Just when you thought the Bills might pull off their biggest upset since 1984 an untimely turnover, bad penalties, and a questionable officiating call cost the Bills the game as the Ravens pulled out a 37-34 overtime win over Buffalo. The Bills were driving for a possible win when Shawn Nelson was struggling for extra yards and his forward progress appeared to be stopped. No whistle was blown and the ball was ripped out of his hands and the Ravens recovered. Geoff Hangartner ripped off his helmet for a penalty that put the ball in field goal range. Billy Cundiff hit a 38 yard field goal for the win. It was a wild game as Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 373 yards and four touchdowns, three to Lee Evans. The Bills opened up a 24-10 lead and then saw the Ravens reel off 24 unanswered points before the Buffalo battled back and tied it with :04 left on Rian Lindell's 50 yard field goal.
The Turning Point:
There were many turning points in this game as the momentum shifted throughout but without a doubt it was the Bills last offensive player in overtime. On 2nd and 10 from their own 41, Fitzpatrick hit Shawn Nelson for a four yard gain. He was fighting for more yards but his forward progress had been stopped. No whistle blew and the ball was ripped out of his hands and recovered by the Ravens. To make matters worse Hangartner was called for his penalty. That put the Ravens in field goal range for the winning score.
The Big Drive:
I'll take a drive in the losing effort for a change. The Bills may have lost but their 12 play, 59 yard drive to a tying field goal was something to build on. The drive tied the game on Lindell's 50 yard field goal but Fitzpatrick was in command on the drive. He converted a fourth down play and two third downs on the game tying drive. The 16 yard pass to David Nelson on 4th and 7 kept the game alive. He also caught a nine yard pass on third and three while Stevie Johnson had a 12 yard catch on 3rd and 10.
Stat of the Game:
The Bills 262 yards in total offense in the first half surpassed their whole game average this season.
What You Don't See On The Stat Sheet:
Was the heart the Bills showed by not giving up when the Ravens took a 10 point lead into the fourth quarter. They battled back and didn't give up. The defense had three straight stops after giving up five straight scores.
- Interesting call to defer after winning the opening coin toss. They did force a three and out so it appeared to work but I would have liked to see some aggressiveness and take the ball.
- All the bounces seemed to go their way early. Fitzpatrick recovering Parrish's fumble. Recovering the fumbled kickoff and having deflections fall incomplete.
- Bounces started going against them late in the first half including three late reviews going against them and C.J. Spiller losing a fumble. Reggie Corner had a nice interception but landed on the receiver and not the ground so he was ruled out of bounds. Boldin had a third quarter fumble that happened just after he hit the ground.
- Two plays showed why the Ravens took control of the game temporarily in the third quarter. They stopped the Bills on 4th down while they converted a 4th down play on the ensuing drive.
For the first time this year my heart was pumping faster during a Bills game. It has been a long time since this team was exciting like this and even longer since they had a chance to beat a good team, and even longer than that since they beat an elite team on the road. I wouldn't allow myself to believe they had a chance to win until they got the ball back in overtime and started moving down the field. The second I started to BILLeve it felt apart thanks to the fourth turnover in the game. They had 506 total yards in offense but four turnovers on the road is way too much to overcome. It was nice to see this team not quit when they fell behind by 10 going into the fourth quarter and that gives them something to build on. Thanks to the Panthers win they are the last winless team but some people may now think they aren't as bad as originally thought.
It will be another tough spot for the Bills as they look for the elusive first win. They head to Kansas City to take on the much improved Chiefs who are battling for a division title.