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HOUSTON 12, BUFFALO 10

Safety-First Bills Again Post No Touchdowns

November 17, 2003|From Associated Press

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Tony Banks keeps making a case that he's capable of being an NFL starter again. The Buffalo Bills' banged-up and inept offense could've used him Sunday.

Filling in for injured starter David Carr, Banks outdid Drew Bledsoe, sparking the Houston Texans to a 12-10 victory.

Despite playing only three quarters after Carr bruised his right shoulder 10 minutes into the game, Banks finished with 207 yards passing to Bledsoe's 184. And, more important, he engineered more touchdown drives (one) than Bledsoe has managed in his last three outings.

As the Texans (4-6) celebrated matching their win total from last year's expansion season, the Bills (4-6) were left shellshocked after losing their sixth in eight games.

In its last three games, Buffalo has scored 21 points, including three safeties -- two on Sunday. The Bills' last offensive touchdown was Travis Henry's 14-yard run in a 24-7 win over Washington on Oct. 19.

"I'm so mad, I don't know what to do," Bledsoe said.

Sunday, the Bills were without leading receiver Eric Moulds (groin injury), and Henry played the second half with a broken right leg.

Besides losing Carr, who will have an MRI exam today, the Texans were minus three defensive starters.

No big deal, said Banks.

"Nobody likes sitting on the sideline," he said. "But this is David's team. I accept that role."

Banks has played a key role in two of the Texans' four wins. He led a 14-10 victory over Carolina last month, his only start (Carr had a sprained ankle).

This time, Banks took over after Carr was hurt when sacked in the end zone by former Texan linebacker Jeff Posey and fumbled, leading to a Bill safety.

Banks finished 11 for 16 and hit Andre Johnson for a 46-yard touchdown and a 6-5 lead in the second quarter. Houston never relinquished the lead as Kris Brown made two field goals.

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