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It’s the home game away from home. For the past few years the Buffalo Bills travel north of the border to play a ‘home’ game in Toronto, but until Sunday this hasn’t been a good thing for the Bills. Sunday was the first win in four tries since the cross-border series started back in 2008.
This was also the first shutout in Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan’s long and illustrious 24 season career as a coordinator or head coach. For the Bills it marked the paying off of the recent contract extension given to Ryan Fitzpatrick, 6 years $59 million, as well as, giving the fans in Canada, who haven’t been the most supportive of their Buffalo brethren, reason to cheer.
Fitzpatrick was able to find TE Scott Chandler for two touchdowns and the Bills defense which has been one of the worst in the NFL this season had a monster game racking up 9 sacks, 2 interceptions, and a blocked field goal. They held the Redskins to 178 yards of total offense and only 10 first downs. The injury riddled Redskins had no answers for the Bills on either side of the ball all game.
Safety George Wilson called the Toronto fans passion as well as loyalty into question in the week leading up to the game, but came to find that the Bills were the drawing most of the cheers from the crowd. ”That was one of the things coming in, give them something to cheer about. And I thought we did that today,” said Fitzpatrick, “I think there was more excitement out there than there has been in years past.”
It was a great overall performance,” said defensive end Spencer Johnson, who had a sack and blocked Graham Gano’s 49-yard field-goal attempt in the second quarter. “To shut anybody out in the NFL, that’s a big feat, a big accomplishment and a big step in the right direction.”
Fred Jackson, who’s putting up MVP numbers, had another great game posting 120 yards on the ground and 74 yards receiving. This put Jackson at over 1000 yards from scrimmage 7 games into the season which makes him only the fourth Bill in history to do so and the first since Thurman Thomas did so in 1991.
Another bright spot for the Bills was the emergence of first round draft pick Marcell Dareus who started in place of injured NT Kyle Williams. Dareus had 2 ½ sacks, leading the defense for the day.
The Bills overall looked solid against the injured Redskins, but they will face a much tougher test next week as they square off against division rivals the New York Jets back in Ralph Wilson Stadium. With the Patriots loss, the Bills are currently tied for first in the AFC East.
This will be a real measuring game for the Bills as the Jets have a better offense and a much better defense than the Redskins. The Jets are also riding a two game win streak and have had an extra week to prepare for the Bills.
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