STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
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RB C.J. Spiller had only one carry, and it went for 53 yards. Unfortunately, it could be his last carry as a Bill. The impending free agent broke his collarbone and is likely out for the rest of the season.
RB Fred Jackson went down in the first quarter with a groin injury and could not finish. He is expected to miss at least two weeks. The Bills are on their bye after this week's game in New York.
WR Sammy Watkins had a breakout game as he set career highs for catches (nine), yards (122) and touchdowns (two). He caught the winning 2-yard TD pass with one second remaining. All nine of his catches went for first downs or touchdowns.
TE Scott Chandler caught three passes for 36 yards, including a huge 24-yarder on fourth-and-20 on the winning drive. That came just a couple plays after he dropped a deep pass.
QB Kyle Orton completed 31 of 43 passes for 283 yards, with two TDs and an interception. He also lost fumble on one of the six sacks he was a victim of.
RB Anthony Dixon carried 13 times for 51 yards and caught three passes for 15 yards when he was pressed into duty after the losses of C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson.
CB Leodis McKelvin intercepted two passes and now has three for the season, a career high.
WR Chris Hogan lost a fumble in the red zone but atoned with a huge 28-yard catch to the 2-yard-line on the winning drive. He finished with five catches for 63 yards.
DT Marcell Dareus racked up two more sacks to give him seven for the season.
DE Jerry Hughes had another big game as he was in on five tackles and had 1.5 sacks.
REPORT CARD VS. VIKINGS
PASSING OFFENSE: B-plus Overcoming an offensive line that couldn't keep the Vikings' pass rush away from him, Kyle Orton managed to throw for 283 yards on 31 completions, and he directed the winning 80-yard drive in the final three minutes. On that drive, he was sacked twice, but he also hit some huge throws, including a 24-yarder to Scott Chandler on fourth-and-20 and an 18-yarder to Sammy Watkins on third-and-12, before hitting Watkins on a 2-yard pass for the winning TD. Watkins set career highs with nine catches, 122 yards and two TDs.
RUSHING OFFENSE: C-plus Outside of C.J. Spiller's 53-yard run in the second quarter, it was a tough go on the ground. Of course, that was mostly due to Spiller being hurt on that play and Fred Jackson going down in the first quarter. Anthony Dixon ran for 51 yards on 13 carries, but he doesn't offer Spiller's explosiveness or Jackson's ability to make clutch plays. The offensive line didn't win enough battles up front.
PASS DEFENSE: B-plus The line generated good pressure in the second half and finished with five sacks of Teddy Bridgewater, 4.5 of those credited to Marcell Dareus, Jerry Hughes and Mario Williams. Leodis McKelvin came up with two picks, but he, Stephon Gilmore and Nickell Robey all gave up some sizable completions. Still, allowing just 118 yards is a pretty good day, no matter who the quarterback is.
RUSH DEFENSE: D The No. 1 unit in the NFL got lit up for 158 yards by a team playing without Adrian Peterson, easily its worst game of the year. The Vikings' offensive line has been struggling, but it opened some pretty good holes and the Bills didn't tackle well as they allowed Jerick McKinnon to gain 103 yards.
C The Bills were worried about Cordarrelle Patterson on kick returns, so in the second quarter, kicking into the wind, Jordan Gay squibbed one that didn't work. The Vikings fielded it cleanly, and the Bills committed a formation penalty. The Vikings took possession at the 40, and they quickly drove to a touchdown. Colton Schmidt had a net punting average of 40, and Leodis McKelvin had a 30-yard kickoff return.
C Nathaniel Hackett's habit of calling running plays on second-and-long, which usually result in third-and-long, has grown tiresome. However, he made a nice call for a deep pass to Sammy Watkins on the first play following a Minnesota turnover; it resulted in a TD. Jim Schwartz found a way to pick up the pressure in the second half and the Bills finished with five sacks. Doug Marrone said he was not happy with the way his team played.