The Falcons made the Bills unravel in Buffalo’s home away from home.
Atlanta took advantage of two fumbles to pull out a 34-31 win on Matt Bryant’s 36-yard field goal 3 minutes into overtime in Buffalo’s annual home game at Toronto on Sunday.
Falcons safety William Moore set up the decisive score in a back-and-forth game by forcing a fumble on Buffalo’s second play in the extra period. He punched the ball out of the arms of Bills tight end Scott Chandler. The fumble was recovered by Robert Alford, who then lateraled it to Desmond Trufant, who returned it to Buffalo’s 47.
Cornerback Robert McClain also forced a fumble on the Bills’ final possession of regulation, when he knocked the ball out of the hands of receiver Stevie Johnson at the Falcons 30 with 20 seconds remaining.
Steven Jackson scored twice, including a 1-yard plunge with 1:28 left for the Falcons (3-9). Atlanta snapped a five-game skid and won for the first time in six road games this season. Antone Smith also scored on a 38-yard run, while Tony Gonzalez scored on an 11-yard pass from Matt Ryan.
Bryant also made a 49-yarder that tied the game at 17 at the end of the half.
The Bills (4-8) pretty much are out of playoff contention for a 14th straight season, extending the NFL’s longest active streak. They will also finish their ninth straight season without a winning record.
Fred Jackson scored twice for Buffalo. Fellow running back C.J. Spiller had 149 yards rushing and a score.
The Bills squandered a 14-0 lead and were unable to hang on while ahead 31-24 against an opponent already eliminated from playoff contention.
Jackson’s score came a play after Bills cornerback Nickell Robey was flagged for interfering with Harry Douglas in the end zone. The penalty came with Atlanta facing third-and-goal from 11.
Atlanta receiver Roddy White had 10 catches for 143 yards to nearly double his season total. Ryan went 28 of 47 for 311 yards and a touchdown.
There was plenty of entertainment in the sixth installment of the yearly Bills In Toronto series at the domed Rogers Center.
The Beach Boys, minus leader Brian Wilson, played the halftime show, and even embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford showed up, causing a stir late in the first quarter. Ford, who has admitted to smoking crack cocaine in a “drunken stupor,” arrived with just over five minutes left wearing a No. 22 Fred Jackson jersey just as Buffalo’s running back scored on a 4-yard run.
Few fans at midfield in the first level behind the Falcons’ bench saw the score, with many of them fixated on Ford’s arrival. Ford was flanked by his two personal security guards and with police officers and stadium security nearby. As he settled into his VIP-section seat, he was spotted munching on — what else? — a Buffalo chicken wing.
And as in the past, the series continues to have difficulty generating buzz in Toronto or draw a full house. The announced paid attendance was 38,969, well short of the stadium’s NFL capacity of 46,470, not including suites. There were large pockets of empty seats in the upper bowl.
Also familiar was a larger-than-usual contingent of visiting team fans — with numerous people wearing Falcons gear — and fans wearing other NFL team colors. There were even jerseys of Buffalo’s AFC East rivals, New England and Miami.
The Falcons made the Bills unravel in Buffalo’s home away from home.
Breese closes career with second straight title
Sam Breese now knows how it feels to be perfect.
Breese finished with an undefeated season record of 35-0, with win No. 35 being the sweetest one of all.
The Lakeview senior stared into the face of the pressure that comes with defending a title, and made the Giant Center in Hershey feel like home. Undeniable talent and an incredible determination are the hallmarks of Breese’s approach to wrestling, and for the second straight year, he can call himself a champion.
McLane’s Wheeling comes up short in final
On a night when six wrestlers repeated as PIAA Class AAA champions, Chance Marsteller and Thomas Haines stole the show.
Marsteller, of Kennard-Dale, and Haines, of Solanco, became the 11th and 12th four-time gold-medal winners in Pennsylvania history. Marsteller (166-0) also is the first four-time champion to complete his career without a loss since Cary Kolat (1989-92) and the fourth overall.
Serra outlasts Cardinals
For the second time in as many days a basketball team from Cochranton High School played a private school from the WPIAL, put forth a valiant fight, but ultimately had its heart broken.
On Friday, it was the Cochranton boys team, which fell to Vincentian Academy 95-85.
Breese lone local to reach Class AA finals
A busy and entertaining Day 2 of wrestling at the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships in Hershey came and went, as did the dreams of a gold medal for a handful of local wrestlers.
The one local wrestler that doesn’t apply to is Lakeview’s Sam Breese, who had the Giant Center crowd in aw during his two matches Friday. The two bouts equated to two wins, which means a shot a defending his championship.
Lee, Wheeling survive Day 2 in Hershey
Ehrin Lee’s smile following his quarterfinal win Friday at the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships told the whole story.
Lee has had his eyes on the state championships all season long, and just getting there wasn’t enough. The Titusville 160-pounder has wrestled like one of the best grapplers in the state during the tournament thus far, and his 3-2 overtime win over Northampton’s Bobby Fehr proved that if nothing else, he’s one of the four best wrestlers in his weight class.
Cards can’t slow Vincentian
The starters on the Cochranton boys basketball team probably slept like logs on Friday night.
They left every ounce on the hardwood of Meadville High School’s House of Thrills, going up against the high-intensity attack of Vincentian Academy in the opening round of the PIAA Class A playoffs.
McLane rolls past Neshannock
Sarah Jay has made a habit of presenting her players with in depth scouting reports prior to each and every game.
But the report she handed them on Neshannock, the Lady Lancers’ first round opponent in the PIAA Class AA playoffs, was nothing like they had seen before.
Class AA first round filled with highs, lows for locals
It was a day full of highs and lows for the 11 local Class AA wrestlers on the opening day of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships in Hershey.
For some, it was business as usual, and for others, the atmosphere of a crowded Giant Center proved to be a little much. By the time the preliminary and Round 1 consolation rounds were finished, eight wrestlers are still alive, with state wrestling experience proving to be invaluable Thursday morning.
Lee, Wheeling stay in hunt for Class AAA state title
A win is a win, and when it comes to the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships, as long as your score reads higher in the end, it really doesn’t matter how you get there.
During the preliminary round of the tournament Thursday afternoon at the Giant Center in Hershey, the six local qualifiers certainly had mixed results, but in the end, two wrestlers are still in the championship bracket, exactly where they want to be.
Cards look to slow down Vincentian
“The best way to sum it up is,” said Cochranton head coach Scott McCurdy, “it’s like they’re down five and there are 30 seconds to go. Only, they play like that for the entire 32 minutes.”
McCurdy is talking about the Vincentian Academy boys basketball team, which employs a style that’s ... well ... calling it up-tempo just doesn’t seem to suffice.
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