Rian Lindell’s 36-yard field goal with four seconds left – moved in from 51 when Washington’s Hall of Fame head coach, Joe Gibbs, inexplicably tried to call two timeouts in a row and incurred a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty – gave Buffalo a 17-16 victory on an eerie, emotional afternoon at FedEx Field.
“It kind of surprised me a little bit,” Lindell said of Gibbs’ miscue. “I thought, ‘Wait, that’s 15 yards.’ Brian even said something to them. The refs conferred and said, ‘Yeah, that’s a penalty.’ It’s definitely nicer to be closer.”
An understandably distraught Gibbs said afterward, “There is nobody to blame but myself. It’s not somebody else. It’s not their fault, it’s my fault. I should have known the rule and I shouldn’t have called that. In all likelihood that could cost us the ball game.”
The Redskins, still reeling from the murder of Pro Bowl safety Sean Taylor at his Miami-area home, dedicated the game to their fallen teammate. Surrounded by thousands of No. 21 jerseys and signs, the defense took the field for Buffalo’s first offensive play with nobody lined up at strong safety; Reed Doughty, Taylor’s replacement in the lineup, would enter the game after a 22-yard Fred Jackson run.
Jackson, making his first NFL start in place of the injured Marshawn Lynch, finished the game with 16 carries for 82 yards. He added 69 more on four receptions, including a 54-yard catch-and-run early in the fourth quarter to set up Lindell’s fourth field goal of the game. The Redskins tried to run out the clock, but Aaron Schobel’s 3rd-and-8 stop on Clinton Portis would give rookie quarterback Trent Edwards one final shot.
Edwards finished 22-for-36 for 257 yards, but no completion was more important than the last one of the game, a 30-yard laser to Josh Reed to put Buffalo in position for Lindell’s winning kick.
“It was a big throw,” Bills receiver Lee Evans said. “It was a big step for him in his young career. I think it does a lot for his confidence. I think it does a lot for the confidence of his teammates, coaches and everybody around him.”
NOTES: The final kick was Lindell’s ninth career game-winner, and his second of the season. On Veterans Day, he booted a 34-yarder with three seconds on the clock to beat Miami, 13-10. The ninth-year pro is now 9-of-10 in game-winning attempts ... Reed led the receivers with five catches for 67 yards, while Lee Evans chipped in with 4-51. Four of Reed’s catches were good for first downs ... Larry Tripplett had his best game as a Bill, forcing a fumble and snaring his first NFL interception ... Angelo Crowell also had a big day, taking down Campbell for a first-half safety and recovering a fumble later in the game ... The Bills clawed their way back to .500 (6-6) with the win ... The Redskins fell to 5-7, but wouldn’t lose again until their wild-card playoff game in Seattle.