Final

Cardinals 14

(2-5, 0-4 away)

Bills 38

(2-5, 2-2 home)

1:00 PM ET, October 31, 2004

Ralph Wilson Stadium, Buffalo, NY 

1 2 3 4 T
ARI 0 7 0 714
BUF 10 7 0 2138

McGahee, 2-0 as starter, runs for 2 TDs

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -- Coach Mike Mularkey placed his faith in Willis McGahee to spark the Buffalo Bills' much-maligned offense, and the running back delivered in a big way.

On a wet and windy afternoon, McGahee ran for 102 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Bills to a 38-14 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

Allen's Analysis
Eric Allen Cardinals at Bills: What abilities/qualities does McGahee bring over Henry to the offense? He brings all the attributes a team would expect from a young running back trying to take a job from a veteran. He's faster, has quick decision-making skills and makes hard cuts. There's no doubt McGahee wants to be the man and it may be time to make the switch due to Travis Henry's health issues. McGahee went a long way toward securing the starting job with his performance against the Cardinals. The Bills need a back who can run the ball 20-to-25 times and they've found him.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders. He's a regular contributor to Insider.

McGahee's two scores were the first of his career, and the first touchdowns rushing in 10 games for Buffalo. His performance inspired a breakout performance for an offense that was averaging less than 13 points a game this season, and matched its best offensive total since a 38-17 over Jacksonville in Week 2 of last season.

"It feels great," McGahee said. "We had a challenge on our shoulders, and that was getting us a rushing touchdown. I didn't care who it was. That was the goal."

His efforts certainly inspired Buffalo's offensive linemen.

"When you see him shucking guys downfield, it gets you excited," guard Chris Villarrial said. "You just want to keep pounding the ball. ... I'm proud of Willis stepping in."

The performance came the week Mularkey announced that McGahee had supplanted four-year veteran Travis Henry as the team's starter. And it made McGahee's long-awaited comeback complete, after the 2003 first-round pick missed his entire rookie season recovering from reconstructive surgery on his left knee.

Count Emmitt Smith among the impressed.

"The kid's back," said Smith, the NFL's all-time leading rusher. "The way I see it, that young man has fought his way, he's fought a long road and it's paying dividends."

In two starts this season, McGahee has two 100-yard games and has led the Bills (2-5) to both of their victories.

The Cardinals (2-5) continue to struggle away from home, after a big 25-17 win over Seattle in Arizona last week. The loss was Arizona's 17th straight on the road, the worst current streak in the NFL, dating back to its win at Carolina on Oct. 6, 2002.

Not much appears to have changed since the Cardinals last visited Buffalo, losing 45-14 on Nov. 11, 1990.

On Sunday, the Cardinals were undone by their own mistakes and plagued by the weather. Smith had 64 yards rushing and Arizona managed just 213 yards of total offense in a game played in a persistent rain and 20-plus mph winds gusting in off of nearby Lake Erie.

The Cardinals also had 14 penalties for 101 yards.

Josh McCown finished 9-of-24 for 101 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown pass to Bryant Johnson with four minutes left.

"I know one thing, I have a newfound respect for Jim Kelly and what he did here," McCown said, referring to the Bills Hall of Fame quarterback. "It was the toughest conditions I've ever played in."

McGahee put the Bills ahead 10-0 when he scored on a 5-yard run 11 minutes into the game. The score capped a 55-yard drive in which McGahee accounted for 50 yards rushing.

The Cardinals cut the lead to 10-7 on Obafemi Ayanbadejo's 4-yard run midway through the second quarter.

Buffalo responded immediately when Terrence McGee returned the ensuing kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown.

The game was all but decided with six minutes left in the third quarter. Trailing 17-7, the Cardinals failed on fourth-and-7 at the Bills 43, when Anquan Boldin had a pass fall out of his hands.

The Bills followed the failed drive with three touchdowns in the span of eight minutes in the fourth quarter, capped by McGahee's 1-yard plunge.

Eric Moulds had an 8-yard touchdown reception, rookie tight end Tim Euhus had a 12-yard touchdown catch, and Rian Lindell rounded out Buffalo's scoring with a 25-yard field goal.

Game notes


The Bills were down to three receivers after Josh Reed left the game after injuring his left knee returning a punt two minutes into the game. Reed will have more tests Monday. ... McGahee presented the football with which he scored his first career touchdown to fullback Daimon Shelton -- a reward for springing the run with a big block. "It was a great feeling," Shelton said. "It was very classy for him to do that." ... Boldin, the NFL's rookie of the year last season, finished with 50 yards receiving in his season debut, back after hurting his right knee last August.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
Arizona
Buffalo
1st Downs1411
3rd down efficiency
4-166-16
4th down efficiency
1-21-1
Total Yards213209
Yards per play3.33.8
Total Drives13
Passing8581
Comp-Att
9-248-17
Yards per pass
3.54.8
Interceptions thrown
00
Sacks-Yards Lost
3-160-0
Rushing128128
Rushing Attempts
3838
Yards per rush
3.43.4
Penalties14-1017-55
Turnovers00
Fumbles lost
00
Interceptions thrown
00
Possession31:4228:18

Passing Leaders

ARIC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
McCown9/241014.2103-16
BUFC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Bledsoe8/17814.8200-0

Rushing Leaders

ARICARYDSAVGTDLG
Smith22642.9011
Hambrick13534.1020
BUFCARYDSAVGTDLG
McGahee301023.4224
Burns4276.8021

Receiving Leaders

ARIRECYDSAVGTDLG
Boldin45012.5021
Johnson33812.7128
BUFRECYDSAVGTDLG
Moulds34013.3123
Euhus22110.5112

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERARIBUF
FG5:28RIAN LINDELL 25 YD
Drive: 7 plays, 19 yds, 3:16
03
TD10:29WILLIS MCGAHEE 5 YD RUN (RIAN LINDELL KICK)
Drive: 4 plays, 55 yds, 2:28
010
SECOND QUARTERARIBUF
TD6:35OBAFEMI AYANBADEJO 4 YD RUN (NEIL RACKERS KICK)
Drive: 9 plays, 58 yds, 4:22
710
TD6:48TERRENCE MCGEE 87 YD KICKOFF RETURN (RIAN LINDELL KICK) 717
FOURTH QUARTERARIBUF
TD0:05ERIC MOULDS 8 YD PASS FROM DREW BLEDSOE (RIAN LINDELL KICK) 724
TD2:55TIM EUHUS 12 YD PASS FROM DREW BLEDSOE (RIAN LINDELL KICK) 731
TD8:03WILLIS MCGAHEE 1 YD RUN (RIAN LINDELL KICK) 738
TD11:06BRYANT JOHNSON 28 YD PASS FROM JOSH MCCOWN (NEIL RACKERS KICK) 1438