Defense forces four turnovers and scores a touchdown in the win.
by Steve Saslow
Nov. 12, 2000
For only the second time all year the fans were able to relax as the Bills won going away 20-3 to move into a probable tie for third place in the AFC East. The defense dominated an undermanned Bears offense that played much of the game with third string quarterback Shane Matthews at the controls. The defense forced four turnovers and scored a statement touchdown to lead the Bills to the win. Offensively, the Bills played musical quarterbacks for a while as Doug Flutie with a little help from Rob Johnson added enough offense to make this a relatively easy win.
It was a defensive struggle from the start. The Bears tied the game at 3, one play after starting quarterback Jim Miller left the game with a torn achilles tendon. Coach Phillips responded by putting in Johnson for the final 4:56 of the first half. Johnson heeded the call; he drove the Bills 54 yards to a 42 yard go ahead field goal by Steve Christie that gave them a 6-3 halftime lead. The big plays on the drive was a 19 yard run by Johnson and a 24 yard pass to Eric Moulds who got the best of former teammate Thomas Smith most of the day.
It appeared that Phillips had shockingly ended the QB controversy in the middle of the game. After Johnson drove the team to points the half ended with the Bears offense on the field. During a halftime interview Phillips said he needed to get Johnson some work. He matter of factly said Doug was his QB in the 2nd half. As shocking as the move to Johnson was, the move back to Flutie was just as surprising. Phillips said last week that "Johnson would play when healthy." He as now played, and he played well. Although it was a brief appearance it was enough for the Coach to award him the starting job next week in Kansas City.
Flutie came out in the second half and responded to Johnson's drive with a good drive of his own. He moved the ball downfield led by a 20 yard pass to Peerless Price and a rare reception by Antowain Smith. Smith saw more action then he has in the past two months after Sammy Morris left with a leg injury. The drive ended with a Flutie bootleg touchdown run from the one on fourth and goal. It was an exact replica, and in the same location, as the Jacksonville run two years ago to beat the Jaguars.
The touchdown gave the Bills a 13-3 lead that proved to be insurmountable with the defense playing so well. Bills Daily Player Of The Week Keion Carpenter picked off two passes down the stretch and should have had a third, which would have resulted in a score, as the defense put the clamps on the Bears. The finishing touch was fittingly put up by the defense as they scored their second touchdown of the season on a wacky play. Sam Rogers hit Matthews' arm as he was releasing the throw. Keith Newman picked up the loose ball and ran downfield before stumbling and fumbling the ball. Daryl Porter picked it up and ran it the remaining 23 yards for his first career touchdown. Porter also picked off a pass as the clock was running out. He was in the game for the injured Donovan Greer.
The Bills had a big win but had more injuries then in any other game this year. Besides Greer and Morris leaving, Marcellus Wiley left twice and Ted Washington also left with an injury. The Bills will need to get their big players healthy as many others were also nicked up in this game. They have settled the QB situation for now as Johnson will start next week's big road game against Kansas City. He will need to play well or he will have Flutie looking over his shoulder with another big road game the following week in Tampa Bay.
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