Taylor throws 2 TDs to lead Bills over Broncos
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills had the top rushing attack in the NFL the past two seasons.
When the ground game stalled on Sunday, they relied on Tyrod Taylor’s arm and Stephen Hauschka’s leg to pull out a victory.
Taylor completed a career-high 77 percent of his passes (20 of 26) for 213 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Bills to a 26-16 win over the Denver Broncos at New Era Field.
“He carried us today. Let’s be clear about that,” Buffalo’s star tailback LeSean McCoy said. “Tyrod responded in a major way. And hey, if we have to win like that, I’d bet my last dollar on Tyrod, and I‘m a betting man.”
Von Miller, the Broncos’ All-Pro pass rusher, doubled down on the praise for Taylor.
“He’s a great quarterback,” Miller said. “He plays at a level that lifts his teammates. If they’re 80s and Tyrod gets his juice going, they’re 90s now, they’re 95s. He really knows how to boost his teammates’ talents.”
McCoy struggled for the second week in a row, rushing for just 21 yards on 14 carries, but was Buffalo’s leading receiver with seven catches for 48 yards. He also became the third active player with at least 9,000 rushing yards and 400 receptions in his career.
“Whatever it takes to win, that’s what we’ll do,” McCoy said. “I‘m very confident putting the ball in (Taylor‘s) hands and letting him lead us.”
Hauschka kicked four field goals and became the first Bills kicker to convert twice from 53 yards or further in the same game as Buffalo improved to 2-1 under new head coach Sean McDermott.
“I like this football team,” McDermott said. “These guys play together, they work hard during the week, and there’s no surprise, no mistake I should say, for the results they got. You earn it. That’s how you win in this league. You have to earn it, and those guys earned it.”
Trevor Siemian was 24-of-40 passing for 259 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions for the Broncos (2-1), who averaged 33 points in their first two victories. Jamaal Charles rushed for 56 yards and a touchdown.
After taking a 16-13 lead in the third quarter, the Broncos gained just 80 yards and turned the ball over three times on their final four possessions.
Denver’s comeback hopes ended when Siemian threw an incomplete pass on fourth down with 1:47 remaining.
“It was all around a bad day for us as far as critical football,” Broncos head coach Vance Joseph said.
Hauschka’s 53-yard field goal extended Buffalo’s lead to 23-16 after Denver failed on a fake punt from its own 31 early in the fourth quarter. Hauschka hit from 27 yards to make it a nine-point game with 3:14 left after rookie Tre‘Davious White made his first career interception and the Bills ran 7:30 off the clock with a 16-play drive.
The Bills took possession twice inside the Denver 32 in the second half, but failed to capitalize on their first opportunity following an E.J. Gaines interception.
Taylor tossed a 6-yard touchdown pass to tight end Charles Clay that put the Bills up 20-16 midway through the third quarter. Taylor completed passes for 38- and 25-yard gains and McCoy broke off a 31-yard run on the four-play drive that followed a 28-yard tiebreaking field goal by Brandon McManus.
Hauschka booted a 55-yard field goal to tie the game at 13-13 just before halftime. Hauschka also connected from 49 yards earlier in the second quarter.
McManus opened the scoring with a 38-yard field goal near the end of the first quarter and made a 35-yarder that put the Broncos in front 13-10 in the final minute of the first half.
Denver went ahead 10-7 early in the second quarter when Charles scored his first touchdown as a Bronco on a 12-yard run up the middle. Unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on Buffalo defenders Micah Hyde and Jerry Hughes aided Denver on its 79-yard drive.
After going three-and-out on their first two possessions, the Bills drove 74 yards and took a brief 7-3 lead on Andre Holmes’ 2-yard touchdown reception that bounced off the hands of teammate Zay Jones.
NOTES: Denver DT Domata Peko started in his 114th straight game, extending the longest active streak of any NFL defensive tackle. ... The Bills were without their two highest-paid players, DT Marcell Dareus (ankle) and LT Cordy Glenn (ankle). ... Broncos rookie LT Garett Bolles (lower leg) started after being listed as questionable. ... Temperature at kickoff (85 degrees) was the warmest for a regular-season game regular season since 2002. ... Denver has led at the end of the first quarter in all three games this season.