Peterson finding the end zone on a short run four minutes into the second quarter. Starting at his own 40, Jackson picked up a first down on a 13-yard scramble that was coupled with an unnecessary roughness penalty to move it to the Buffalo 15. Peterson went up the middle for a three-yard score two plays later.
It quickly became 28-7 when Antoine Winfield's interception and 41-yard return put Minnesota in business at the Buffalo five-yard line. After a one-yard loss on a Toby Gerhart run, Rice made a diving catch on a six-yard touchdown pass.
Ryan Longwell tacked on a 38-yard field goal as time expired for a 31-7 game at the intermission.
After a scoreless third quarter, Fitzpatrick was sacked and fumbled on the first play of the fourth, giving the Vikings the ball at the Buffalo 43. Peterson then took it the distance on the next play for his third score of the contest.
Buffalo tried answering on its next offensive try, but Fitzpatrick again turned the ball over on a fumble at the Minnesota one-yard line.
Nelson's 12-yard touchdown catch got the Bills within 38-14 with 4:43 to play.
Minnesota will host the New York Giants next Sunday, while Buffalo hosts Cleveland...Vikings starting left guard Steve Hutchinson was inactive with a thumb injury, ending a streak of 131 straight starts including the playoffs...The Vikings were also without wide receivers Percy Harvin (migraine headaches) and Greg Lewis (concussion) and defensive end Ray Edwards (ankle)...Minnesota improved to 8-4 in the all-time series against Buffalo.
12/05 18:52:21 ET