Bryant's boot sends Falcons past Bills in Toronto
Toronto, ON (SportsNetwork.com) - Matt Bryant made a 36-yard field goal three minutes into overtime as the Atlanta Falcons took a 34-31 win over the Buffalo Bills at Rogers Centre.
Steven Jackson carried the ball 23 times for 84 yards and two touchdowns, while Matt Ryan was 28-for-47 for 311 yards and a touchdown for the Falcons (3-9), who snapped a five-game slide.
C.J. Spiller had his best game of the season, totaling 149 yards on 15 carries with a score, while Fred Jackson and E.J. Manuel also had a rushing touchdown for the Bills (4-8), who have lost four of five to fall out of the wild card chase. Manuel went 18-for-32 for 210 yards and a passed for another score.
"Obviously it was a tough game because both teams were going at each other pretty good there," said Buffalo head coach Doug Marrone. "There was a lot of back and forth there, and at the end we just weren't able to make a play there to pull it out."
Buffalo began overtime with the ball, and the second play saw Scott Chandler catch a pass on a crossing pattern and go up the right side. He had gained 22 yards when he had the ball punched out by William Moore, with Robert Alford recovering and eventually lateraling to Desmond Trufant, who took the ball to the Buffalo 42.
A 20-yard catch from Harry Douglas, was followed by runs of four and two yards from Steven Jackson before Bryant drilled the ball through the uprights for the win.
"Today was a reminder that football is the ultimate team game," said Falcons coach Mike Smith. "We needed every man in that locker room to get the win."
Atlanta's first possession of the second half saw the team take a 24-17 lead as Tony Gonzalez caught a pass just over the goal line for an 11-yard score. Douglas set up the score with a 14-yard touchdown catch, but his knee was ruled to have come down just inside the one and the score was reversed.
Buffalo had to punt on its next touch, but Ryan fumbled the ball and Buffalo recovered at the Atlanta 21.
The next play saw Fred Jackson catch a short pass out to the left, make a nifty move to get past a defender and take the ball in to tie the game with 6:01 to play in the third quarter.
Later in the fourth quarter, Buffalo took a 31-24 lead as Spiller took a handoff out to the right, made a slick move to get past the defense and went 36 yards for a score with 11:48 to play.
Getting the ball back with 4:26 to play at its own 35, Atlanta went on a long drive and faced a 1st-and-goal at the 5. Eventually looking at a third down from the 16, a pass to Douglas fell incomplete, but a pass interference gave the Falcons a fresh set of downs and Steven Jackson punched it in from a yard out to tie the game with 1:28 to play.
Buffalo had all its timeouts left and a 14-yard catch from Steven Johnson would have seen the team in scoring position near the Atlanta 30, but the ball was knocked out of his hands and Atlanta recovered to send the game to overtime.
Buffalo's first possession of the game paid off as Spiller took a handoff 77 yards to the Atlanta 6, setting up a 1-yard touchdown run by Manuel for a 7-0 lead four minutes in. The touchdown was originally ruled that Manuel was pushed out of bounds, but the review reversed the call.
The Bills' second touch also went for a score when Fred Jackson took a handoff up the middle and in from four yards out for a 14-0 lead with five minutes to play in the first quarter. The drive covered 63 yards over nine plays.
Atlanta answered on its next drive as Jackson took a handoff around the left side for a 27-yard score. The big play of the five-snap march saw Roddy White catch a pass for 19 yards with the team getting 15 more on a roughing the passer call.
Buffalo extended its lead to 17-7 on a 29-yard field goal from Dan Carpenter with 7:24 to play in the first half, but Atlanta countered with a 38-yard running score by Antone Smith with 4:49 left in the first half.
After a three-and-out from the Bills, the Falcons got into scoring position and Bryant hit a 49-yarder as time expired to send the game into the break tied at 17-17.
White finished the game with 10 catches for 143 yards ... Atlanta held the ball for over 38 minutes and just edged Buffalo in the yardage battle, 423-405 ... Buffalo fell to 1-5 in its games in Toronto since starting play there in 2008 ... Buffalo plays at Tampa Bay on Sunday ... Atlanta plays at Green Bay next Sunday ... Atlanta has won four straight against Buffalo, and leads the series 7-4.
12/01 22:49:26 ET
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