ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Running back Fred Jackson and an opportunistic Buffalo Bills defense combined to defeat the slow-starting, underachieving and turnover-prone Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
Jackson finished with a combined 196 yards from scrimmage and scored on a 5-yard run in a 31-24 victory. Linebacker Nick Barnett had two of Buffalo’s four interceptions.
After scoring on a 31-yard interception return in the second quarter, Barnett sealed the victory by grabbing Michael Vick’s tipped pass intended for Jason Avant with 1:49 remaining at the Bills 26. It came as the Eagles were attempting to tie the game and overcome a 21-point second-half deficit.
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The Bills took over and never gave the ball back. The game was decided on — what else? — another Eagles miscue.
Facing fourth-and-inches at midfield with 1:23 left, Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was successful in getting Eagles defensive end Juqua Parker to jump offside. That gave Buffalo a new set of downs and a chance to run out the clock after Philadelphia had used up its timeouts.
The Bills (4-1) bounced back from blowing a 14-point lead in a 23-20 loss at Cincinnati last weekend. Buffalo has matched its best start since 2008.
The Eagles (1-4) continue to unravel. And not even Vick’s suggestion of dropping their “Dream Team” label this week has put a stop to this ongoing nightmare.
Vick went 26 of 40 for 315 yards passing and two touchdowns, but was undone by a career-worst four interceptions. He added 90 yards rushing give him 4,948 for his career, passing Randall Cunningham for most yards by an NFL quarterback.
Philadelphia has lost four in a row — it’s longest skid since 2005 — and is off to its worst start since 1999, coach Andy Reid’s first season.
The Bills rolled to a 28-7 lead early in the third quarter on Brad Smith’s 6-yard scamper.
The Eagles rallied back by scoring 17 points on three of their next four drives before their sloppiness resurfaced on their final possession. Facing third-and-3 at the Bills 29, Vick attempted a swing pass to Avant at the left sideline. Cornerback Drayton Florence got his hands on the ball, which tipped off Avant as he was falling backward. Barnett then scooped it up before the ball hit the ground.
The Bills defense made up for allowing 489 yards offense by forcing five takeaways, including a fumble recovery. Buffalo now has 12 interceptions — one more than it had all last year. And the defense has scored touchdowns on interception returns in three straight games, matching Buffalo’s best stretch since its inaugural season in 1960.
Safety George Wilson led the defense with 11 tackles, an interception and broke up three passes.
Vick had three of his first four possessions end with interceptions.
After his third interception to Barnett, Vick walked off the field with his head down before being consoled on the sideline by several teammates and coach Andy Reid, who put his arm on the quarterback’s shoulder. As Vick returned to the field, guard Danny Watkins patted Vick on the helmet.
LeSean McCoy scored on a 10-yard run, while Vick hit DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin for touchdown passes.
The Eagles offense didn’t get much help from its high-priced defense, which had difficulty tackling in allowing Buffalo 331 yards offense and 21 first downs.
Receiver Donald Jones set up Jackson’s game-opening touchdown with an 18-yard catch-and-run, in which he broke three tackles before being brought down at the Eagles 6.
And they were totally caught off guard on a screen pass to Jackson, who ran free for 49 yards to set up the Bills’ second score, David Nelson’s 6-yard catch.
Fitzpatrick went 21 of 27 for 193 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)