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Margin was chief factor in letting Rian Lindell kick 50-yarder

By Tim Graham

What was Chan Gailey thinking?

One of the great unanswered questions from Sunday's game in Ralph Wilson Stadium dealt with Gailey's decision to let Rian Lindell attempt a 50-yard field goal for the first time since Halloween 2010.

Lindell made the kick in the Buffalo Bills' 34-18 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the wind and rain.

What made Gailey's choice interesting was that twice in the previous six games he declined to let Lindell try field goals of a similar length in climate-controlled domes. Gailey opted to punt instead of having Lindell try a 53-yarder in overtime against the Arizona Cardinals in Week Six and a 52-yarder last week against the Indianapolis Colts.

So what made Sunday's situation different?

"We had a two-touchdown lead," Gailey said. "There was [2:14] left in the third quarter. If you go up by more than two scores, that's a big difference. Our defense is playing great at that point.

"To me, the risk-reward factor, the reward was bigger than the risk at that time."

Gailey also acknowledged it was good timing to have Sunday's opportunity arise just one week after Lindell's most recent long-distance snub.

"I'm sure it helps him," Gailey said. "They're all competitors. They think they can do it. They believe in themselves. He shouldn't be kicking if he doesn't believe in himself.

"So, yeah, he wants to, and I'm glad the opportunity presented itself that he doesn't think I don't have confidence in him. I do."

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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 |