NFL GAME RECAP

Hauschka, Bills’ D too much for Falcons

The Sports Xchange

October 01, 2017 at 4:32 pm.

Oct 1, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (24) is tackled by Buffalo Bills linebacker Eddie Yarbrough (54) during the fourth quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Photo Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 1, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (24) is tackled by Buffalo Bills linebacker Eddie Yarbrough (54) during the fourth quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Photo Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

ATLANTA — The Buffalo Bills showed the Atlanta Falcons that their defense is for real and Stephen Hauschka made sure that the effort paid off with a victory on Sunday.

Hauschka kicked fourth-quarter field goals of 56 and 55 yards and the Bills stopped the Falcons on fourth down at the 10-yard line with 44 seconds left for a 23-17 victory at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The Bills (3-1) got a 55-yard touchdown return of a Matt Ryan fumble by Tre’Davious White and had two interceptions against the Falcons quarterback, who played most of the game without leading receivers Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu.

Ryan, who was 24 of 42 for 242 yards, connected with backup Justin Hardy for a 3-yard touchdown with seven minutes left to cap a 75-yard drive and tie the game.

Houska, though, gave the Bills the lead back on his 56-yard kick with 4:44 left and then hit from 55 yards with 3:06 remaining after an interception by Micah Hyde.

White’s long return of a Ryan fumble early in the third quarter was turning point in the game against the Falcons (3-1).

Jerry Hughes hit Ryan’s arm as the quarterback was about to pass and the ball squirted forward, beyond the line of scrimmage. White picked up the ball and raced down the field as the Falcons stood stunned.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn challenged the fumble ruling, but the call was upheld.

Hauschka kicked a 24-yard field goal with 12 minutes left in the game to climax a 19-play drive of 82 yards that took more than 11 minutes.

The Falcons led 10-7 at halftime as Devonta Freeman scored from a yard out with 18 seconds remaining in the second quarter to climax a 78-yard drive. Sanu hurt his hamstring on a wildcat run proceeding Freeman’s touchdown.

Bill quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who was 12 of 20 for 182 yards, hit Jordan Matthews for a 9-yard score midway in the second quarter set up by a 44-yard pass to Charles Clay, giving the Bills a lead after Matt Bryant had kicked a 28-yard field goal early in the quarter.

Julio Jones left the game in the second quarter with a hip injury after catching three passes for 30 yards. He led the NFC with 1,409 yards on 83 catches last season and came into the Bills game with 16 catches for 265 yards this year.

NOTES: All of the Falcons stood for the national anthem, locking arms. … Six Bills knelt: DT Cedric Thornton, DE Jerel Worthy, CB Shareece Wright, FB Mike Tolbert, WR Kaelin Clay and RB Taiwon Jones. … The Falcons lost DT Jack Crawford (biceps) in the second quarter. … The Falcons had four starters inactive: S Richardo Allen (concussion) joining DE Vic Beasley Jr. (hamstring), DT Courtney Upshaw (ankle) and RT Ryan Schrader (concussion) from the previous week. … The Bills lost S Colt Anderson (arm) in the first quarter. … DE Shaq Lawson (groin) and LT Cordy Glenn (foot) were inactive for the Bills. Lawson was hurt in practice on Thursday. … Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s complex retractable roof, not yet fully automated, was closed despite perfect fall weather. … The Falcons wore throwback black jerseys from the 1960s.

 

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