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Third-quarter analysis: Penalties impact both sides

By Jay Skurski

Penalties played a huge part of the third quarter today in the Superdome.

Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes was flagged for a defensive holding call on a third-down play on the Saints’ first drive after halftime. That gave New Orleans an automatic first down, and quarterback Drew Brees took advantage by throwing his second touchdown pass of the day to tight end Jimmy Graham. That gave New Orleans a 28-10 lead.

Tight end Scott Chandler was also flagged for a questionable holding call on Buffalo’s ensuing possession, negating a  55-yard touchdown catch to T.J. Graham.

Penalties went the other way, as well. Saints cornerback Corey White took two roughing-the-passer penalties against Thad Lewis, helping the Bills extend the drive on which Chandler was also penalized.

Brees ballin’: Brees’ touchdown pass to Graham was his fourth of the day. Today marks his 22nd game throwing for at least four touchdowns, only Peyton Manning (23) has more since the start of 2001.

Stevie hobbled: Bills receiver Stevie Johnson continues to fight through a hamstring injury that he suffered in the second quarter. Johnson made only one catch in the third quarter, and was continually in and out of the lineup on the Bills' second drive.

Another three and out: The Bills' first drive of the first half went three and out, their second straight such possession. The Saints capitalized with Brees' TD to Graham. So the Bills ran six plays and New Orleans scored 14 points, stretching its lead from 14-10 to 28-10. 



Scott Chandler | Stevie Johnson | T.J. Graham
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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 |