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Houston at Buffalo

With Carr parked, Texans plod past Bills

SportsLine.com wire reports
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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Tony Banks keeps making a case that he's capable of being an NFL starter again. The Buffalo Bills' banged-up and inept Drew Bledsoe -led offense could've used him Sunday.

Filling in for injured starter David Carr, Banks outdid Bledsoe, sparking the Houston Texans to a 12-10 victory.

Despite playing only three quarters after Carr bruised his right shoulder 10 minutes into the game, Banks finished with 207 yards passing to Bledsoe's 184. And, more important, Banks engineered more touchdown drives -- one -- than Bledsoe has managed in his past three outings.

As the Texans (4-6) celebrated matching their victory total from last year's expansion season, the Bills (4-6) were left shell-shocked after losing their sixth in eight games.

"I'm so mad. I don't know what to do," Bledsoe said. "There have been times when offenses I have been on have struggled ... but I can't recall a time when we went three games without a touchdown."

It didn't help that the Bills were without leading receiver Eric Moulds (groin injury) and running back Travis Henry played the second half with a broken right leg.

Besides losing Carr, who will have an MRI exam Monday, the Texans were minus three defensive starters. Cornerback Marcus Coleman and backup linebacker Antwan Peek was suspended for an unspecified violation, and didn't travel with the team.

No big deal, said Banks.

"Nobody likes sitting on the sideline," he said. "I've played a lot of games in this league, but this is David's team. I accept that role ... and I'm just happy I'm able to help him out."

Banks has played a key role in two of Houston's four victories. He led the Texans to a 14-10 victory over Carolina last month, his only start while Carr had a sprained ankle.

This time, Banks took over after Carr was hurt when sacked in the end zone by former Texans linebacker Jeff Posey and fumbled, leading to a Bills safety.

Banks finished 11-of-16 and hit Andre Johnson for a 46-yard touchdown, which put the Texans up 6-5 in the second quarter. Houston never relinquished the lead as Kris Brown made two field goals.

Banks' 42-yard completion to Johnson on a decisive nine-play, 67-yard drive led to Brown hitting a 34-yarder for a 12-8 lead with 3:23 remaining.

Not bad for a player who failed to keep his starting job with three other teams.

"Tony Banks has been a starter in the past, and I'm sure he could start for a number of teams," Texans coach Dom Capers said. "We have total confidence in Tony Banks."

The Bills' confidence is running low, particularly regarding an offense that is in a deep funk. Those problems were compounded when kicker Rian Lindell missed two field goals.

In its past three games, Buffalo has combined for 21 points, including three safeties. The Bills' last offensive score was Henry's 14-yard run in a 24-7 win over Washington on Oct. 19.

"It's hard for me to believe," Bills president Tom Donahoe said. "It shouldn't be happening. But it's where we are. We have to come up with some answers. Right now we don't seem to have any answers."

How bad were they? The Bills didn't score despite three drives inside the Texans 20, in which they came away with two field goals and Lindell missing a 29-yarder. Lindell also missed a 45-yard attempt.

One of those drives stalled when Henry was stuffed for a 1-yard loss on third-and-goal from the 1.

"It's frustrating, it's embarrassing, as well," said Lindell of his missed attempts. "I certainly didn't do my job."

Lindell said he rushed one and was too close to the ball on the other miss.

Texans linebacker Jamie Sharper sealed the victory, ending Buffalo's last-gasp drive with 1:51 remaining at the Houston 31. Sharper knocked the ball out of quarterback Bledsoe's hands, and the fumble was recovered by Shantee Orr.

The game ended when Johnson ran the ball out of his end zone for a safety to run out the clock. Johnson had a strong outing, finishing with four catches for 122 yards.

Notes

  • The Bills' red-zone numbers continue to plummet. In 27 trips inside the opposing 20, Buffalo has managed 13 touchdowns, nine field goals, four interceptions and one missed field goal.
  • The Texans have scored an offensive touchdown in all 10 games after scoring one in only nine games last year.
  • Bills CB Antoine Winfield's interception of a Banks' pass was the team's first takeaway in four games, and Winfield's first since Nov. 11, 2001, when he intercepted New England's Tom Brady.


AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2003, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
 
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Houston's Shantee Orr (53) and friends sack Bills QB Drew Bledsoe.
 
Houston's Shantee Orr (53) and friends sack Bills QB Drew Bledsoe. (AP)
 

 

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QTR,
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Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
SAFETYDavid Carr fumbled ball out of bounds in end zone, 4:48.
2ND QUARTER
FGRian Lindell 23 Yd, 2:07. Drive: 9 plays, 89 yards in 4:23.
TDAndre Johnson, 46 Yd pass from Tony Banks (Kailee Wong Run for 2 Pt. Conversion failed), 1:12. Drive: 4 plays, 73 yards in 0:55.
3RD QUARTER
FGKris Brown 41 Yd, 10:42. Drive: 10 plays, 52 yards in 4:18.
FGRian Lindell 20 Yd, 4:38. Drive: 7 plays, 18 yards in 4:00.
4TH QUARTER
FGKris Brown 34 Yd, 3:23. Drive: 9 plays, 67 yards in 5:22.
SAFETYAndre Johnson ran out of bounds in end zone, 0:00.
Houston
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
T. Banks11/1620711
D. Carr2/41200
RushingATTYDSTDLG
D. Davis2668018
D. Carr1000
A. Johnson1-340-34
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
A. Johnson4122146
J. Gaffney340017
D. Davis333016
J. Holloway1909
D. Armstrong1808
C. Bradford1707
Buffalo
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
D. Bledsoe15/2618400
RushingATTYDSTDLG
T. Henry23149064
J. Reed116016
S. Morris21005
J. Burns1505
D. Bledsoe1202
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
B. Shaw592036
J. Reed659013
S. Aiken119019
M. Campbell1606
T. Henry1404
S. Morris1404
Complete Player Stats