Bills hold on, deal Falcons first loss of season

ATLANTA — Stephen Hauschka kicked a tiebreaking, 56-yard field goal with less than 5 minutes remaining and the Buffalo Bills made a last-minute defensive stand to beat Atlanta 23-17 on Sunday after the Falcons lost wide receiver Julio Jones to a hip injury.

Hauschka padded the lead with a 55-yarder with about 3 minutes remaining.

Buffalo’s defense stopped the Falcons at the Bills 10 with less than a minute remaining when Matt Ryan couldn’t complete a fourth-down pass to Taylor Gabriel, and Atlanta became the last NFC team to lose this season.

Tre’Davious White returned a fumble recovery 52 yards for a third-quarter touchdown as the tough Buffalo defense delivered again even in a game it gave up its first passing touchdown of the season.

Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes hit Ryan’s arm as Ryan was trying to pass, forcing the fumble.

It was one of three turnovers by Atlanta (3-1) on a day the Bills (3-1) set a team record for consecutive quarters without a turnover. Ryan threw two interceptions, giving him five in his last two games.

Jones left the game in the second quarter with a hip flexor injury and did not return. Atlanta’s receiving corps took another hit when starter Mohamed Sanu was ruled out with a hamstring injury in the third quarter.

Hauschka’s go-ahead field goal was set up by Tyrod Taylor’s 34-yard pass to tight end Charles Clay, who had five catches for 112 yards.

The Falcons failed to take advantage of Andre Roberts’ 61-yard kickoff return following the field goal. The Bills stopped Atlanta when Micah Hyde intercepted a pass off the hands of receiver Nick Williams.

The teams traded long scoring drives in the fourth quarter. Buffalo’s 19-play drive, which lasted 11 minutes and 20 seconds, ended with a 24-yard field goal by Hauschka for a 17-10 lead.

The Falcons answered with a 10-play touchdown drive capped by Ryan’s 3-yard scoring pass to Justin Hardy. It was the first scoring pass allowed by the Bills this season.


Bills: S Colt Anderson left in the first quarter with an arm injury and was ruled out. Buffalo also lost LB Ramon Humber (thumb), WR Jordan Matthews (thumb), and CB E.J. Gaines (groin).

Falcons: Jones left the game in the second quarter with a hip flexor injury and was ruled out for the game. He was limited during practice this week with a lower back injury. Sanu (hamstring) and DT Jack Crawford (biceps) also were ruled out.

Protect the ball

The Bills protected the ball to set a team record for most consecutive quarters without a turnover (15). The previous team record was 12, set in 2015.

Up next

Bills: Play at Cincinnati next Sunday.

Falcons: After their bye week, host Miami on Oct. 15.

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