ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (Sept. 11, 2005) -- Willis McGahee had an answer for all those who thought Buffalo Bills quarterback J.P. Losman would struggle in his NFL debut.
"He came out and proved you wrong," McGahee said. "And I told you he was going to do it."
Showing poise and confidence, Losman engineered scoring drives on each of Buffalo's first five possessions, leading the Bills to a 22-7 victory against the Houston Texans.
While the Bills started erasing the frustrating memories of last year's 0-4 start, Losman began delivering on the faith the team showed in giving him the starting job over Drew Bledsoe in February.
"To come out here on the first day and it worked, it was awesome," Losman said. "This was amazing man. ... Fans were going crazy and I got pumped up. It couldn't have been any better than I designed."
The second of Buffalo's two 2004 first-round draft picks finished 17-for-28 for 170 yards and a touchdown and with an 89.9 quarterback rating. That's a better rating than Bledsoe had in 11 of his 16 games last season with Buffalo.
"I'm here, I'm the starter now. It's my second year. We're going to get it rolling," Losman said.
Bills owner Ralph Wilson was happy.
"It was an impressive showing," Wilson said. "What can I say, he did a great job for the first start."
Rian Lindell hit a career-high five field goals, one short of the franchise record set by Steve Christie in 1996, and Jason Peters scored on a 1-yard reception.
The defense did the rest, generating five turnovers, five sacks and limiting Houston to 120 yards. The Bills led 12-0 four minutes into the second quarter before the Texans gained their initial first down.
So much for a 4-year-old Texans franchise that believed it was ready to shed its NFL expansion label.
"I'm embarrassed," Andre Johnson said. "I don't know what to say. We didn't do anything. We got our butts kicked."
Johnson, a Pro Bowl receiver, was a non-factor, finishing with two catches for 7 yards. Quarterback David Carr 's numbers were just as bad: 9-of-21 for 70 yards and three interceptions.
"That's as helpless as I've felt playing quarterback since I've been in the third grade," Carr said. "We just couldn't get anything going. It was embarrassing for our team, the fans and our family."
Houston had seven possessions of three plays or less. The only score came on Carr's 1-yard scamper on fourth down -- and he barely made it, diving for the pylon as he was being tripped by linebacker London Fletcher.
"We definitely stepped up today," cornerback Nate Clements said.
Safety Troy Vincent, who had two interceptions, said the unit could've done better. He was more happy with the team's offensive effort.
"It's always nice to see the young guy come along," Vincent said of Losman. "He was poised. ... He did a great job this week."
Losman acknowledged he wasn't too poised the night before, saying he took a sleeping pill to calm himself. The pill didn't work, Losman said, noting he was among the first to arrive at the stadium in the morning.
It didn't seem to have an effect. Losman hit 8 of his first 10 attempts, including a 42-yard completion to Lee Evans on the opening drive. The only knock was an inability to find the end zone. The Bills settled for field goals, including a 42-yarder, on their first four possessions.
Losman, however, did respond after the Texans cut the lead to 12-7.
Leaning on running back McGahee, who accounted for 50 yards, Losman capped the 61-yard drive with a 1-yard pass to tackle-eligible Peters, who was wide open in the end zone. Losman got the Texans leaning the wrong way with a great fake handoff to McGahee.
"This is real big," Evans said. "For him to get off to a good start, it's key for us, especially for a young player, to come out and execute." GAME NOTES:
- Carr's 12.1 passer rating was the second-worst of his four-year career. He had an 8.2 rating in his second career game.
- The Bills won in style, wearing throwback blue-and-white uniforms and white helmets featuring a standing red buffalo, honoring Buffalo's 1965 AFL championship team.
- McGahee finished with 117 yards rushing, the eighth career 100-yard performance for the second-year starter. Buffalo improved to 8-0 when McGahee has 100 yards rushing.
- Houston RB Domanick Davis fumbled in the first quarter, his first fumble in 328 touches of the ball since the second game of last season.
The Associated Press News Service
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