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Lindell's field goal lifts Bills to OT win

The SportsXchange

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- When the Arizona Cardinals go into overtime, it usually means they win. It didn't happen this time.

After winning seven consecutive overtime games at home -- the longest such streak in NFL history -- the Buffalo Bills managed to steal a 19-16 victory at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Safety Jairus Byrd's second interception of the game, this time off John Skelton on third-and-10 from the Arizona 20, set up Rian Lindell's game-winning 25-yard field goal with 11:10 remaining in overtime to win it.

"My take on the game was it was a gut check," Bills coach Chan Gailey said. "I'm impressed with the way our team fought through adversity. The first play of the game, we fumbled the ball. We played great red zone defense. We didn't play as consistent on offense but did enough good things in all areas to win the game on the road against a good football team.

"It wasn't pretty at times, but it was a gut check and that may go a long way for our football team."

It was the second straight loss for the Cardinals following their first 4-0 start since 1974. The loss also snapped Arizona's eight-game home winning streak, which was one shy of the franchise record set in 1925.

Meanwhile, something good finally happened for the Bills (3-3).

Following consecutive losses to the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers in which they were outscored 97-31 and lost multiple members of their offensive line, the Bills needed something to lift their spirits and they managed to find it after spending a week in the desert.

Buffalo decided to spend the week in the Phoenix area after its 45-3 loss at San Francisco in which the defense allowed a franchise-record 631 yards. The Bills practiced daily at Arizona State University and stayed in a nearby resort.

That decision seemed to pay off as the Bills held the Cardinals to 332 offensive yards and just one touchdown. Buffalo, meanwhile, rushed for 165 yards and got a touchdown each from C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson.

"We came out here with one goal and that was to win," said Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, a Gilbert, Ariz., native who completed 18 of 32 passes for 153 yards.

"... We put a lot of work in this week. In general, our whole organization put a lot of work into this week. This was a very gratifying win for us, not only to get us back on track, but with the way that everything's been going throughout the week and the way we have come together as a team."

The Cardinals rallied to tie the game after losing starting quarterback Kevin Kolb to a rib injury with 2:05 left in regulation.

Healthy for the first time since spraining his right ankle in Week 1, Skelton came off the bench and, after throwing two incomplete passes, hit Larry Fitzgerald for a 17-yard gain on fourth down.

Skelton couldn't get the Cardinals any closer, so coach Ken Whisenhunt summoned Jay Feely to attempt a franchise-record 61-yard field goal.

Feely made the kick with distance to spare as the crowd erupted in wild celebration.

"He told me he could make it," Whisenhunt said.

The only reason the Cardinals had the ball in the first place was because the Bills tried to be too cute as receiver Brad Smith, playing quarterback in the wildcat formation, threw a needless deep pass that was intercepted by Patrick Peterson.

"If we hit that," Gailey said, "we are all talking about what a great call it is and if we didn't, it's a dumb call. So it was a dumb call. If I had to do it over again, I'd run it. That's the way life is."

Kolb managed to get the Cardinals some decent yardage thanks to a 14-yard pass to Fitzgerald and a 22-yard keeper. But then he was injured after taking his fifth sack of the afternoon.

"My hat's off to Kevin," Skelton said. "I know what it's like to be back there with the bullets flying and feeling like you've got to scramble almost every play. He made plays down the field with his legs ... and made them several times in the game, but it was almost like it was a matter of time before something was going to happen.

"You can only take so many hits and so many shots."

Arizona had a chance to win it just before time expired in regulation, but Feely's 38-yard attempt was tipped by Bills defensive tackle Alex Carrington and the ball banged off the left upright, forcing overtime.

"They got a little push and got a hand on it," Feely said. "I don't think I've had a kick blocked or deflected since 2006. It's been a long time."

The Cardinals' defense had held the Bills in check through most of the second and third quarters, allowing just one first down in four Buffalo possessions.

But after limiting the Bills to just 29 yards during those four series and having took a 13-9 lead on Feely's second 49-yard field goal of the game, Buffalo finally broke loose against one of the NFL's stingiest defenses.

The Bills put together a quick and efficient five-play, 80-yard drive capped by a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Fred Jackson with 27 seconds left in the third quarter to take a 16-13 lead.

During the drive, Fitzpatrick completed a 23-yard pass to Stevie Johnson. Spiller broke a run for a 22-yard gain. Smith ran for 16 more yards.

The Cardinals seemed to be on their way to taking back the lead or at least tying the score, but after moving the ball fairly effectively, they were stopped by two penalties and a quarterback sack.

One of the penalties was on fullback Reagan Maui'a for spiking the ball after making a modest catch and run. That drew the ire of Whisenhunt, who got in Maui'a's face and chastised him for the mistake.

"You just can't do that," Whisenhunt said. "That's just stupidity."

All the mistakes took the Cardinals out of Feely's range and they were forced to punt.

Arizona took a 3-0 lead right out of the gate after forcing and recovering a Jackson fumble on the first play from scrimmage. The Cardinals couldn't move the ball, but Feely kicked a 49-yarder.

The Bills responded by sacking Kolb in the end zone for a safety and then driving 49 yards on 10 plays for a touchdown. Spiller did the honors with a 10-yard scoring run.

Arizona managed to answer back with a 10-play, 67-yard drive, capped by an 11-yard touchdown pass from Kolb to Fitzgerald with 4:47 left in the second quarter, giving the Cardinals a 10-9 lead.

Notes: Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald had six catches for 93 yards and went over 10,000 yards receiving in his career on Sunday. ... Before the game, the Bills added DT Jay Ross and OL David Snow to the 53-man roster. Both were signed from the practice squad. To make room, the team released RB Johnny While and S Delano Howell. ... The Cardinals lost S Kerry Rhodes in the second half to an apparent back injury. ... Bills S Da'Norris Searcy suffered an ankle injury and did not return, but Gailey said that was the extent of Buffalo's injuries.
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