By John Wawrow
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. _ The Buffalo Bills’ season finale against the New York Jets will have some meaning to it, after all.
Buffalo, though, will be playing the role of spoiler _ not exactly what Bills coach Rex Ryan was anticipating when it came to a one-game showdown against his former team.
“I don’t really feel anything about it,” Ryan said. “I just know we’re going to give them our best shot.”
Ryan spoke after a 16-6 win over Dallas on Sunday in a game between two teams already out of playoff contention. The Jets (10-5), meanwhile, kept their hopes alive with a 26-20 overtime win over New England.
The chance to affect the post-season picture motivates guard Richie Incognito.
“This will be a playoff game for us,” he said.
It’s as close as it’ll get for the Bills (7-8), who have already extended the NFL’s longest active playoff drought to 16 seasons.
The Bills overcame an injury-depleted roster to show a semblance of competitiveness against the Cowboys.
Running back Mike Gillislee had 93 yards rushing and sealed the win by weaving his way up the right sideline to score on a 50-yard touchdown run with 2:25 remaining. Rookie Karlos Williams also scored on a 1-yard run as the NFL’s top-ranked running attack combined for 236 yards despite missing numerous regulars, including LeSean McCoy.
The Cowboys (4-11) continue to slide without injured quarterback Tony Romo. Kellen Moore lost in his first career start, and Dallas dropped to 1-10 in games without Romo.
Dan Bailey had two field goals for the Cowboys, who have combined to score just four touchdowns in their past five games.
“We certainly need to get better offensively,” coach Jason Garrett said. “We did a good job of running the football at different times. But we weren’t able to sustain drives.”
Here are a number of things that stood out as Buffalo beat Dallas for the first time since 1996 to end a three-game skid:
MOORE’S MISSES: Moore finished 13 of 31 for 186 yards with an interception. The Cowboys settled for Bailey’s 22-yard field goal after a drive stalled at Buffalo’s 4 when Moore overthrew Brice Butler in the end zone in the second quarter.
In the third quarter, Moore marched Dallas 54 yards and faced a first-and-10 at Buffalo’s 26. His low pass to Butler tipped off the receiver’s fingers and into the hands of linebacker A.J. Tarpley for an interception.
Garrett has yet to determine whether to give Moore a start in the Cowboys’ finale against Washington.
INJURIES: Bills starting defensive tackle Marcell Dareus did not return after hurting his neck. Receiver and special teams ace Marcus Easley had his left leg immobilized and was carted off after being hurt covering a punt return.
For Dallas, safety Barry Church broke his right arm. The Cowboys were already missing receiver Dez Bryant, who was held out because of an injured right foot and ankle.
NO SACKS: The Bills defence was held without a sack for the second time this season. A year after having an NFL-leading 54 sacks, Buffalo has managed just 20 through 15 games. The team’s low for a 16-game season is 22, in 1978.
MISSED KICKS: Bills kicker Dan Carpenter missed his fifth extra-point attempt of the season _ and fourth in seven games _ after Williams’ touchdown. Carpenter did hit a 32-yard field-goal attempt.
Bailey missed only his second field-goal attempt of the season when his 50-yarder fell short in the first half. Bailey had been five of five from 50 yards or longer this year. His only other miss was from 48.
MILESTONES: Cowboys tight end Jason Witten had one catch for 12 yards to extend his streak to 118 consecutive games with a reception to break the franchise mark he shared with Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin. … Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor had 67 yards rushing to up his season total 517, surpassing the single-season franchise record for yards rushing by a quarterback set by Doug Flutie (476) in 1999.
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