Through their first six games of the season, the Buffalo Bills pass rush was virtually nonexistent with a league-worst four sacks. But, for one Sunday afternoon, a trip to Toronto did just the trick.
Buffalo’s defense sacked Washington Redskins quarterback nine times, picked him off twice and the offense did the rest as the Bills shut out the Redskins 23-0 to improve to 5-2 and 4-0 in games in which the Bills are the home team.
Coming off the big news of his six-year, $59 million contract just 48 hours before Sunday’s game, Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick went out and completed 21-of-27 passes for 267 yards with a pair of touchdowns to tight end Scott Chandler while overcoming two turnovers (interception and lost fumble). Chandler now has six touchdowns in 2011, tying a team record for touchdowns by a tight end with Pete Metzelaars and Jay Riemersma.
Running back Fred Jackson continues his strong 2011 campaign finishing with 120 yards rushing on 26 carries while adding 74 receiving yards on three catches. Jackson has already surpassed 1,000 yards from scrimmage (1,074) in the first seven games of the season becoming the fourth player in team history to achieve that feat and the first since Thurman Thomas in 1991.
This day, however, belonged to the defense which propelled the Bills to their first win in Toronto in four tries and the first time the Bills scored 20 or more points in a game at Rogers Centre. Both of Buffalo’s safties, George Wilson and Jairus Byrd, notched interceptions. As far as their nine sacks go, everyone got in on the action:
- Marcell Dareus – 2.5 sacks
- Dwan Edwards – 1.5 sacks
- Spencer Johnson – 1 sack
- Kirk Morrison – 1 sack
- Chris Kelsay – 1 sack
- Jairus Byrd – 1 sack
- Nick Barnett – 0.5 sack
- Arthur Moats – 0.5 sack
It was a rough going for Washington, who looked lethargic all afternoon and hardly resemble the team who started 3-0. The Redskins gained just 10 first downs and 178 yards of total offense with a short-handed unit missing three key starters (RB Tim Hightower, WR Santana Moss and TE Chris Cooley). Playing from behind all game, Beck was forced to throw the ball 33 times and didn’t receive much help from the running game. Washington gained only 26 yards on 12 carries. Ryan Torain managed only 14 yards on eight carriers and was the only Redskins running back to carry the football. Washington’s other two rushers in the game were Beck ( three carries for 10 yards) and Donte Stallworth ( one carry for two yards).
In the first half, the Redskins gained just 61 yards on offense and registered only three first downs in their six first-half offensive possessions. Washington was shut out for the first time since 2009 when Dallas shut them out in Washington 17-0.
So fresh off their bye week, Fitzpatrick’s new deal and news of the loss of Shawne Merriman and the cloudy health status of Kyle Williams’ problematic foot, the Bills turned in a dominating performance in a must-win spot, finally winning in Toronto while improving to 5-2 and moved into a first place tie with New England for first place in the AFC East.