American Football: Jaguars lose battle at Bills

NOBODY SERIOUSLY expects the Buffalo Bills to be among the candidates for end-of-season honours, but few of the contenders will fancy a visit to their Rich Stadium home in upstate New York, which is becoming a graveyard for those with Super Bowl aspirations.

Two weeks ago, the hotly fancied San Francisco 49ers lost their unbeaten record in this inhospitable northern outpost, and on Sunday it was the turn of the Jacksonville Jaguars, whose five-game winning streak came to an abrupt end as the Bills confounded the form book with a thrilling 17-16 victory.

The Jags were undone with 15 seconds remaining when Buffalo's quarterback, Doug Flutie, scored from a yard out. Ironically, Flutie was only playing because of injuries to the Bills' regular passer, Rob Johnson. The former New England Patriot, considered too small to play the position at just 5ft 9in, had not scored an NFL touchdown for a decade, and was making his first start since October 1989.

"He's a big-time player who makes big-time plays," said his colleague, the defensive end Bruce Smith. "His heart is a lot bigger than his size." The Denver Broncos and the Minnesota Vikings are now the league's only unbeaten teams.

Flutie is not alone in the unlikely hero stakes. The Atlanta Falcons owed their 31-23 triumph over the fading New Orleans Saints to a player who began his career while Jimmy Carter was still in the White House. Steve DeBerg may be 44 years old, but he answered the call when Atlanta's starter, Chris Chandler, was forced out of action late in the first half.

DeBerg has been coaching for the past four years, and had not thrown a touchdown pass since 1993. Many questioned the sanity of the Falcons' head coach, Dan Reeves, in coaxing him out of retirement, but the decision was vindicated as the veteran guided his charges to their fifth win of the season. He completed just seven of his 10 pass attempts for just 60 yards, but his eight-yard strike to Bob Christian came at a time when the Saints were rallying.

There was little jubilation afterwards - DeBerg has been around long enough to be realistic about his performance. "My responsibility was not to lose the football game," he said. "I really didn't feel I played as well as I'm capable."

Results, Digest, page 27

people And here is why...
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
voicesBy the man who has
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star in The Twilight Saga but will not be starring in the new Facebook mini-movies
tvKristen Stewart and Stephenie Meyer will choose female directrs
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Twerking girls: Miley Cyrus's video for 'Wrecking Ball'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

QA/BA - Agile

£400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are currently seekin...

PPA Supply Teachers

£121 - £142 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Early Years, KS1 & 2 Prima...

Primary Supply Teacher

£121 - £142 per annum: Randstad Education Luton: Early Years, KS1 & 2 Prim...

Primary Supply Teacher

£121 - £142 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Primary supply teacher Hertford...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?