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Points after: Niners 45, Bills 3

By Tim Graham

SAN FRANCISCO -- Quick highlights from the Buffalo Bills' 45-3 loss to the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park ...

What it means: The Bills are 2-3 and are only one game behind the AFC East leaders, but it seems like their season is headed for disaster. Another developing problem is that it appears the Miami Dolphins are getting better every week. The Bills might not be the second- or third-best team in the division.

Indigestible statistical trend: The Bills' "ratcheted-up" defense has allowed at least 580 yards in consecutive games. Dave Wannstedt's crew has allowed 580 yards against the New England Patriots last week and a team-record 621 yards to the Niners on Sunday. The Bills have allowed 145 points in their three losses.

Star of the game: San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith entered Sunday with zero pass plays of 30 yards or more and had thrown only one touchdown to a wide receiver. He had three plays of at least 30 yards (a 41-yarder called back by a penalty) and threw TD passes to three different receivers who hadn't scored yet. Smith was 18 of 24 for 303 yards and three touchdowns. Smith ran three times for 49 yards.

Play of the day: Inside the final minute of the first half, Bills tight end Scott Chandler fumbled, and the Niners took over on the Bills' 33-yard line. One player later, Smith connected with Michael Crabtree for the touchdown and a 17-3 halftime lead.

Good stat line of the game: With all those passing yards, the Bills' defense must've been taking away the run, right? Frank Gore had 14 carries for 106 yards and a touchdown.

Bad stat line of the game: Ryan Fitzpatrick was 16 of 26 for 126 yards and no touchdowns with an interception at the goal line.

Preliminary injury report: Bills safety Jairus Byrd suffered a chest injury in the third quarter and stayed on the field, but he eventually left the game and didn't return. ... Right guard Chad Rinehart was scratched from the starting lineup and replaced by Colin Brown because of a calf injury. Rinehart went into the game when Brown may have been hurt, but Rinehart exited in the second half.

Coming up: The Bills will remain out West, heading straight to Phoenix for next week's game against the 4-1 Arizona Cardinals.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |