<
>

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.

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.

Comments

ESPN Fan Shop Powered By

  • Nike Men's Home Game Jersey Arizona Cardinals Larry Fitzgerald #11Shop

  • Nike Boys' Home Game Jersey Buffalo Bills Fred Jackson #22Shop

NFL News