Buffalo Bills Report Card: Week 7

October 21st, 2014
The Bills defensive line, including Jerry Hughes and Mario Williams, continued to stand out Sunday. (Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig — USA Today Sports)

The Bills defensive line, including Jerry Hughes and Mario Williams, continued to stand out Sunday. (Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig — USA Today Sports)

BBD Contributor: Paul Banach

The Buffalo Bills held a lead for only three minutes and seven seconds in Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings, but the 17-16 lead they took with one second left in the game was just enough for them to win and improve their record to 4-3 in the 2014 campaign.

For most of the afternoon it was a sluggish effort from Buffalo, as head coach Doug Marrone alluded to in his postgame press conference.

For this week’s report card, I broke down players’ performances and assigned team grades for the Bills’ Week 7 last-second win over the Vikings. Some players stood out, but others need to step up their games.

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Strong Defense, Next Five Games Hold Key to Playoffs for Buffalo Bills After Win vs. Vikings

October 20th, 2014
The Buffalo Bills are in position to potentially make a playoff run, but coach Doug Marrone knows improvement is necessary. (Photo: Kevin Hoffman — USA Today Sports)

The Buffalo Bills are in position to potentially make a playoff run, but coach Doug Marrone knows improvement is necessary. (Photo: Kevin Hoffman — USA Today Sports)

BBD Contributor: Josh Cornwall

After seeing on ESPN Gametracker that the Buffalo Bills had turned the ball over three times in the first half against the Minnesota Vikings—only seeing live the Bills’ fourth turnover when Kyle Orton fumbled on a strip sack—I headed back to my apartment just north of Boston with the radio turned off, hoping as a fan of the Bills that they would somehow mount a miraculous comeback. I snuck a peek at my phone at a rest stop on the Mass Pike and saw the game update “FINAL: MIN 16 – BUF 17.”

It’s almost hard to believe that there were reasons for Bills fans to be happy or even quasi-happy about the outcome of Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings. While the Bills ended up victorious when Sammy Watkins caught a game-winning touchdown from Kyle Orton with just a tick left on the clock to give Buffalo a 17-16 win, questions remain about the team’s ability to contend for the playoffs this season.

How are the Bills supposed to feel after a game like that? What are the expectations for the final nine games? Have they changed?

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Buffalo Bills Offense Overcomes Turnovers, Injuries to Steal Victory from Minnesota Vikings

October 19th, 2014
The Buffalo Bills defeated the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, thanks to a Sammy Watkins touchdown catch with one second remaining in the game. (Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig — USA Today Sports)

The Buffalo Bills defeated the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, thanks to a Sammy Watkins touchdown catch with one second remaining in the game. (Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig — USA Today Sports)

BBD Editor: Dan Hope

For the first 57 minutes of Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings, it looked as though this column would be all about everything that went wrong for the Buffalo Bills offense on Sunday.

The Bills flipped the script in the game’s final three minutes and seven seconds, as quarterback Kyle Orton led a 15-play, 80-yard touchdown drive, which ended with just one second remaining in the game, to give Buffalo a 17-16 victory in a game that was otherwise ugly for both teams.

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Buffalo Bills Rushing Offense in Big Trouble After Fred Jackson, C.J. Spiller Injured vs. Minnesota Vikings

October 19th, 2014
Fred Jackson was visibly devastated as a groin injury forced him out of Sunday's game. (Photo: Kevin Hoffman — USA Today Sports)

Fred Jackson was visibly devastated as a groin injury forced him out of Sunday’s game. (Photo: Kevin Hoffman — USA Today Sports)

BBD Editor: Dan Hope

Things had not been going very well for the Buffalo Bills rushing offense in recent weeks, but it looks as though it could get much, much worse after the team’s top two running backs, Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, each suffered injuries that knocked them out of Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings during the first half.

Jackson left the contest with a groin injury, while Spiller suffered a shoulder injury. Both players were carted off the field and were quickly ruled out.

According to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, the initial diagnosis for Spiller is a broken collarbone, while Jackson will need an MRI on his groin.

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Buffalo Bills vs. Minnesota Vikings, 2014 NFL Week 7: Inactives and Key Matchups

October 19th, 2014
Jerry Hughes and the Bills defensive line could have a field day against Matt Kalil and the Vikings offensive line. (Photo: Kevin Hoffman — USA Today Sports)

Jerry Hughes and the Bills defensive line could have a field day against Matt Kalil and the Vikings offensive line. (Photo: Kevin Hoffman — USA Today Sports)

BBD Editor: Dan Hope

Back to .500 (3-3) after a loss to the New England Patriots in Week 6, the Buffalo Bills will look to get back to a winning record and keep themselves in the AFC East race on Sunday when they play the Minnesota Vikings at 1 p.m. ET in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

The Bills’ most notable inactives from last week, wide receiver Mike Williams and safety Aaron Williams, are back on the 46-man gameday roster this week. A spot opened back up for Mike Williams with Marquise Goodwin being out with a hamstring injury, while the return of Aaron Williams means that fellow safety Kenny Ladler, signed off the practice squad prior to last week’s game, is inactive Sunday.

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