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Falcons beat Bills 13-10 in sloppy exhibition

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - Joey Harrington wanted his interception back and fretted that the Falcons' opening drive didn't end with a touchdown.

At least Harrington, taking over Atlanta's offense from troubled Michael Vick, had a better preseason outing than Buffalo's J.P. Losman.

The Bills' starter came up empty despite getting every opportunity to score in a 13-10 loss to Atlanta (1-1) on Friday.

The starters were long gone when the game was decided on backup Chris Redman's 1-yard touchdown pass to George Cooper with 2:38 remaining. Redman was forced to return after third-stringer D.J. Shockley was carted off the field with a left knee injury.

Falcons coach Bobby Petrino called Shockley's injury a sprain, but added further tests will be required.

Otherwise, squandered opportunities were the common denominator for both first-string units.

Losman went 7-of-13 for 78 yards passing, and the starters for the Bills (1-1) managed just three first downs despite being given the entire first half to find chemistry. All they produced was Rian Lindell's 48-yard field goal that was set up by defensive tackle John McCargo's fumble recovery.

"We're still working some kinks to finish off some drives," Losman said. "We're real confident, and we feel we'll put it together here pretty soon."

Harrington was inconsistent, too, but at least he moved the Falcons' offense.

Harrington finished 4-of-7 for 31 yards passing and an interception, and efficiently drove the Falcons 69 yards on 10 plays on their opening possession. The drive ended when rookie Jason Snelling, attempting to sneak in off right tackle from the 1, was stuffed by safety Donte Whitner for a 2-yard loss on fourth down.

"We need to work a little bit on finishing drives," said Harrington, sounding like Losman. "It's all a work in progress. There are things that went well. And there are things that didn't go well. It's all new to us."

Harrington's major miscue was a poorly underthrown pass, intended for Roddy White, that was easily intercepted by Terrence McGee, who returned it to the Atlanta 17. The Bills couldn't capitalize, and the drive came undone when reserve center Duke Preston's snap sailed over Losman's head for what turned out to be a 20-yard loss.

Losman was unfazed.

"There's a long way to go and we can get a lot accomplished in two weeks," Losman said.

Including last week's 13-10 preseason-opening win at New Orleans, Buffalo's first-string offense has combined for 133 yards and five first downs in eight series.

"It's not ideal," said receiver Lee Evans, who made a pretty 36-yard over-the-shoulder catch. "We put ourselves in some bad situations. ... We made some mental mistakes that will stop us in the long run if we don't fix it now. So it's probably a good thing that it happened now."

The Bills lost reserve defensive end Ryan Denney, who broke his left foot on the opening kickoff. His injury leaves Buffalo down to three experienced players, starters Aaron Schobel and Chris Kelsay, and backup Anthony Hargrove.

Bills rookie first-round pick Marshawn Lynch was ineffective in his first start. He finished with five carries for 16 yards and no catches.

Buffalo's lone touchdown came from third-stringer Trent Edwards, who hit Roscoe Parrish for a 10-yard pass in the third quarter. That score was set up two plays earlier when Hargrove intercepted Redman's pass deep in the Falcons' end.

The Bills' young defense has been an early surprise. In two games it's produced five turnovers - including three against the Falcons - and allowed 23 points.

"We started off kind of slow, but that's the name of the defense: You bend but don't break," Whitner said. "Everybody can go out there and make plays, but we want to play with passion. We want to make people fear us when we play."

Billy Cundiff rounded out the Falcons' scoring with two field goals. Snelling, a rookie seventh-round draft pick out of Virginia, had 12 carries for 50 yards. He got the start in place of Warrick Dunn (back) and Jerious Norwood (stomach virus), who were inactive.

Petrino was pleased with Harrington's outing.

As for whether he's seeing an identity emerge from his first-stringers, Petrino shrugged and said: "It's too early to say. ... But we do need to still work on putting the pieces together."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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