TORONTO, ONTARIO CANDADA ( By: Chris Brown Lead Journalist www.buffalobills.com)
Bills head coach Chan Gailey said the pass rush was the team’s top priority in the bye week with just four sacks in their first six games. On Sunday at the Rogers Centre Buffalo’s defensive front dominated dropping Washington’s John Beck a season-high nine times. A pair of touchdown receptions by Scott Chandler proved to be more than enough in a 23-0 victory for the Bills over the Redskins.
The Bills got on the board first putting together an efficient eight-play 80-yard drive. David Nelson got the series off to a good start with a 26-yard reception over the middle to move Buffalo out near midfield. Mixing in a steady diet of Fred Jackson the Bills moved into the red zone. Ryan Fitzpatrick then hit Scott Chandler, who gained late separation along the near sideline, and just ducked the football inside the pylon for a 20-yard scoring play (7-0).
A fumbled snap by Ryan Fitzpatrick early in the second quarter, which was recovered by Brian Orakpo gave Washington a prime scoring opportunity at Buffalo’s 31-yard line. But John Beck was sacked on first down by Arthur Moats and Nick Barnett putting the Redskins in long down and distance. A safety blitz got the Bills another sack on 3rd-and-16 as Jairus Byrd came off the back side to force a field goal attempt.
Spencer Johnson would be the next defender to step forward as he blocked Graham Gano’s 49-yard field goal attempt to keep the Bills up a touchdown.
Buffalo’s offense was then the beneficiary of a pass interference penalty as Josh Wilson was called for pass interference on a deep ball intended for C.J. Spiller down the far sideline. The 34-yard penalty was crucial as the Bills drive stalled leading to a 37-yard Rian Lindell field goal for a 10-0 lead with just under nine minutes left in the half.
After the defense sent Washington’s sputtering offense three-and-out for the third time in the half, the offense methodically moved the ball into Redskins territory before Fitzpatrick hit Naaman Roosevelt on an inside slant play for 22 yards to set up 1st-and-goal at the Washington nine-yard line. However, the drive would produce no points as Fitzpatrick’s late throw over the middle intended for Stevie Johnson was picked off in the end zone by London Fletcher.
The defense again sent the Redskins three-and-out thanks in large part to a Dwan Edwards sack, the fourth of the half for the Bills matching their season total.
With just over a minute left the Bills with a pair of timeouts had a chance to put points on the board. Fitzpatrick gunned a pass on 1st-and-10 play from the 31 to Fred Jackson, who took off for 46 yards into Redskins territory. But Fitzpatrick was drilled as he delivered the ball by a blitzing London Fletcher and shaken up on the play.
After an injury timeout he did stay in the game, but time ran out on Buffalo as Fitzpatrick had to quickly spike the ball on 3rd-and-8 at the Washington 21. With two seconds on the clock, Lindell put a 44-yard attempt through for a 13-0 halftime edge.
Fred Jackson apparently rested well at the half because on the first play from scrimmage to start the second half, he burst through the line on an off tackle play and rumbled 43 yards to the Washington 37. Six plays later Fitzpatrick threw a beautiful touch pass to the back left corner of the end zone where Scott Chandler ran under it for his second touchdown of the game. Lindell’s extra point made it 20-0 Buffalo early in the third quarter.
With his second touchdown reception Chandler tied the Bills franchise mark for most touchdowns in a season by a tight end with six (Pete Metzelaars 1992, Jay Riemersma 1998).
Buffalo’s defensive front continued to make life miserable for the John Beck as he rarely had time to set up in the pocket. He was dropped three more times in the second half as the Redskins did not have a possession last more than eight plays in the game.
George Wilson ended an early fourth quarter Washington possession with an interception on a pass intended for Fred Davis at midfield. Jairus Byrd then followed on the next Redskins series picking off a pass to the end zone after Donte Stallworth fell down on the play.
The Bills had a chance to add to their lead midway through the fourth quarter, but Lindell’s 44-yard field goal attempt hit the right upright.
Buffalo is now 5-2 on the season. They host the division rival New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium next Sunday.
Watch for highlights from the Rogers Centre in Toronto on Channel 7's Eyewitness Sports, Your Official Station Of The Buffalo Bills.