ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — With the help of Buffalo's new running back Joe Cribbs, Greg Bell rushed for two touchdowns as the Bills snapped an eight-game losing streak Sunday with a 21-9 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
It was Hank Bullough's first victory as an NFL coach and avenged a 49-17 defeat to the Colts in his debut two weeks ago. Buffalo is 1-6, while Indianapolis fell to 2-5.
"It was a long time coming," Bullough said of the victory.
Asked if Cribbs, who was playing in his first game since signing with Buffalo Sept. 11, contributed to the victory, despite his unimpressive statistics, Bullough said:
"What type of statistics do you go by? Why not go by blocking. That is the statistic that counts for me. That's a team statistic."
Cribbs, the former Buffalo star who spent two years in the United States Football League, rushed for 41 yards and caught two passes for 12 yards, but Bullough's ledger shows Cribbs with several crucial blocks, including the key ones on Bell's two touchdown runs.
Victory-starved Buffalo fans remembered the hard-running Cribbs who has has rushed for more than 1,000 yards in all but one of his six professional seasons. However, it was Cribbs the blocker who was a big difference Sunday.
Cribbs, who refused to speak to the media during the week before the game, could not be found in the locker room to talk about his effort Sunday.
But Bell, who has been absorbing punishment all season as Buffalo's only offensive threat, had no problem talking about Cribbs' impact.
"There were many plays when I would run out and there would be two or three guys on me," said Bell, who rushed for 80 yards and caught two passes for another 46 yards "Now, with Joe back there, they run to him like flies."
Bell scored his touchdowns on runs of seven and one yards.
All three Indianapolis scores came on field goals by Raul Allegre, while a Vince Ferragamo-to-Pete Metzelaars three-yard touchdown pass late in the game closed out Buffalo's scoring.
The Bills intercepted Mike Pagel passes twice and limited him to 7 completions on 22 attempts for 78 yards. The Colts only managed 126 yards on 38 rushes.
"They had our running game down pretty good," Colt running back George Wonsley said. "They were well prepared for our passing attack, too."
The last victory for the Bills, who lost 25 of their last 30 games going into Sunday, came Dec. 2 against the Colts.