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Second-quarter analysis: Stevie steps up, but defense can't keep up

By Jay Skurski

Stevie Johnson looked every bit a No. 1 receiver on the Buffalo Bills’ first drive of the second quarter.

Johnson had four catches for 42 yards during the Bills’ eight-play, 72-yard drive that ended with his 13-yard touchdown catch that tied the game, 7-7.

With the catch, Johnson ended a streak of four straight games without a touchdown.

Johnson, though, came off the field midway through the quarter with trainer Bud Carpenter. He did return to the field before halftime.

The Bills took a 10-7 lead with a 37-yard field goal by Dan Carpenter with 4:38 to go in the second quarter, but the Buffalo defense couldn’t hold it.

New Orleans took the lead less than a minute later on a 69-yard touchdown pass from Drew Brees to rookie Kenny Stills, then extended the lead to 21-10 when Brees hooked up with tight end Jimmy Graham for a 15-yard score shortly before halftime.

Hartley struggling: The Bills’ deficit could be even greater, but New Orleans kicker Garrett Hartley is struggling. After missing a 47-yarder in the first quarter, Hartley missed a 38-yard try in the second quarter.

Fumble … again: Bills quarterback Thad Lewis put the ball on the turf for a third time today during the second quarter. Lewis was drilled on a blind-side hit by Saints linebacker Junior Galette, but the ball was recovered by Bills guard Doug Legursky.

Three and out: Buffalo once again struggled on a possession shortly before halftime. Lewis and Co. went three and out on a drive that started with 3:43 left in the quarter. That gave New Orleans the ball with 3:18 left, plenty of time for Brees to direct another touchdown pass.


Doug Legursky | Stevie Johnson | Thad Lewis
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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 |