Bills End Eagles’ Streak at Five Games, 30-23 : Interconference: Buffalo takes advantage of Philadelphia’s muffed lateral to become the sole leader of the AFC East.
The Philadelphia Eagles have won several games this season by executing laterals that resulted in long gains.
But Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, a muffed lateral ended the Eagles’ hopes for a comeback victory.
The Bills took a 24-0 lead and held on for a 30-23 victory to take over sole possession of first place in the AFC East and end the Eagles’ five-game winning streak.
Philadelphia linebacker Seth Joyner was first a hero and then the goat. He intercepted a pass by Jim Kelly late in the fourth quarter with the Eagles trailing by seven, then fumbled near midfield as he tried to lateral on the return.
James Lofton, who caught five passes for 174 yards and moved into third place on the NFL’s receiving yardage list, recovered with 6:25 to play. The Eagles didn’t get it back until there were 13 seconds to play.
“We’re an opportunistic defense, an opportunistic team,” Joyner said. “We live by the sword and we died by the sword. Today, it didn’t work for us.
“I should have taken what I could’ve got and then fallen on the ball and given the offense the ball.”
If the Bills (10-2) win their remaining four games, they will take their third consecutive division title and clinch the home-field advantage for the entire AFC playoffs.
The Bills will play the Dolphins on Dec. 23 at Buffalo.
Kelly had his first 300-yard passing game of the season, completing 19 of 32 passes for 334 yards and three touchdowns.
“I didn’t have too many problems with it,” Kelly said of the Eagles’ blitz-oriented defense, which failed to get a sack. “One of the keys was that I was getting time to throw.”
Lofton, who scored on a 63-yard pass play 45 seconds into the game, moved past Don Maynard into third place on the all-time receiving list with 11,889 yards.
Eagle quarterback Randall Cunningham completed 15 of 25 passes for 231 yards and three touchdowns.
Cunningham also moved into second place on the all-time list of rushing yards by a quarterback. His 71 yards gave him 3,173 to move past Tobin Rote, who gained 3,128. Fran Tarkenton is the career leader with 3,674.
Cunningham had a 51-yard run in the second quarter that helped the Eagles regain some momentum lost as the Bills took a 24-0 first-quarter lead.
He also scrambled out of what looked to be a sure safety to complete the longest touchdown pass play in the NFL this season, 95 yards to Fred Barnett.
Buffalo’s Thurman Thomas gained 53 yards in 21 carries and scored on a four-yard touchdown pass play.