Buffalo hassles Cassel, wins 16-10

Drayton Florence (Getty Images)

It was not pretty, but the Bills improved to 5-8 Sunday. The defense forced Matt Cassel into four interceptions and the rushing attack wore down Kansas City's 'D' for the win...

This week, bad didn't turn to worse.

In a game full of miscues, odd play-calling and seven turnovers, the Buffalo Bills held on. Barely. Jairus Byrd and George Wilson each intercepted passes to halt Kansas City's last two scoring drives.

And the Bills squeaked out a 16-10 win.

For Buffalo, the game was won on defense where it harassed Matt Cassel all day. The two-headed rushing attack of Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch nearly eclipsed 200 yards and the Chiefs fizzled late. In all, Buffalo picked off Cassel four times to earn a one-week exhale.

All season, the Bills (5-8) have struggled to hold onto wins late. Seven times this year, Buffalo has lost when it was within a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Despite a few scares in this one — including a career day by Jamaal Charles (143 yards, touchdown) — the Bills held on.

One week after getting benched, Cassel was miserable again. Sunday was a new low point for Kansas City's life-savings investment. Cassel overthrew Mark Bradley twice on long potential touchdowns, was sacked four times and had the four picks — the most by a Kansas City quarterback at home since Steve DeBerg threw four on Nov. 17, 1991.

Ryan Fitzpatrick wasn't much better. The Bills' starter threw for only 86 yards and had a grimacing interception in the end zone. This game, Buffalo didn't kid itself into being a pass-first team. Buffalo leaned on its running game and wore down a woeful Chiefs defense. Jackson grinded out 99 yards on 20 carries and Lynch added 84 on 12 attempts.

Outside of the inexplicable decision to throw the ball on Fitzpatrick's pick, the Bills were committed to the ground game in this one. Buffalo ran 35 times and passed on only 20 plays.

Most of the same old problems haunted the Bills. Failing to punch in scoring drives, a porous rush defense and head-scratching plays topped the list. But one thing did not change — the secondary's knockout play.

Byrd thwarted a late Chiefs drive by picking off Cassel's tipped fourth-down pass with just over two minutes left. On the play prior, Chris Chambers dropped a pass that would have given the Chiefs the ball at the two- or three-yard line. Instead, a 12-play marathon drive was stoned.

After a Bills punt, Cassel's desperation heave was picked by Wilson. Paul Posluszny and Terrence McGee had the other two picks.

Jackson's 20 carries were the most he has received since getting 28 in Week Two against Tampa Bay. Finally named the team's No. 1 back, Jackson weaved through the Chiefs' ‘D' all day, as Lynch's 47-yard run sparked Buffalo's lone touchdown drive. Fitzpatrick's nine-yard touchdown pass to Terrell Owens capped a 92-yard drive in the first quarter.

thdunne@gmail.com

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