Bills 16, Cowboys 6 ... and how we got there on Sunday in Buffalo ...
Buffalo's ninth drive of the game summarized the kind of season the Cowboys defense, and frankly the entire team, had been having in 2015. On third-and-6 from the Buffalo 12-yard line, quarterback Tyrod Taylor scrambled out of his own end zone to break three tackles to gain seven yards and keep the Bills drive alive. On third-and-1, running back Karlos Williams gained two yards as Buffalo continued to salt the game away with their 9-6 lead and 3:25 to play. With each running play, time continued to melt and Dallas timeouts burned.
On second-and-5 from the 50, Bills running back Mike Gillislee took the equivalent of all the Dead Sea to salt the game with his 50-yard touchdown run, the longest of the year against the Dallas defense. A Dan Carpenter extra point made it 16-6 with 2:34 to play.
An improbable Dallas comeback was halted when undrafted rookie returner Lucky Whitehead fumbled the kickoff at the Dallas 25-yard line. The Bills recovered and sent the Cowboys back to the Metroplex ...
... Slowly, however -- as the flight was delayed and re-routed to Houston -- with a 4-11 record and a better shot at a top-5 pick.
The pride of Boise State, quarterback Kellen Moore, posted a 48.6 passer rating as he completed 13 passes on 31 attempts for 186 yards and an interception. The Bills were unable to sack him on the afternoon. Cowboys running back Darren McFadden fell short of reaching the century mark as he had in two straight previous weeks, and three yards short of 1,000 yards rushing, as he carried the ball 19 times for 99 yards. His backup, Robert Turbin, had 23 yards on five carries.
The Dallas receiving corps, which did not feature Dez Bryant, inactive with foot and ankle injuries, had a decent outing. Receiver Brice Butler caught four passes for 74 yards, and receiver Terrance Williams caught four passes for 62 yards. Receiver Cole Beasley battled the flu, but still managed to grab two balls for 29 yards.
Linebacker Sean Lee, coming off a Pro Bowl snub, had 15 combined tackles on the evening, the most for both teams. He also combined with defensive end Greg Hardy for a half-sack. Linebacker Rolando McClain and defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence each had a sack.
Second-year cornerback Deji Olawaye picked off a Taylor throw to end the first half, and cornerback Brandon Carr recovered a fumble forced by safety Barry Church.
Taylor finishd the game going 13/18 for 179 and interception and gained 67 yards on the ground on 14 attempts. Gillislee led the Bills with 93 yards and a touchdown on nine carries, while Karlos Williams had 76 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.
Receiver Sammy Watkins led Buffalo with five catches for 84 yards, and receiver Chris Hogan caught two passes for 39 yards.
Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey made two of his three field goal attempts, his lone miss being of 50 yards. Bills kicker Dan Carpenter missed an extra point, his fifth of the season.
So you get Fish's "Organic Tanking'' concept (don't lose on purpose but lose to benefit the franchise in terms of the schedule and the draft), you get a chance to evaluate some kids, and you get a broken arm for Barry Church, the sort of thing that just happens to this team this year.
Ready to evaluate it all, Stephen Jones?
"We're worried about the Washington Redskins,'' the COO said. "Next question."
Bailey nails a 46-yard field goal with 9:45 to go in the first quarter to give Dallas a 3-0 lead.
Williams scores on a one-yard touchdown run with 48 seconds to go in the first quarter, but Carpenter misses the extra point to make it only a 6-3 Bills lead.
Bailey hits a 22-yard field goal with 5:25 to go in the second quarter to tie the game at 6-6.
Carpenter hits a 32-yard field goal with 6:17 to go in the third quarter to give Buffalo a 9-6 lead.
Gillislee scored a 50-yard touchdown run with 2:34 to go in the fourth quarter to established a 16-6 final score.
Greg Hardy's half-sack gets him six for the season. Two more will land him a bonus, jumping him to eight and to a $500,000 check.
Receiver Brice Butler set a career high in targets (seven), catches (four), and yards (74) in today's game.
Sean Lee leads the Cowboys with 10 tackles for loss.
DeMarcus Lawrence's eight sacks on the season leads the team.
The only two cornerbacks to have interceptions on the Cowboys are Terrance Mitchell and Deji Olatoye. In Week One, Mitchell was with the Bears and Olatoye on the Dallas practice squad.
The Cowboys now lead the NFL with three offsides on kickoffs.
All three of the Cowboys Pro Bowl offensive linemen committed a penalty today: Tyron Smith, Zack Martin with false starts and Travis Frederick with a hold. On top of that, Dan Bailey managed to miss a 50-yard field goal.
Rolando McClain now has two sacks for 2015, the second-most he has recorded in a single season. His career high is five set with Oakland in 2011.
"Has it been perfect?,'' said coordinator Scott Linehan of Moore, putting a very rosy pair of glasses on this one. "No. ... But he's moved this football team and I’ve been extremely happy with that.”