Bills 37, Rams 17

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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP)—With a little help from Buffalo’s special teams, Drew Bledsoe answered his critics.

Bledsoe hit tight end Mark Campbell for three touchdowns and Nate Clements returned a punt 86 yards for a score, helping the Bills to a 37-17 win over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.

It was a dominating effort by a Buffalo team (4-6) that has won four straight at home, but was coming off its worst outing of the season, a 29-6 loss at New England.

Bledsoe answered those calling for rookie J.P. Losman to take over as starter, going 15-of-24 for 185 yards. His only blemish was an interception off Lee Evans’ hand in the first quarter.

The three touchdowns were the most Bledsoe’s thrown since he had three in Buffalo’s 38-21 win over Miami on Dec. 1, 2002.

Bledsoe was so good his 160 yards passing in the first half were more than he had in 10 of his previous 23 games. And he got his 213th career touchdown pass, moving into 19th place ahead of Terry Bradshaw and Y.A. Tittle.

After spotting the Rams a 10-0 first-quarter lead on their first two possessions, the Bills held St. Louis to 98 yards and no points in the second half, and intercepted Marc Bulger three times.

And Buffalo’s special teams continued to shine. Clements’ score was Buffalo’s fourth touchdown return of the season, and second in consecutive games after Jonathan Smith returned a punt 70 yards for a score against the Patriots.

This was not the effort the Rams were expecting after taking the NFC West lead with last weekend’s 23-12 win over Seattle.

St. Louis (5-5) has now lost three of its last four, all three losses against AFC East opponents.

This performance might have been worse than their loss to Miami, and could lead to another public outburst from coach Mike Martz, who chewed out his team following a 40-22 loss to New England on Nov. 7.

Marc Bulger went 27-of-45 for 287 yards, including touchdowns to Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce.

The Rams unraveled completely at the start of the third quarter with the game tied at 17. The Bills scored 20 points in the quarter, 17 in a 5:40 span.

After the Rams went three and out on their first possession of the half, Smith returned a punt 53 yards to the St. Louis 5. Bledsoe hit Campbell over the middle for a touchdown on the next play.

After another three and out, Clements caught the punt at the right hash and burst untouched up the right sideline, somersaulting into the end zone from the 1.

The Rams’ Erik Flowers then muffed Buffalo’s short kickoff, which the Bills recovered at the St. Louis 31, leading to Rian Lindell’s 35-yard field goal.

Any chances of a Rams comeback ended when Bulger marched St. Louis 65 yards to the Bills 2 early in the fourth quarter. But defensive tackle Sam Adams batted a pass at the line of scrimmage and then caught it in a crowd.

Campbell also caught TD passes of 19 and 10 yards for the first three-TD game of his career, and finished with four catches for 37 yards.

Willis McGahee rushed for 100 yards on 20 carries, the fourth 100-yard game of his career—all coming in Bills victories this season.

The Rams’ already young and troubled secondary was depleted further by injuries. Starting cornerback Travis Fisher and backup DeJuan Groce did not return after sustaining knee injuries in the first quarter. And fourth cornerback Kevin Garrett did not return after taking a blow to the head in the third quarter.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 St. Louis
M. Bulger M. Bulger QB
27-45, 287 yds
2 TDs, 3 INTs
 Buffalo
M. Campbell M. Campbell TE
4 Rec, 37 yds
3 TDs

Team Stat Leaders

Passing Yards
Rushing Yards
Receiving Yards

Scoreboard

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