Bills Rally to Beat Raiders 38-35

After a wild back-and-forth fourth quarter, Ryan Fitzpatrick found David Nelson wide open on fourth down for a 6-yard touchdown pass with 14 seconds left to secure a 38-35 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

“I don’t know what happened, but I think they misaligned to be honest,” Fitzpatrick said, in noting how wide open Nelson was over the middle. “I was lucky enough to see it.”

Chalk it up to luck, pluck and resilience, because the Bills are showing they’re improved.

A week after a convincing 41-7 win at Kansas City, the Fitzpatrick-led offense had a 35-point second half in overcoming a 21-3 first-half deficit.

Buffalo scored touchdowns on each of its five second-half possessions as the teams traded the lead five times in the final 14:10.

Fitzpatrick went 28 of 46 for 264 yards and three touchdowns, while running back Fred Jackson scored twice in the Bills’ home opener.

“I can’t recall one quite like that,” Bills coach Chan Gailey said. “It was an amazing gut-check by our football team. What they did coming out of halftime was really amazing.”

The Raiders (1-1) saw the result from a different perspective in squandering a chance to open a season at 2-0 for the first time since 2002.

“Not a whole lot to say other than that effort isn’t going to be good enough,” defensive tackle Richard Seymour said. “We didn’t seem to give the offense any help in the second half. That’s on us. It isn’t good enough.”

The 38 points were the most allowed by Oakland in a loss since a 43-37 defeat to Seattle in 1998. And they allowed 481 yards — 326 in the second half — and 34 first downs.

“Good job by them, bad job by us,” Raiders coach Hue Jackson said. “When it’s all said and done, we did not finish the game.”

And yet, the Raiders nearly pulled off an improbable comeback of their own.

From his own 44, Jason Campbell threw a desperation pass into the end zone, that was intercepted by rookie cornerback Da’Norris Searcy, who outwrestled receiver Denarius Moore for the ball.

Campbell went 23 of 33 for 323 yards and two touchdowns. Darren McFadden scored twice in finishing with 72 yards rushing and 71 receiving. Moore had five catches for 146 yards and a touchdown in filling in for an injury-depleted receiving group that was down three starters, including Darrius Heyward-Bey (knee).

As if the game needed any more drama, officials required 10 minutes to review the final play — Searcy’s interception — to determine the call on the field was correct. Referee Mike Carey returned to a near-empty stadium to announce the interception had in fact stood.

Seymour didn’t think the call would be overturned, and then lamented: “We had opportunities and didn’t take advantage of them. That’s the bottom line.”

Two plays before Nelson’s decisive score, cornerback Chris Johnson dropped an interception in the Raiders’ end zone on a pass intended for Donald Jones.

“The game would’ve been over,” Johnson said. “I take this loss for the team today.”

There was also no excusing how the Raiders left Nelson to slip free over the middle.

The Bills looked down and out after a dreadful first half which ended with Oakland’s Tyvon Branch blocking Rian Lindell’s 39-yard field goal attempt.

Buffalo then came out running in the third quarter, as Jackson opened the scoring on a 43-yard run.

Then came the offense from both teams at the start of the fourth quarter.

Jackson gave the Bills their first lead, 24-21, on a 1-yard run 50 seconds into the fourth quarter.

The Raiders responded five minutes later, as McFadden caught a swing pass to the right and rumbled in from 12 yards.

Buffalo went up 31-28 with 4:48 left when Fitzpatrick capped a nine-play, 80-yard drive with a 6-yard pass to tight end Scott Chandler.

Back came the Raiders, who regained the lead 1:07 later when Campbell hit Moore on a 50-yard pass over the middle.

Fitzpatrick then led a 14-play, 80-yard drive in which he twice converted on fourth down.

“Determination,” said receiver Stevie Johnson, who scored on a 7-yard catch. “We had the determination. Everybody was just a unit. We came out and did what we had to do.”

Searcy, certainly wasn’t going to let anyone take the interception away. Not Moore, who got a hand on the ball, or the officials.

“Once I grabbed it, I told myself nobody’s going grab it away from me,” Searcy said.

Notes: Bills owner Ralph Wilson was unable to attend his first home opener in the team’s 52-year history because he’s recovering from a broken hip. Wilson watched the game from his home in suburban Detroit. … Wilson did provide a videotaped tribute at halftime, when former defensive lineman Phil Hansen was inducted on the Bills’ Wall of Fame. … According to STATS LLC, the 35 points were the most allowed by the Raiders in a second half. … Discipline continues to play a factor against the Raiders. After being flagged 15 times for 131 yards against the Broncos, they had eight penalties for 85 yards against Buffalo.

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Jets’ Revis Brushes Aside Rare Off Game vs. Bills

Not against receivers catching passes against him. And, certainly not against critics.

It was so rare to see Buffalo’s Stevie Johnson beat the New York Jets cornerback for catch after catch last Sunday that some were left wondering: What’s wrong with Revis?

Well, absolutely nothing.

“The standards are so high because of how just ridiculously consistent he’s been and how well he’s played,” defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said. “So when he does give up a couple of completions, you’re like, ‘Wow, this guy is human.’ It’s hard to play a perfect season.”

However, with Revis, generally regarded as the NFL’s best cornerback, perfection is expected.

That’s not to say he doesn’t ever give up a reception, of course. But when Johnson was beating him on slant routes over and over again for eight catches and 75 yards, it was hard not to notice. Johnson also caught the only touchdown pass Revis has allowed this season.

It was by no means Revis’ best performance, but was it really a bad game for Revis?

“That’s false,” safety Brodney Pool said. “Going into the game, we knew as a team that they like to chip away and we didn’t want to give up the big play. I think we did a good job of that. He caught what we gave him. It’s not like Reeve had a bad game. He still played well.”

Jets coach Rex Ryan said Revis was playing mostly in Cover Zero against Johnson, meaning the cornerback was in mostly man-to-man without any safety help to make up for any mistakes.

“He gave up 75 yards,” Ryan said. “And that’s if every one of the completions were against him in zero coverage the whole game. I’ll sign up for that each week. That’s a great performance. You’re in zero coverage and you give up 75 yards? That’s a pretty good performance.”

Pettine added that some of the coverages the Jets were in “really put Darrelle in a bind.”

“We were daring them to throw to that side and they did,” Pettine said. “They made some plays. Some of the slants that were called were in down and distances where we were more than willing to give those up. Again, you just get to that comfort level with Darrelle where he’s giving up some throws and you realize that it’s going to happen from time to time. But still, you just look at his body of work, it’s not even close.

“He’s the best corner in football.”

Pool added that outsiders focus too much on statistics, numbers that don’t tell the whole story.

“We were basically rolling the coverage away from him,” he said. “It’s a situation where he didn’t let the guy get behind him. He doesn’t listen to any of that. He understands it all. He knows the responsibility that comes with being him.”

It has been a unique week as the Jets found themselves defending their star cornerback, who has shut down some of the game’s best receivers over the last few seasons with regular dominance. Just ask Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson, Dez Bryant, Brandon Marshall, Vincent Jackson, Randy Moss and Chad Ochocinco.

“Monday, we looked at the film, got the corrections and then you move on, just like any other game,” Revis said. “We won the game. I don’t care if somebody catches 20 balls for 200 yards and four touchdowns. If we win the game, that’s really what it’s about. It’s a team effort and it’s about just winning. That’s really what it is.”

That might not be entirely true, though. Revis’ teammates and coaches have often talked about how the cornerback gets angry if he allows a reception even during practice. So, watching game film of his performance against Buffalo had even Washington coach Mike Shanahan caught a bit off guard.

“He wasn’t ready for that, because nobody does that,” Shanahan said of Buffalo challenging Revis. “Probably caught him a little bit by surprise. I don’t think anybody’s going to catch him by surprise anymore. You might do that once, but that’s not going to happen again.”

Shanahan and his Redskins will get a firsthand look at Revis, whom the Washington coach expects to be at his usual high level again.

“Yeah, I can guarantee you that will happen because he’s done it throughout the year against some excellent football players,” Shanahan said. “He’s in a class by himself as far as I’m concerned.”

So, Rex Grossman shouldn’t throw to Revis’ side of the field this weekend?

“Not too often, anyhow,” Shanahan said.

Revis appreciated Shanahan’s comments, but insists he’ll be ready for anything against the Redskins.

“I don’t know, it might be reversed, him wanting me to relax and then they do come after me,” Revis said. “I prepare the same way every week, and every week I approach it the same. So, I just focus on what I need to do as a player for this team to just try to get a win.”

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AP Source: NFL Fines Bills WR Johnson $10,000

A person familiar with the league’s disciplinary action informed The Associated Press of the fine on Wednesday. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the league has not made an announcement.

Johnson declined to confirm whether he had been punished except to say he had an overnight courier envelope from the NFL waiting for him at his locker when he arrived for practice. Johnson left the envelope unopened because he expected to find inside formal notification of his fine.

Johnson said he was done discussing the celebration — and the national criticism he received as a result of it — and is instead focusing on looking forward to helping the Bills (5-6) end a four-game slump on Sunday when they host the Tennessee Titans (6-5).

“If I do, I get fined. But we’ve got to move on,” he said. “It’s the Tennessee Titans. I’m not really worried about a fine right now. It’s part of the game. People get fined. But we’ve still got a football game on Sunday.”

The Bills’ leading receiver got into hot water immediately after putting Buffalo up 14-7 by catching a 5-yard touchdown pass with a little over two minutes left in the second quarter of a 28-24 loss at the Jets on Sunday.

Using his hands as pistols, Johnson pretended to shoot himself in the thigh, a move that was directed at Burress, who wound up serving 20 months in prison for shooting himself in a New York City nightclub in 2008.

Johnson didn’t stop there. He then imitated a jet in flight before crashing to the turf. That proved particularly costly, because he was flagged 15 yards for going to the ground.

The Bills blew a squib kick on the next kickoff, leading to the Jets capitalizing on a short field to tie the score a little over a minute later.

Johnson said he was unaware he would be penalized, and added he regrets making fun of Burress and has apologized to the Jets player. He also said he plans to stop performing touchdown celebrations.

This isn’t the first time Johnson has been fined for his over-exuberance.

Last year, he shelled out a combined $15,000 after twice being fined by the NFL. He was fined $10,000 for falling back to the ground after pretending to shoot off a rifle — mimicking what the Patriots’ Minutemen do following a New England score — in a 38-30 loss at New England on Sept. 26.

Eight weeks later, he was fined $5,000 for showing off the message — “Why So Serious?” — Johnson had written in black marker on his T-shirt after scoring the first of three touchdown catches in a 49-31 win at Cincinnati.

Though he finished with eight catches for 75 yards, Johnson didn’t help his cause against the Jets on Sunday. He had two passes go off his hands — including one in which he was wide-open over the middle at the Jets 20-yard line — on the Bills last drive in the final minute.

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