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Texans 23, Bills 17: EJ Manuel, offense struggle again in defeat

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A miserable day from EJ Manuel and an equally impressive day from J.J. Watt played major roles in yielding a 23-17 win for the Houston Texans over the Buffalo Bills in Week 4.

Scott Halleran

J.J. Watt provided the go-ahead score in the Houston Texans' 23-17 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, and that's only the tip of the iceberg on the kind of day that the Bills just had in Houston.

The Texans quickly erased a 10-0 Bills second quarter lead, using the final moments of the first half, plus the opening stanza of the third quarter, to score back-to-back touchdowns - the second being Watt's 80-yard interception return on a Manuel flat pass designed for Fred Jackson - to take a 14-10 lead.

By the time the Bills mustered their one big play offensively - an 80-yard touchdown pass from Manuel to Mike Williams on a busted coverage - the Texans had extended their lead to two scores. Buffalo had no business being in the game at that point, but the broken play brought the Bills to within 20-17. Houston added another field goal, but the Bills still had a shot at a game-winning drive; alas, Manuel threw his second interception with roughly a minute remaining to clinch the Texans win.

Perhaps the quintessential play of the day: a minute before getting the ball back late in the game, the Bills had the Texans stopped to force a punt, but Keith Rivers didn't bother touching down Arian Foster - who promptly rolled, like a baby, for another three yards for a first down.

Manuel was fairly brutal, completing 21-of-44 passes for 225 yards with two scores and two picks. It's worth noting that his receivers, who dropped at least three passes, didn't do much to help his cause, but this was a regression from the bad version of Manuel we saw in last week's loss to San Diego. His counterpart, Ryan Fitzpatrick, had his share of ugly plays but was far more efficient, completing 25-of-37 passes for 268 yards with a score and two interceptions.

Houston moves to 3-1, while the Bills have now lost two straight to fall to 2-2. We'll see them again next Sunday when they take on the Detroit Lions in Michigan. More coming on this game soon; for now, react below.