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Bills Fall In Houston 21-9
Bills play tough but red zone woes thwarts upset bid.
by Steve Saslow
Week 9
Bills   9
Texans  21
Gameday Grades
The Skinny:
Matt Schaub threw two touchdown passes and Arian Foster ran for one as the Texans defeated the Bills 21-9. The Buffalo Offense got into the red zone three times but failed to put the ball into the end zone. Rian Lindell hit three field goals from 22, 39, and 38 yards out after missing his first attempt as that was the whole offense for the Bills. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 239 yards completing 25 of 38 passes but he fumbled the ball away as the Bills tried a late comeback. C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson each carried the ball only six times in the loss. Spiller finished with 102 total yards rushing and receiving.

The Turning Point:
The Bills went three and out on three straight incompletions twice in third quarter. That helped breathe some extra life into the Texans who responded both times with touchdown drives.

The Big Drive:
The Texans got the breathing room they needed early in the fourth quarter when they finished a 68 yard touchdown drive in 11 plays that took 6:30 to open up a 21-9 lead. Schaub completed passes of 12, 14, and 18 yards before finding Garrett Graham for a five yard touchdown on third and goal. Schaub had all day to throw before Graham came open.

Stat I Did Like:
Fitpatrick's 1st half passing stats: 14 of 17 for 144 yards no TDs, no INTs.

Stat I Didn't Like:
In the first half they had three trips in the red zone and came away with six points. They took zero shots at the end zone.

Quick Slants:
- Former President George H.W. Bush was an honorary captain for the game and handled the coin toss. It allowed Bills captains the honor of shaking the hands of a former president. The Texans won the toss and elected to receive.
- The Bills tried a bloop kickoff to start the game but the Texans recovered and started the opening drive at their own 26.
- Not a good start for the kickers. Lindell missed from 37 yards and then Alex Carrington blocked his 2nd field goal of the year when he got Shayne Graham's 46 yard attempt. Lindell got much better hitting his next three attempts.
- The Bills normally play sides at cornerback but started moving Stephon Gilmore around with Andre Johnson in the second half after Aaron Williams got hurt.

Key Matchup Results:
The winners of the battles highlighted in our preview article:
RT Chris Hairston vs. DE J.J. Watt: Winner: Watt. Hairston moved to the right side to replace the injured Pears and had a huge challenge against Watt. He wasn't awful but Watt did make a lot of plays.
DE Mario Williams vs. RT Derek Newton: Winner: Williams. He was motivated against his former club and did decent but wasn't dominant at all.
CB Stephon Gilmore vs. WR Andre Johnson: Winner: Johnson. He owned Williams and Gilmore dominating the game against both corners. Gilmore gave him too much room at the line of scrimmage. He did knock down a pass in the end zone.
WR Stevie Johnson vs. CB Kareem Jackson: Winner: Jackson. He got help from Joseph and the fact that Johnson was hampered by his hip injury hindered his play.

Keys To The Game Results:
How the keys highlighted in our preview article turned out:
1. Mario Williams: Failure! He was definitely more of a factor than recent weeks but wasn't enough of a factor.
2. Slow down Foster: Failure! They did well against him in stretches but he took over the game at points to finishing with 111 yards.
3. Get The Ball To RBs: Failure! They were in love with the passing game as both Jackson and Spiller carried the ball only six times each and both caught five passes.

My Take:
The Bills at least showed up but like I said earlier in the week it was a near impossible matchup. The Bills just don't have the talent to hang with the AFC's beat team. I was interested to see if the Bills would just give up at the end but they seemed to play hard to the end. So could this even come close to being declared a moral victory? No way, after 12 years of not making the playoffs there are no more moral victories. They played tough and didn't give up on defense but they just couldn't make any big plays on offense.

What's Ahead:
It doesn't get any easier for the floundering Bills as they head to New England next week to play the Patriots in a building that they have never won in.

  • C.J. Spiller - He had 39 yards rushing and 63 receiving on just 11 touches of the football.
  • Rian Lindell - He scored all nine points going 3 for 4 on field goal attempts.

  • Goats
  • Fred Jackson - He also had the same 11 touches Spiller had but just gained 35 total yards.
  • Aaron Williams - He was just horrendous in coverage again.
  • Stephon Gilmore - He was timid in coverage and was beaten a lot. He also didn't tackle well and let an interception go off his hands.

  • Player Of The Week
  • C.J. Spiller - Imagine was kind of game he could have had if they gave him the ball.

  • Positional Breakdown and Grades Gamebook
    Texans Game Preview
    Gameday Homepage

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