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Bills Hold On To Beat Eagles 31-24
Defense forces five turnovers as Bills hold off late rally.
by Steve Saslow
Week 5
Eagles  24
Bills  31
Gameday Grades
The Skinny:
Nick Barnett intercepted Michael Vick with 1:49 to help end the Eagles feverish comeback attempt and give the Bills a hard fought 31-24 win. The game was clinched when the Bills drew the Eagles offsides on 4th and inches when the Bills weren't going to snap the ball. That was Barnett's second pick of the day, his first was returned for a touchdown and gave the Bills a 21-7 halftime lead. They upped the lead to 28-7 on a Brad Smith touchdown run early in the third before the Eagles started coming back. The Bills defense used their tried and true formula as they gave up a ton of yards and points but forced five turnovers to hold on for the victory. Fred Jackson led the way with 111 rushing yards and 85 through the air including a touchdown run of his own. Ryan Fitzpatrick used a short passing game after losing his deep threat Donald Jones to an injury. Fitz hit 21 of 27 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown pass to David Nelson. Corey McIntyre and Kyle Williams also got banged up in the win.

The Turning Point:
There were many as has been the case most of the season. You could take either of Barnett's interceptions but we will take his second one. It appeared a foregone conclusion that the Eagles would tie the game up on their final drive but Barnett's pick was huge. Drayton Florence helped strip it from the receiver.

The Big Drive:
Tough to pick one but we will go with the Bills opening possession of the third quarter. They took the second half kickoff and went 80 yards in 10 plays to Smith's five yard touchdown run out of the wildcat. Naaman Roosevelt caught two passes for 23 yards on the drive including a third down conversion. That touchdown proved to be the clincher.

Stat of the Game:
Takeaways: Five more takeaways by the Bills defense. They may give up a lot of yards but they have the nose for the football.

What You Don't See On The Stat Sheet:
Was another fine performance by the offensive line. Particularly rookie Chris Hairston who did a good job in pass protection and did some nice things in opening up runs to the outside. .

Quick Slants:
- The Bills continue to convert takeaways into points. After an opening possession interception the Bills went 54 yards in 7 plays, 6 runs by Jackson to opening score.
- Their second interception resulted in a punt, only the 2nd time this year they didn't convert a takeaway into points.
- Jackson got 66 of the 77 yards on the Bills second touchdown drive.
- The drawing a team offsides never works! I don't remember another time I have seen a team lineup to draw the defense offsides and they bite. It's no wonder why the Eagles are 1-4 with all that talent.

My Take:
The Eagles have more talent and thoroughly outgained the Bills. In the past the Bills lose these games but the defense forced five turnovers and the breaks seem to be going their way, the bounces seem to go right to them. There definitely seems to be something magical about this season so far especially at the Ralph which has become a magical place over the first five games of the season. Even the weather has been magical. How else can you explain when a defense gives up over 450 yards four weeks in a row and they won three of those games? I guess their is nothing else to do but to sit back and enjoy the ride.

What's Ahead:
The Bills try to continue the ride when they head to the Meadowlands for the first of two trips to New Jersey this year. The Giants will be ready after getting upset at home by Seattle this week.


  • Fred Jackson - He was featured in the offense and he was their main weapon.
  • Nick Barnett - Two interceptions and one returned for a touchdown.
  • George Wilson - He was everywhere on the field, playing all over the field and many different positions. He had 11 tackles, three passes defensed, a QB hit, interception, and a tackle for loss.
  • Jairus Byrd - He had eight tackles and a forced fumble that he recovered. He was the hardest hitter on the field.

  • Goats
  • Danny Batten - He had a boneheaded face mask penalty that kept an Eagles drive going. He had no tackles.

  • Player Of The Week
  • Fred Jackson - He combined for 196 of the team's 331 yards offensively.

  • Positional Breakdown and Grades Gamebook
    Eagles Game Preview
    Gameday Homepage

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