Lindell Seals Bills’ 35-32 OT Win Over Jaguars

Lindell’s kick came after Jacksonville’s Josh Scobee missed a 53-yard attempt. It was a back-and-forth game in which Buffalo squandered a 17-point first half lead and had to overcome a 15-point second-half deficit.

With much of the crowd gone by halftime, Tyler Thigpen forced overtime by hitting Paul Hubbard on a 4-yard touchdown pass with 38 seconds left. The two hooked up again for a 2-point conversion.

Not that many were left watching in a game in which much of the crowd had left by halftime, the starters sat the bench and the game was approaching its fourth hour.

Both teams are 1-2.

It was the NFL’s first preseason overtime game since Aug. 16, 2008, when Seattle beat Chicago 29-26. That one was at least decided early, when Brandon Coutu hit a field goal 3:28 into the extra frame.

The Bills appeared ready to blow the game open in the first half when their Ryan Fitzpatrick-led offense finally showed spark — and a quick-strike dimension — in building a 17-0 lead.

In completing his first 11 attempts, Fitzpatrick threw touchdowns passes on consecutive plays — an 11-yarder to Marcus Easley and a 52-yarder to Stevie Johnson — 65 seconds apart in the second quarter. He finished going 11 of 12 for 165 yards passing in four series, and a kneeldown, through the first half.

That more than doubled the 88 yards Fitzpatrick had in six series through Buffalo’s first two preseason. The two touchdowns were the first scored by the Bills’ starters this preseason, and the 17 points in the first half were 4 more than Buffalo managed in its first two weeks.

“We’ve said all along, we wanted to carry over what we’ve been doing in practice onto the game field, and I think we did a good job of that today,” Fitzpatrick said.

Jacksonville quarterback David Garrard overcame a slow start by producing 17 points on his final three series. Playing mostly against the Bills second-string defense, Garrard scored on a 4-yard run and then engineered a 10-play, 76-yard scoring drive capped by Brock Bolen’s 2-yard run to open the third quarter.

Garrard finished 11 of 21 for 106 yards in his second start, while both touchdown drives where helped by lengthy pass-interference penalties — a 20-yarder against Drayton Florence and a 31-yarder against Reggie Corner.

The Jaguars took 24-17 lead with 4:53 left in the third quarter when linebacker Jacob Cutrera intercepted Thigpen’s pass and returned it 16 yards.

Rookie first-round pick Blaine Gabbert had an inconsistent outing for Jacksonville. He went 6 of 13 for 52 yards with an 11-yard touchdown pass to DuJuan Harris and an interception.

Linebacker Paul Posluszny had six tackles in his first game against the Bills since signing with Jacksonville in free agency last month. Though Posluszny was beaten by Jackson on a 30-yard catch up the left sideline in the first quarter. Posluszny responded by stuffing Jackson for a 1-yard loss on third-and-goal from the 1 to force the Bills to settle for Rian Lindell’s opening 21-yard field goal.

Bills running back Fred Jackson backed up his off-the-field comments with a strong showing. He finished with 33 yards rushing and a 30-yard catch to cap a week that began with Jackson questioning whether the Bills had disrespected him by starting C.J. Spiller in a 24-10 loss at Denver last weekend.

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Bills Lose WR Parrish, LB Davis to Injuries

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. Not only have the been losing games, they just lost two significant players to injuries.

Starting receiver Roscoe Parrish won’t play again this season after sustaining a right wrist injury in Buffalo’s 22-19 loss to the Chicago Bears in Toronto on Sunday, and starting inside linebacker Andra Davis is done for the year because of a nagging shoulder injury that he originally sustained in the season-opening loss to Miami.

Parrish, who finished with 33 catches and a career-high 400 receiving yards, will need surgery to repair the damage.

“You don’t just replace guys that have been that productive,” coach Chan Gailey said Monday. “It’s an opportunity for somebody else to step up.”

Parrish was hurt on Buffalo’s next to last drive. On third-and-10 from the Chicago 44 with 2:31 left in regulation, he dove along the right sidelines to try and haul in Ryan Fitzpatrick’s pass, and wound up falling awkwardly on the wrist.

It’s the same wrist that forced Parrish to miss the first six games of his rookie season in 2005 when he broke it during training camp.

Parrish’s injury is a blow to an offense that has been improving. The diminutive receiver had emerged as a solid option for Fitzpatrick after a forgettable 2009 in which he had only three receptions. Parrish was also Buffalo’s best punt returner, averaging just under 11 yards on 12 returns this year. He came into the season with the fourth-highest punt return average (12.2 yards) in NFL history.

Gailey said the team will consider all of its options before either promoting Naaman Roosevelt, a Buffalo native, or Paul Hubbard from the practice squad, or simply signing a free agent to replace Parrish.

“We’ll see what the best fit might be for us at this point,” Gailey said.

Davis missed two games because of his shoulder injury, including Sunday’s loss to Chicago. The nine-year NFL veteran signed with the Bills this offseason to serve as the defensive play-caller as the team made the switch to a 3-4 defense.

The damaging news comes a day after Buffalo dropped to 0-8, the worst start since losing 11 straight to open the 1984 campaign. Fitzpatrick, though, has been part of a second-half turnaround, and thinks history can repeat itself.

In 2008, he played on a team that lost its first eight games, but the Bengals were able to salvage some respectability by going 4-3-1 over their final eight. That recovery helped set the tone for a 2009 campaign in which they won the AFC North at 10-6.

“This team, at least from an offensive standpoint, is probably more talented,” Fitzpatrick said when asked of the similarities between the two winless clubs. “That’s something that I look as a positive. We haven’t given up on the season.”

To the Bills credit, they haven’t rolled over in their last three gut-wrenching losses that included two straight overtime defeats. But one can’t take away the “bumbling” description when talking about the Bills quite yet, as big turnovers at inopportune times have kept victory No. 1 from their grasp.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever been through something like this in my career,” receiver Lee Evans said. “It’s trying on you mentally and physically.”

Notes: The Bills also signed RB Quinton Ganther and released RB Andre Anderson and practice squad RB Rodney Ferguson Monday. Ganther has 262 yards rushing on 71 carries in 28 career NFL games. He was released by Seattle last Tuesday. … Sunday’s game against the will be the first played in Buffalo since the Bills lost 36-26 to the on Oct. 10. … Newly acquired LB Shawne Merriman said on Monday that he expects to practice Wednesday. The team didn’t practice on Monday. … Receiver Steve Johnson had his franchise-tying five-game touchdown reception streak snapped. … Fitzpatrick has thrown a touchdown strike in nine straight games dating back to last season, the longest franchise TD stretch since threw at least one pass for a score in 10 consecutive games in 2002.

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