Buffalo (3-6) at Houston (3-6)

Cloudy Currently: Houston, TX
Temp: 77° F
  • Game info: 1:00 pm EST Sun Nov 19, 2006
  • TV: CBS
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Buffalo Bills look to get on track offensively Sunday when they visit a Houston Texans team that is one of the worst defensive clubs in the NFL.

Buffalo (3-6) almost came away with a win at Indianapolis last week, but fell 17-16 to the unbeaten Colts for its fourth defeat in five games.

The Bills’ struggles on offense have typically reserved wide receiver Lee Evans voicing his frustration.

“Right now, either you win or you’re going home, period,” Evans said. “It’s too late in the season for moral victories. I think coach (Dick) Jauron said it best. He said: ‘I love where we’re going, not where we’re at.’ “

Buffalo, playing without injured running back Willis McGahee, managed just 162 yards last week and is 31st in the NFL with 241.3 yards of total offense per game.

“Until we get that fixed,” Evans said, “it’s going to continue to be bad.”

The Bills, though, did have a successful day on the ground against the Colts despite playing without McGahee, who is out indefinitely with three cracked ribs. In his absence, Anthony Thomas ran for 109 yards on 28 carries.

Buffalo now gets a chance to face the 27th-worst rush defense in the league in Houston (3-6), which allows 131.3 yards on the ground per game.

Establishing a running game might help quarterback J.P. Losman, who ranks 24th in the league with 1,498 passing yards. Losman completed just 8 of 12 passes for 83 yards last week.

“J.P. is part of some of the problems that we have, but he’s certainly not the only person,” Jauron said. “We need to score. It’s hard to win football games on field goals.”

The Bills are 30th in the NFL with 15.6 points per game.

“It’s not that we were getting overmanned,” said Losman, who has been sacked 30 times this season, the third-most in the league. “We’ve got to clear it up. Whatever we call, we have to execute it and pick it up in the red zone. And it starts with me.”

Houston enters Sunday’s meeting coming off a 13-10 victory at Jacksonville last weekend, ending the Texans’ league-high 12-game road skid.

“The biggest thing I see from the group is when something bad happens in a game right now, our football team doesn’t linger,” coach Gary Kubiak said. “It happens, we play the next play, we go play the next series and I think that’s where we’re really improving.”

While Houston is ranked 27th in the NFL in total yards allowed with 346.4 a game, the defense had one of its best performances of the year against the Jaguars, forcing a season-high four turnovers.

The Texans’ effort, though, cost them two key defensive players as tackle Travis Johnson (torn calf muscle) and cornerback Lewis Sanders (broken hand) are expected to miss the rest of the season. Houston will also be without offensive tackle Zach Weigert, who tore his ACL.

“We have a lot of things to work through this week with our injury situation and our problems, but one thing I feel for sure is our guys are battling,” Kubiak said.

One such player is No. 1 overall pick Mario Williams, who leads Houston with 4 1/2 sacks despite playing with a sore arch in his right foot for the past few weeks.

Quarterback David Carr took a late hit last week, but should play Sunday.

Buffalo has won two of three meetings with Houston, including last season’s 22-7 home victory.

“They have been solid all year long,” Kubiak said about the Bills. “They don’t give up a lot of big plays, so it’ll be a tough ballgame.”

Houston hasn’t won back-to-back games since December 2004 and has accomplished the feat just three times in franchise history, all during that season.

Updated Sunday, Nov 19, 2006

Team Comparison

Team Records Standings PF PA Road/Home AFC NFC DIV Streak
Buffalo 7-9-0 3rd AFC East 300 311 3-5-0 Road 5-7-0 2-2-0 3-3-0 Lost 2
Houston 6-10-0 4th AFC South 267 366 4-4-0 Home 6-6-0 0-4-0 3-3-0 Won 2

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Team Stat Leaders

Passing Yards
Rushing Yards
Receiving Yards


Week 12