In a game that was probably won in the first 10 minutes, the Texans fought back from a 14-point deficit to lead 21-17 late in the fourth quarter, only to see that lead evaporate in the final moments.
With 13 seconds remaining in the game, Bills quarterback J.P. Losman found Peerless Price in the back of the end zone to put
Buffalo ahead with just nine seconds remaining in the game.
The catch was confirmed via video replay as Price narrowly dragged both his feet in pay dirt before coming to rest out of bounds after a full dive behind zone coverage by the Texans.
The defeat was a bitter one for several reasons. To start, the Texans erased an early Bills lead, and dominated much of the action after the first quarter.
The Bills got on the board early thanks to two, 83-yard touchdown receptions by Lee Evans, but
Houston 's defense dug in after the first 15 minutes allowing the Bills just 183 yards in the final three quarters after allowing 220 in the first.
"Not very good," coach
Gary Kubiak said when asked how he felt following the loss. "It's a football game we should have won and we didn't make the plays there in the second half to put the game away."
Houston also rushed for 188 yards, the second highest total in franchise history, and had several opportunities to close out the game. Dialing up that yardage was even more impressive considering the Texans approached 200 yards on the ground with just 27 carries, an average of seven yards a carry.
"We did some different things in the running game and I think that helped us in our base run game," Kubiak said. "You look at the numbers that we had and you think we should have about 40 carries and we didn't so that's on me."
In the end, Evans' 265 receiving yards and Losman's 340 yards and three scoring strikes were enough and overshadowed a record setting day for David Carr.
Carr completed 22 consecutive passes at one point Sunday, tying the NFL single-game record, and was 25-of-30 on the day, passing for 223 yards, but no touchdowns. Carr also rushed for 31 yards in a ground attack that was led by Samkon Gado and Wali Lundy.
Gado rushed for 69 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown, while Lundy contributed 61 yards on eight carries to go along with a touchdown.
Buffalo managed just 70 yards on the ground and had just two scoring drives in the final 50 minutes of the game, but the Bills quick start put them in a position to win the game early.
After winning the toss,
Houston began the game with two straight reverses, the first to Eric Moulds and the second to Andre Johnson. Johnson's reverse went for 18 yards and got the Texans close to midfield.
However, on the third play from scrimmage, Carr dropped back to pass and looked for Johnson down the near sideline, but Nate Clements made a great play on the ball, intercepting it, giving the Bills their first possession starting at their own 13-yard line.
The Texans defense stood firm on the first two plays, but faced with a third-and-six from his own 17, Losman hit Evans in stride for an 83-yard touchdown strike giving the Bills an early 7-0, advantage.
With the sun directly in his eyes, Dexter Wynn had trouble fielding the kickoff and the Texans took over on their own four-yard line after the ball bounded out of bounds off Wynn's hands.
From there, Houston was able to move the ball close to midfield before the drive stalled when Carr failed to hook up with Johnson on a third-and-eight. Chad Stanley pinned the Bills inside their five-yard line thanks to Kevin Walter downing Stanley's 53-yard punt at the four-yard line.
That didn't stop the Bills from adding another touchdown to their tally and another one from Evans who again scored on a fade down the sideline, once again from 83-yards after Evans extended the Bills drive with a diving reception at the sticks on third down on the previous play.
Down 14 points, Houston's offense responded on the ensuing drive marching 80 yards in seven plays by mixing the run and the pass beautifully.
Wali Lundy scored Houston's first points of the day with a 17-yard touchdown scamper, the Texans longest rushing touchdown of the season, pulling Houston within seven at 14-7 with three minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Houston kept the Bills out of the endzone on their next drive, but they didn't keep Buffalo off the scoreboard entirely. Rian Lindell connected from 40 yards after Buffalo moved 46 yards on 12 plays, making the score 17-7, with 12:13 remaining in the first half.
Houston began their next drive on their own 30-yard line and by again mixing the run and the pass, moved their way down the field. Samkon Gado was the back of choice on this drive, rushing for 27 yards as the Texans marched 70 yards for their second touchdown of the game.
Gado punctuated the drive with a one-yard plunge pulling the Texans to within three points at 17-14, with 6:04 remaining in the first half.
Houston's defense kept momentum on the Bills next drive by forcing Buffalo three-and-out. That allowed the Texans to take over on their own 37-yard line, their best field position of the first half.
It appeared as though Houston would take advantage, moving the ball to the Buffalo13-yard line. However, on first-and-ten, Jameel Cook fumbled after Carr hit him with a pass in the right flat.
Buffalo recovered, but with less than two minutes to go in the half, the Bills had no interest in turning the ball over. Buffalo ran the ball three straight times and punted, leaving the Texans just 20 seconds.
With too little time to mount an attack, Houston ran Lundy twice and headed to the locker room down 17-14.
Shantee Orr's first sack of the year halted the Bills first drive of the second half. With the Bills in Houston's end of the field, Orr forced Buffalo' second punt of the day by blitzing off the right side and tossing Losman to the ground.
Houston didn't fair much better on the ensuing drive, going three-and-out, but another nice punt by Stanley pinned the Bills inside their own five again and the Texans turned that into points.
On third-and-nine at the six-yard line, Losman dropped back to pass and looked for Evans in the flat. Dunta Robinson jumped the play and got the first pick six of his fine young career, going untouched from nine yards out to put Houston on top 21-17 with 7:08 remaining in the third quarter.
The Bills teased midfield on the ensuing possession, but Buffalo got cute on a third-and-short and tried a pass that was broken up, forcing the Bills to punt.
After the Texans took over on the 20-yard line, Gado ignited Houston's second drive of the second half with a 34-yard run. However, the drive stalled thanks to a holding penalty inside Bills' territory, and Stanley went back to work, placing another punt inside the Buffalo five, where the Bills took over at the two.
Buffalo moved out of the shadow of their goal posts, but couldn't manage much more, eventually relinquishing possession again.
The stalemate continued on Houston's ensuing possession as the Texans failed to pick up a first down.
Buffalo moved to midfield on its next drive, but when DeMarcus Faggins collected his first career sack, another Bills drive was squashed and Houston took over on their own 10-yard line after a Wynn fair catch as the game turned into a defensive struggle.
The Texans managed one first down before giving the Bills the ball back. Buffalo took over on their own 38-yard line, but ran just three plays before punting again, giving the Texans the opportunity to kill the clock and end the game with possession with just over two minutes remaining in the contest.
They couldn't and Buffalo took advantage, slowly making their way down the field using short passes until Losman found Price in the back of the end zone to put the Bills on top for good dropping Houston to 3-7 on the season.