Sunday, September 29, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Bills 23, Ravens 20
By Mike Rodak
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- A few thoughts on the Buffalo Bills' 23-20 victory over the Baltimore Ravens.
What it means for Bills: Another nail-biter for Buffalo at home, but they were able to come away with a victory over the defending Super Bowl champions. The Bills intercepted Joe Flacco five times, but came away with only 13 points off the turnovers. However, Flacco's last interception was his biggest. In a three-point game with less than a minute remaining, linebacker Kiko Alonso came up with his second interception of the game, sealing Buffalo's victory. The Bills gained only 147 yards on offense, limited by a 10-for-22 performance by rookie EJ Manuel, who threw two interceptions. But with the Ravens' turnovers, it was enough to win.
Stock watch: Rising -- Aaron Williams. The former second-round pick came up big for the Bills, intercepting Flacco twice. With Leodis McKelvin not active due to injury, Williams started at cornerback Sunday after beginning the season as a safety. Williams briefly left with a shoulder injury in the first half, but later returned to the game and had a strong performance when the Bills needed it. He later departed with a lower back injury in the fourth quarter.
Spiller, Jackson hobbled: The Bills had a pair of injury scares in their backfield. C.J. Spiller left briefly with an ankle injury before returning, and Fred Jackson also left with a leg injury but returned. Buffalo leaned heavily on its running game Sunday, and it paid off. Spiller and Jackson combined for 39 carries for 164 yards.
Third-down defense improves: Buffalo has struggled on third downs both offensively and defensively this season, but the Ravens' third-down performance will help the Bills' defensive ranking. Flacco and the Ravens' offense were just 3-for-16 on third downs, and 1-for-4 in the red zone. Doug Marrone stressed the importance of these stats earlier in the week, and they were part of the difference Sunday.
What's next: The Bills (2-2) have a short week coming up. They'll travel to face the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night, their lone prime-time game of the season.