The Buffalo Bills' quarterback woes continued, and they spoiled an excellent performance by the defense.
Backup quarterback Nathan Peterman threw two interceptions in the final two minutes of the game, including one Jonathan Joseph returned for a touchdown in the Houston Texans' 20-13 win Sunday.
The Bills defense sacked Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson seven times and held Houston to 13 points. The defense came up big late in the fourth quarter when the Texans had first-and-goal on the 1-yard-line. The Bills defense stuffed a first down run play, stopped a short pass play on second down and Matt Milano broke up a would-be touchdown pass to force a field goal attempt. The Texans tied the game at 13.
And that's when Joseph struck. Peterman threw outside to Kelvin Benjamin, but Joseph read the play and intercepted the pass. The score proved to be all the Texans needed to win the game.
Peterman replaced Josh Allen, who left the game with an elbow injury. He had 61 passing yards and a touchdown pass to Zay Jones, but his two interceptions late in the game were costly. Allen had 84 passing yards and 20 rushing yards before he left the game.
The Bills fall to 2-4. The Texans improve to 3-3.
Here is the Buffalo Bills Week 6 report card:
Nathan Peterman threw the game away and Josh Allen wasn't good before he left the game with an injury. The Bills' quarterback situation cost them this win. The defense did their job. The offense didn't do theirs. Peterman had a magical moment when he threw a pretty touchdown pass to Zay Jones. However, that will be forgotten. His two interceptions late in the game were the difference.
LeSean McCoy had another good outing, with 73 rushing yards and 21 receiving yards. It shouldn't be surprising that the Bills have been in contention with McCoy getting the ball. Chris Ivory had a quiet day as the change-of-pace back. He was held to six carries for 5 yards. Fullback Patrick DiMarco had a costly penalty on a long pass play. Allen threw a deep pass to Kelvin Benjamin, but it was called back when DiMarco was flagged for illegal formation. There have been way too many of those penalties this year, and DiMarco's was the latest.
Zay Jones caught three passes for 35 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown reception was a beauty. He caught Peterman's pass in the back of the end zone and managed to not only get both feet down, but he also maintained possession. He's had problems with drops, especially in his rookie season. He's showing improvement as a pass catcher. Benjamin had two catches for 43 yards, including a 39-yard reception. He had another big gain wiped out by DiMarco's penalty. This isn't a great receiving corps, but they had a few good moments Sunday.
Another good showing for the offensive line. There are some penalties that were problematic, and losing starting left guard Vladimir Ducasse was a blow to the line. Overall, though, they handled the strong Texans front and opened up some holes for McCoy. They also provided good protection for the quarterbacks. J.J. Watt got his sack, but he was held in check for most of the game.
Offensive MVP: LeSean McCoy. This award goes to McCoy for the second consecutive week. With 94 total yards, he was clearly the Bills' top offensive player. He should be utilized more in the passing game, especially with these quarterbacks.
Name a guy and he probably had a great game. Kyle Williams? A beast. He finished with two sacks, but he was really in on three. (He had two half-sacks.) For a big man, he has shown over the course of his career a great ability to get to the quarterback. Jerry Hughes? Another monster game. He finished with 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Rookie Harrison Phillips had a fumble recovery and a tackle for a loss. Eddie Yarbrough was great against the run. Shaq Lawson chipped in with two tackles and a sack. The Bills' defensive line rotation is working, and it's producing results. This was reminiscent of when the Bills had Hughes, Mario Williams, Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams out there. The difference now is they have six, seven or eight guys who can go out there and produce.
Tre'Davious White did OK against DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins made a great catch on the Texans' lone offensive touchdown. White appeared to do everything right on that play, but it showed just how great Hopkins is. That wasn't an easy play to make. White held Hopkins in check for most of the second half. The receiver found some open space late in the game, but the Bills held the Texans to a field goal. Phillip Gaines had a pass interception penalty on that drive. It was a brutal play on his part. He has to get his head around and make a play on the ball in that situation. For the most part, though, the secondary was solid. Jordan Poyer had an interception in the first half. Micah Hyde returned and finished with three tackles (one solo). The defensive backs played a big role in the success of the pass rush. There were several plays that Watson didn't have anyone to throw to, which is why he got sacked seven times.
Defensive MVP: Kyle Williams and Lorenzo Alexander. The ageless wonder. Williams had two sacks and a forced fumble against the Texans. The defensive line has been solid this season, and Williams has been a big part of that success. He was able to pressure Deshaun Watson and get to the quarterback on several plays. The Texans' offensive line had trouble containing him. Alexander also had an excellent game. He finished with 1.5 sacks and an incredible interception. He was a menace all game.
Kicking and punting
Kick coverage and returns
A disaster for the Bills against the Texans. Ray-Ray McCloud opened the game by fumbling the kickoff return. Fortunately, it was recovered by the Bills. The bad news came later for McCloud, when he muffed a punt that set up a Texans touchdown. Returning doesn't seem to be a high priority for the Bills, and that's problematic with the NFL rule changes that will give them more opportunities to run back kicks. The returning problems reemerged when Taiwan Jones bobbled a return when the Texans kicked off from the 20-yard line. In that situation, you need to get good field position. The Bills didn't because Jones couldn't handle the kickoff.
Special teams MVP: Corey Bojorquez. Bojorquez has been stellar this season. Another couple of punts inside the 20 Sunday, and he booted a 60-yard punt against the Texans. That was his longest punt of the season. He's having an impressive rookie season.
OTHER GRADES AND FACTS
Overall team performance
The Bills wasted a sensational defensive effort. That's the type of defensive play that wins Super Bowls. The problem, though, is the offense isn't there. They have LeSean McCoy, and no one else. The Bills offense cost them this game.
Stats of the game
7. The number of sacks the Bills had Sunday against the Texans. It was a dominating performance by the defensive front.
129. The passing yardage total between Josh Allen and Nathan Peterman. You're not going to win too many games with an ineffective passing attack. The Bills need to get more out of its offense.
2,520. The number of days since the last time the Bills had a punt blocked in a game. Before the Texans blocked Corey Bojorquez's punt in the second quarter, the last blocked punt against the Bills came on Nov. 20, 2011. The Bills lost that game to the Miami Dolphins.
The Bills need to get these ticky-tack offensive penalties under control. The illegal formation penalties are getting old. It was an illegal formation penalty that cost the Bills a long gain. This falls to the coaching staff. You need to get the players on the same page.
The Bills (2-4) will play at 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21 against the Indianapolis Colts. The game will be televised on CBS.