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Bills hold on to beat Vikings

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (Oct. 1, 2006) -- J.P. Losman and the young Buffalo Bills were efficient and composed, if unspectacular. Against the sputtering Minnesota Vikings offense, that was good enough.

Losman played mistake-free in a 17-12 victory over the Vikings, and the Bills showed enough poise -- while getting a good bounce or two -- to prevent another Minnesota last-minute comeback.

"It's a crazy game," Losman said. "At this level, it's amazing how teams can come back so fast and so quick."

Almost too quick for the second-year starter, who completed 23 of 32 passes for 222 yards and a touchdown. Just as important for Losman is he didn't commit a turnover after his three in last week's 28-20 loss to the New York Jets.

That still didn't make it easy for the Bills (2-2), who snapped a four-game home losing streak.

The Vikings (2-2), who won their first two games this season in the final minute or overtime, ran out of time on this one.

After Brad Johnson hit Marcus Robinson for a 29-yard touchdown with 3 minutes left, the Vikings threatened to pull out the victory once they got the ball back with 1:39 to go.

Starting from his own 17, Johnson went 6-of-11 for 63 yards passing, including converting a fourth-and-3 with a 21-yard strike to Jermaine Wiggins. The Vikings eventually reached the Bills 16 when Johnson hit Billy McMullen over the middle with 14 seconds remaining.

But without a timeout left, the Vikings were unable to get off another snap.

Time might have been on Minnesota's side had Robinson been able to hang onto the ball. On the last drive, Johnson found Robinson wide open up the right sideline only to have the ball fall off the receiver's fingers. Robinson had rookie safety Donte Whitner beat by three steps and had an open field in front of him.

"I feel I should have had it," said Robinson. "Those are plays that you have to make. You have to grab that ball."

All the Bills could have been thinking at the time: Whew.

"My heart stopped for a second," Bills linebacker London Fletcher-Baker said. "Really, in the past, we've had situations where we haven't been able to close out games. So I'm thinking, 'Not again.' So when he dropped it, it was, 'Thank you. This is going to be our day.'"

Another score, however, might have been too much to ask from a sputtering Vikings offense, which entered the game with just two TDs all season. Robinson's score, in fact, was the first produced by Minnesota's offense in 13-plus quarters.

They committed 12 penalties for 78 yards, converted 2-of-13 third-down attempts and produced five three-and-outs.

"The self-inflicted wounds are tough," Vikings coach Brad Childress said. "That's my responsibility. And I have to get that corrected."

Priority No. 1 might be getting the offense moving.

While the Vikings generated 330 yards, 122 of those came on their final two drives.

Up 7-6, the Bills took control on their first possession of the second half, when Losman led an 11-play, 68-yard drive, capped by Peerless Price's heads-up 8-yard touchdown reception.

Price had to go down to his knees to scoop Losman's low swing pass. Price got up in time to elude Fred Smoot 's tackle, and then followed his blocks up the right sideline for a score.

Price was shocked that he had so much time to get up.

"When I broke the tackle, of course my eyes got big because I saw that pylon in the end zone," Price said. "It feels great, especially when you win."

It was Price's first touchdown since rejoining the Bills as a free agent last spring, and first since the 2004 season when he was playing with Atlanta.

Willis McGahee also scored on a 1-yard plunge, only his second touchdown in 14 games.

"It was a real test for us and I thought our guys stood up and fought," Bills coach Dick Jauron said. "We got more of the breaks in this one."


Bills OG Chris Villarrial (right ankle sprain) didn't return after being hurt in the second quarter. ... Minnesota SS Darren Sharper (bruised thigh) didn't return after being hurt in the second half. ... Security was increased with Sen. Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, attending the game and sat in team owner Ralph Wilson's suite. ... Former Bills receiver Andre Reed, who ranks sixth in the NFL with 13,198 career yards receiving, had his name placed on the Bills' Wall of Fame during a halftime ceremony.

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