AFC East: Marcell Dareus

Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus and defensive end Mario Williams were both selected to the Associated Press' All-Pro first team, the AP announced Friday.

Defensive tackle Kyle Williams ranked fifth among defensive tackles, with four votes. Defensive end Jerry Hughes received one vote.

Dareus, Mario Williams and Kyle Williams were the Bills' three Pro Bowl selections this season.

The Bills did not have any first-team All-Pro selections last season, when Mario Williams and safety Jairus Byrd were both named to the second team.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Welcome to Gillette Stadium where the Buffalo Bills (8-7) meet the New England Patriots (12-3) at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.

Weather conditions: The tarp came off the field at Gillette Stadium, where some light rain fell early Sunday morning. Some showers are possible throughout the day, but generally conditions should stay dry. Skies are cloudy and winds are light.

Bills seeking first win at Gillette Stadium: The Bills are seeking their first win at Gillette Stadium, which opened in 2002. The Patriots have won 35 consecutive home games against AFC opponents in this facility.

Dareus, Gilmore downgraded to out: Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus (knee) and cornerback Stephon Gilmore (concussion) were both downgraded to out for Sunday's game after not traveling with the team Saturday. That means the Bills must declare an additional five inactives for Sunday's game. Expect them all to be healthy scratches.

McAulay gets the call: Terry McAulay is Sunday's referee.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills are likely to be without a pair of defensive starters for their season finale against the New England Patriots.

Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus (knee) and cornerback Stephon Gilmore (concussion) were both listed as doubtful on Friday's injury report, in advance of the Bills' trip to New England.

Without Dareus, the Bills will likely use a rotation of Corbin Bryant and Stefan Charles in his place. Without Gilmore, the Bills will most likely turn to Ron Brooks in their starting lineup.

Here is the Bills' full injury report:

DT Marcell Dareus (knee)
CB Stephon Gilmore (concussion)

S Aaron Williams (hip)
K Dan Carpenter (right groin)
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills safety Aaron Williams (hip) was limited in practice on Wednesday.

Williams finished Sunday's game in Oakland, playing 66 of 72 snaps.

The Bills were without cornerback Stephon Gilmore and defensive tackle Marcell Dareus in practice on Wednesday, but injured reserve isn't an option for either player since their injuries aren't "major" and thus wouldn't qualify for the designation.

Here is the Bills' full injury report Wednesday:

Did not participate:
DT Marcell Dareus (knee)
CB Stephon Gilmore (concussion protocol)

Limited participation:
S Aaron Williams (hip)
K Dan Carpenter (groin)
» Pro Bowl analysis: AFC | NFC » Complete roster


Mario Williams, DE, fourth Pro Bowl selection: His mammoth contract can be debated all day, but Williams' effect on the Bills this season was clear. He has 13.5 sacks, tied for fifth-most in the NFL. Williams had back-to-back multisack games in November, including a 3.5-sack outing against the Miami Dolphins, and remains one of the tougher players to block in the NFL.

Who he beat out: Williams gets the nod over fellow Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes, who has 9.5 sacks this season.

Kyle Williams, DT, fourth Pro Bowl selection: The defensive captain and team leader is among the toughest and most consistent players on the team. New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick called him "borderline unblockable" last season and nothing has changed this season. Williams has 5.5 sacks, three passes defensed and one interception.

Who he beat out: Chicago Bears defensive tackle Stephen Paea was the second-leading vote-getter among fans but was not selected.

Marcell Dareus, DT, second Pro Bowl selection: One of the up-and-coming young defenders in the league, Dareus has gotten better and better over the past two seasons. He has 10 sacks this season, cracking double-digit sacks for the first time in his career. Dareus' status for the Pro Bowl could be in doubt after a knee injury in Sunday's loss to the Oakland Raiders.

Who he beat out: Another rising young star, Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks (8.5 sacks), stood out this season but was not selected.

Rapid Reaction: Buffalo Bills

December, 21, 2014

OAKLAND, Calif. -- A few thoughts on the Buffalo Bills' 26-24 loss to the Oakland Raiders on Sunday at Coliseum:

What it means: The Bills (8-7) were eliminated from the playoffs in crushing fashion. Riding high after taking down the Green Bay Packers, the Bills made a cross-country trip to Oakland and laid an egg to end their season. The Raiders (3-12) were able to make the big plays, including a key 51-yard catch by Andre Holmes on a third-and-22 late in the fourth quarter, the Packers weren't able to execute last week. Oakland's "black hole" took on new meaning for the Bills, whose offense -- including quarterback Kyle Orton -- yet again proved too inconsistent to win.

Stock watch: Rushing offense -- down. The Bills ran 13 times for 13 yards and their worst single-game rushing performance since 1997. It tied the Detroit Lions' 13 yards in Week 13 as the second-fewest by a team this season, behind the Indianapolis Colts' 1 rushing yard Sunday. The Bills entered Sunday with the NFL's 26th-ranked rushing offense and averaging 3.83 yards per carry.

Spiller ineffective in return: Playing his first game since fracturing his collarbone in Week 7, running back C.J. Spiller was largely ineffective in limited action against the Raiders. He ran four times for negative-4 yards and fumbled, though he recovered the loose ball on his final carry of the game. He added four catches for 14 yards.

Game ball: WR Sammy Watkins. The rookie was the lone bright spot in the Bills' offense. He caught a 42-yard touchdown from Orton in the first quarter and finished with three catches for a team-high 75 yards.

Two key defenders injured: The Bills suffered a pair of losses in their defense Sunday when Marcell Dareus (knee) and Stephon Gilmore (head) both left the game with injuries. Dareus has been one of the Bills' best defensive linemen this season, with 10 sacks, while Gilmore is the Bills' top cornerback.

What's next: The Bills close out their regular season with a trip to meet the New England Patriots (12-3) next Sunday. It's the second consecutive season the Bills have wrapped up at Gillette Stadium; Buffalo lost 34-20 to New England in their finale last December.
Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus topped fan voting among defensive tackles for the 2015 Pro Bowl.

Fan voting, which accounts for one-third of the selection process, ended Dec. 15. Final selections, which will be announced Dec. 23 at 8 p.m. ET, will also take into account votes from players and coaches.

Dareus received 331,006 votes, with Chicago Bears defensive tackle Stephen Paea (297,826 votes) finishing second at the position.

No other Bills players topped fan voting at their positions for the 2015 Pro Bowl, which will be played Jan. 25 at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Last season, Dareus and linebacker Kiko Alonso both topped fan voting at their respective positions but were not initially selected to the Pro Bowl. Dareus was later selected as an alternate.

Bills vs. Broncos preview

December, 5, 2014
When: 4:05 p.m. ET, Sunday Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver TV: CBS

Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris pretty much spoke for any and all folks who still find themselves in the playoff conversation this week.

Asked what the Broncos (9-3) need to do over the last four games of the regular season, Harris said: "I've been saying, we need to treat every game like a playoff game because everybody we play is going to be looking at us like that. So, we need to be our best, play our best, because anybody we play is going to be doing that. You don't want to look back and think you let a game slip away."

The "fourth quarter" of the regular season, as Broncos coach John Fox calls it, starts with the Buffalo Bills' visit to Denver. The Bills (7-5) have designs on a playoff spot as well, and bring along a familiar face to Broncos fans in quarterback Kyle Orton.

Orton started 33 games for the Broncos before Denver's coaching staff benched him after the team's 1-4 start in 2011, replacing him with Tim Tebow. Orton won the most recent game he started against the Broncos -- a 7-3 Chiefs win to close out that '11 season after Denver had released him.

ESPN Bills reporter Mike Rodak and Broncos reporter Jeff Legwold take a look at Sunday's matchup.

Legwold: Mike, the Bills have had an ownership change this season, a home game in Detroit because of the enormous winter storm, and their share of injuries. How have they kept their balance, and do they feel like they are an ascending team?

Rodak: It definitely has been a season unlike any other for the Bills, especially when you consider their change at quarterback. From this perspective, players and coaches have shown poise throughout all of the bumps in the road. Buffalo's 38-3 win over the Jets at Ford Field two weeks ago was a good example of that: Despite the upheaval of its normal week of preparation, the team turned in its best all-around game of the season. Players have credited a long training camp (they stayed in dorms for nearly five weeks), an extra preseason trip to Canton, Ohio, and two days of joint practices with the Steelers on the road with helping the team bond. So when some of these outside factors have invaded, the team has responded well.

Jeff, I get the sense that Bills fans have some hope in this game after watching the Dolphins go into Denver a few weeks ago and nearly take down the Broncos. Between that game and Denver's loss to the Rams a week earlier, what made the Broncos so vulnerable?

Legwold: Denver's 22-7 loss to the Rams in St. Louis is certainly one that got most people's attention. So much so that this past Sunday, the Chiefs tried to run the same play the Rams used for a 63-yard scoring pass. It didn't work for the Chiefs, a small indication the Broncos learned at least some of their lessons from a bad outing in St. Louis. For the most part, the same formula gets the Broncos in trouble at times. They allow pressure on quarterback Peyton Manning in the middle of the field, they don't run the ball effectively enough to slow down opposing pass-rushers with play-action, and they don't defend the run well enough out of some of their specialty packages on defense. The hangover from the Rams loss lasted until almost halftime of the following week's game against the Dolphins, when the Broncos trailed Miami 21-10 with less than two minutes to go in the first half. But Manning and the Broncos put together an 80-yard touchdown drive before halftime, dominated the second half against the Dolphins, and overpowered the Chiefs this past Sunday. They've used a far more balanced look on offense -- 80 run plays over the past two games -- and it has settled things down on both sides of the ball.

Staying with the quarterbacks: Orton arrives to face his former employer with a team in the playoff mix. How has he played for the Bills?

Rodak: Orton has teetered between adequate and inadequate -- never truly great and never a disaster. His QBR since taking over the starting job is 44.1, which is ahead of only a handful of other quarterbacks, some of whom have lost their jobs. He's been worse over the past month than he was in his first month as the starter, losing some of his accuracy that made him an instant upgrade over EJ Manuel. Orton completed 67.4 percent of his passes and averaged eight yards per attempt over his first four starts. His completion percentage has dropped to 61.3 over his past four starts, while he's been averaging 5.81 yards per attempt. Yet it's still arguably better than what the Bills were getting from Manuel over the first four games -- a 58 percent completion rate and 6.4 yards per attempt -- so Orton remains the starter. As far as returning to Denver, Orton brushed off the notion of Sunday's game having any extra meaning when we asked him about it Wednesday. Of course, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz also did that before the Bills' game in Detroit this year, and he ended up getting carried off the field, per his wishes. So you never know.

The strength of the Bills' defense is their line and its ability to create pressure, yet Manning is notorious for getting the ball out quickly. How well have opposing defenses been able to get pressure on Manning this season?

Legwold: The short answer is not very well overall. Manning, even with all of Denver's offensive line struggles, is still the least-sacked starter in the league (13 times). The Jets, 49ers and Rams are the only teams to have sacked him at least twice in a game. Those defenses that have some success usually have to do it with four rushers with the ability to drop seven players into coverage. Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who has had more success than most against Manning, routinely chooses coverage over pressure as he rushes three or four defenders at Manning much of the time. The pressure in the middle is the key since Manning tends to identify any potential pressure from the outside in his pre-snap work, and gets the ball out. Those teams that take away his ability to climb the pocket and step into his throws do far better against him. The Broncos, at least until the past two games, have surrendered more than their share of unblocked rushers in the A gaps. But as they have pounded out 201 and 214 yards rushing in the past two games, they slowed down the Dolphins' and Chiefs' fronts. The Raiders, Rams and Chiefs did bat down some of Manning's passes by making a conscious effort to get their hands up into the throwing lanes when they couldn't get to Manning.

In that vein, the Bills lead the league in sacks, and Marcell Dareus was a player the Broncos took a long look at in 2011 when they selected Von Miller. How aggressive do you think the Bills will be in coming after Manning?

Rodak: I wouldn't expect them to blitz much. First of all, that's not their forte; they've done an excellent job generating pressure just from their four-man line, which includes three Pro Bowlers and can be considered the best in the NFL. Because of their strength up front, they've blitzed on just 19.8 percent of plays, the third-lowest rate in the league. Second of all, I don't think blitzing Manning is the wisest idea, given his ability to diagnose defenses and get the ball out quickly. Manning averages 2.22 seconds before he passes, the quickest rate in the NFL. The better strategy from the Bills may be to drop more players into coverage. There aren't many weaknesses on this defense, but their secondary and linebackers have shown some vulnerability when their front four isn't as effective. Having the numbers advantage against the Broncos' receivers should help.

Opposing defenses have tried (and succeeded) in taking Sammy Watkins out of the Bills' most recent games, whether it's been by "rolling" coverage or putting a top cover man on the rookie. How well-equipped are the Broncos to do that?

Legwold: When all hands are in the lineup, the Broncos have two matchup cornerbacks in Aqib Talib and Harris. That gives them more flexibility than most in how they disperse their resources in coverage. Champ Bailey said last month that Harris is playing "the best of anybody at his position in the league," and the Broncos use Harris all over the formation since he has been the nickel cornerback early in his career, so he can play the outside spots or in the slot on either side of the formation with equal comfort. Rookie Bradley Roby has also played well enough. He should get at least some consideration for defensive rookie of the year. The Broncos do play more man coverage than most teams in the league, so there is always potential for a big play if a receiver can win the matchup down the field before Miller and DeMarcus Ware disrupt things up front. Miller and Ware are a key part of the coverage equation as well. Overall, the Broncos have surrendered just 11 pass plays of more than 25 yards, and no team has had more than two pass plays of more than 25 yards in any game against them this season. There are opportunities for offenses, it's just that when receivers have found some room to get open, Miller and Ware have closed the deal before the quarterback can deliver the ball.

Rapid Reaction: Buffalo Bills

November, 30, 2014

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- A few thoughts on the Buffalo Bills' 26-10 win Sunday over the Cleveland Browns at Ralph Wilson Stadium:

What it means: The Bills (7-5) continued to play sloppy football at home but came away with another "how did that happen?" victory. After gaining just 91 yards and scoring no points in the first half, the Bills awoke in the third quarter, scoring two touchdowns in a span of 10 seconds -- which was all they needed against the turnover-prone Browns (7-5), who benched Brian Hoyer for Johnny Manziel. The Bills' playoff hopes remain intact, but how much longer can they hold on? For now, they can't be counted out.

Stock watch: Defensive end Jerry Hughes, up. A free agent after this season, Hughes' price tag continues to rise. Entering Sunday with 9.5 sacks and two forced fumbles, Hughes continued to make plays against the Browns. On a Terrance West run in the third quarter, Hughes forced a fumble and returned it 18 yards for a touchdown. He has benefited from strong play across the Bills' entire defensive line, but Hughes' value on the open market continues to escalate.

Game ball: Wide receiver Robert Woods. Another big game from the second-year receiver. After setting career highs Monday night in a 38-3 victory over the New York Jets, Woods led the Bills with four catches for 71 yards, including a 34-yard gain on a fourth-and-3 play that led to the Bills' first touchdown. Woods again stole some thunder from rookie Sammy Watkins, who caught 3 of 9 targets for 11 yards.

Orton's shaky outing: The Bills won this game, but it wasn't the product of strong quarterback play, especially in the first half. For the game, Kyle Orton completed 17 of 31 passes for 190 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. With a 57.2 passer rating, he became just the fifth quarterback this season to win with a passer rating under 58.

Dareus injured: Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus departed for the locker room in the second quarter with a groin injury. He returned to the sideline in the second half but was replaced by Stefan Charles.

What's next: For the Bills to make the playoffs, it will take a monumental effort in their remaining four games. They travel to face the Denver Broncos next Sunday, followed by their home finale against the Green Bay Packers. They end with road trips against the Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots. It will be tough sledding down the stretch.

Midseason report: Buffalo Bills

November, 5, 2014
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Can the Buffalo Bills sustain their early-season success and snap their 14-season playoff drought?

That's the burning question halfway through the season for a team that has started 5-3 for the first time since 2011. That season, the Bills lost seven of their last eight, a collapse that mirrored similar 5-3 starts in 2008 and 2002.

If the story is different this season -- and the Bills can gain their first postseason berth of this millennium -- it will be a stamp of approval to coach Doug Marrone's surprising decision to bench second-year quarterback EJ Manuel in favor of Kyle Orton after just four games.

Orton, who has brought a steady veteran presence to the offense, is 3-1 in his first month at the helm. Along with rookie receiver Sammy Watkins and a stout defensive front, Orton and the Bills are gearing up for a second-half push to the playoffs.

MVP: Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus. In truth, this award is shared by the entire defensive line, but Dareus' performance has risen above the rest. The fourth-year defender, who was in the news for the wrong reasons last offseason after two arrests, has excelled under new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. Through Week 9, his seven sacks are tied for eighth in the NFL and he is just a half-sack shy of his career high, set last season. Dareus is just one piece along a dominating defensive line that also includes Pro Bowlers Kyle Williams and Mario Williams, along with rising defensive end Jerry Hughes. The Bills have the NFL's second-most sacks, with 28.

Biggest disappointment: Manuel. There's little doubt about this one. The Bills reached by selecting Manuel in the first round of the 2013 draft, making him in the first quarterback taken in what has proven a weak class of signal-callers. Manuel, who showed flashes of promise in between knee injuries last season, was healthy this September but regressed. His QBR fell in each of his four starts, from 59.1 in a season-opening win in Chicago to 7.4 in a Week 4 loss in Houston. The Bills surrounded Manuel with plenty of offensive weapons, and he proved too raw to take advantage of the opportunity.

Best moment: Watkins' 2-yard, game-winning touchdown catch against the Minnesota Vikings. This Week 7 moment defined the Bills' first half of the season. It was hardly pretty, but the Bills were able to pull out a win with some last-minute heroics. Down 16-10 to the lowly Vikings at home, Orton led the Bills on an 80-yard drive that looked close to ending before a 24-yard catch by tight end Scott Chandler on fourth-and-20. Several plays later, Orton found Watkins for the go-ahead score with one second remaining. Had the Bills not pulled out the win, they would have fallen to 1-3 at home and 3-4 on the season.

Worst moment: J.J. Watt's 80-yard pick-six in a loss to the Houston Texans. This might prove to be one of the final acts of the Manuel era in Buffalo. Early in the second half in Week 4, with the Bills leading 10-7, Watt pulled down a short pass by Manuel and went the distance to give the Texans a lead they wouldn't surrender. Before that play, the Bills were outscoring teams 72-52. After that Texans score, the Bills' offense wouldn't take the field again with a lead until Week 8.

Key to the second half: Running the ball. Orton and Watkins have received much of the attention in recent weeks, and for good reason: Their connection through the air looks to only be getting better with time. Yet ask Orton and he'll tell you that there must be a more balanced offensive attack. "We play in Buffalo, so obviously at some point the weather is gonna come and we're gonna have to grind out a win running the football," Orton said last week. "No doubt about that." The Bills were the NFL's third-worst rushing team in October, averaging 3.15 yards per carry. Getting workhorse Fred Jackson back from a groin injury sometime in November will help, but the Bills will be hard-pressed to make the playoffs without an improvement in the running game.

Marcell Dareus returns to Bills practice

October, 16, 2014
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus returned to practice Thursday after being excused from Wednesday's practice.

Dareus missed Wednesday's practice for a family matter.

Meanwhile, linebacker Ty Powell (ankle) and wide receiver Marcus Easley (knee) did not practice for a second consecutive day Thursday.

Long snapper Garrison Sanborn (knee) was on the practice field again Thursday after being a limited participant Wednesday. The Bills worked out long snappers Charley Hughlett and Kevin McDermott on Wednesday as a precaution, ESPN NFL Insider Field Yates reported.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus was excused from Wednesday's practice for a family matter, coach Doug Marrone said.

Dareus is expected to return to the Buffalo area by Wednesday evening.

"I knew about it last week. It was something coming up that was personal for him, so I excused him," Marrone said. "It was nothing related to anything that has to do with him. It's family."

Meanwhile, long snapper Garrison Sanborn was limited in Wednesday's practice with a knee injury. The Bills worked out two long snappers Wednesday but it was more precautionary; Sanborn is expected to play Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, Marrone said.

Here is Wednesday's full injury report:

Did not participate:
WR Marcus Easley (knee)
LB Ty Powell (ankle)
DT Marcell Dareus (not injury related)

Limited participation:
LS Garrison Sanborn (knee)
S Da'Norris Searcy (knee)
LB Brandon Spikes (ribs)
DT Kyle Williams (knee)
S Aaron Williams (wrist/neck)
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus was not at the start of Wednesday's practice for what the team called an excused absence.

It's not clear what kept Dareus out of practice.

Meanwhile, safety Aaron Williams practiced Wednesday after missing Sunday's game with wrist and neck injuries. He had a large wrap on his right wrist at the start of Wednesday's practice.

Linebacker Ty Powell (ankle) and wide receiver Marcus Easley (knee) were not on the field.

Ups and downs for Buffalo Bills

October, 6, 2014
DETROIT -- A look at which players are "up" and which players are at the opposite end of the spectrum after the Buffalo Bills' 17-14 win over the Detroit Lions:


K Dan Carpenter -- Can't overlook Carpenter, whose 58-yard game-winning field goal was the second longest in Bills history, behind a 59-yarder from Steve Christie in 1993.

DT Marcell Dareus -- With Kyle Williams out for the first time this season, Dareus stepped up and led a six-sack onslaught of Matthew Stafford. Dareus set a career high with three sacks and added a forced fumble on his final takedown.

DE Jerry Hughes -- Not to be overshadowed by Dareus, his teammate along the defensive line added two sacks, one forced fumble and three tackles for a loss.

RB Fred Jackson -- I'm just copying and pasting at this point. Jackson's consistency and reliability keep the Bills' offense moving even when its other elements are struggling. He had 50 of the Bills' 49 rushing yards (yes, that's correct) and was the team's second-leading receiver with seven catches for 58 yards.


G Cyril Richardson -- The rookie left guard was flagged twice for false starts and once for offensive holding, accounting for three of the Bills' 11 penalties.

RB C.J. Spiller -- The dynamic running back's performances fall along a wide spectrum. Some days he can be incredible, others he can be downright ineffective. Sunday was much closer to the latter. He gained only seven yards on nine carries. From early in the second quarter until late in the third quarter -- nearly half the game -- Spiller didn't receive a touch.

WR Mike Williams -- One of the follow-ups this week will be Williams' playing time, which continues to slip from his standing in the preseason. The Bills turned to Marquise Goodwin and Chris Hogan as their third receiver for parts of the game, leading to Williams seeing only 26 snaps. He had one catch for eight yards.

Rapid Reaction: Buffalo Bills

October, 5, 2014

DETROIT -- A few thoughts on the Buffalo Bills' 17-14 win Sunday over the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.

What it means: Slow start and quite the finish from the Bills, who get back on track and improve their record to 3-2. Their quarterback switch -- benching EJ Manuel in favor of Kyle Orton -- didn't pay off early, with Orton throwing a pick-six to Rashean Mathis in the first half. But the Bills, powered by a strong defense and three missed field goals by Detroit, clawed their way back into the game. Dan Carpenter's 58-yard field goal with four seconds left gave the Bills their first lead. It was all they needed.

Stock watch: C.J. Spiller, down. He was ineffective Sunday, rushing nine times for 7 yards. The Bills turned away from Spiller in the middle of the game; he didn't record a touch from early in the second quarter until late in the third quarter. Fred Jackson, who rushed for 50 yards and added seven catches, was used more often. Spiller did, however, have three catches for 25 yards. Jackson limped off the field late in the fourth quarter with an apparent right leg injury.

Watkins watch: The Bills' switch at quarterback didn't have a dramatic impact on the production of rookie Sammy Watkins -- until late in the game. He caught a 20-yard pass from Orton to spark the Bills' game-winning field goal. Watkins finished with seven catches for 87 yards. He was targeted 12 times by Orton, with one of the incompletions coming on a questionable non-call in the third quarter when the officials picked up a pass-interference flag against the Lions. The Bills were driving, and that penalty would have given them a fresh set of downs in the red zone.

Schwartz carried off: After the win, Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, the Lions' former head coach, was carried off the field by his players. Schwartz put his fist in the air and smiled.

Brooks injured: Third-year cornerback Ron Brooks was upended by Lions safety Jerome Couplin while covering a punt in the first quarter, landing directly on his helmet. Brooks was immobilized and taken off the field on a cart. He was taken to a hospital for evaluation of a neck injury.

Game ball: DT Marcell Dareus. On a day when the Bills were without defensive captain Kyle Williams, another defensive tackle stepped up. Dareus set a career high with three sacks, including a strip-sack of Matthew Stafford in the fourth quarter.

What's next: After playing three of their first five games away from Ralph Wilson Stadium, the Bills will make two only road trips in the next eight weeks. They begin a two-game homestand next Sunday against the New England Patriots, their second AFC East game of the season.