- Associated Press - Monday, December 7, 2015

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - A backup in Baltimore, Tyrod Taylor is coming up big in Buffalo.

The fifth-year player and first-time starter took the next step in establishing himself as the long-awaited answer at what’s been an unsettled quarterback position in Buffalo.

“I think he’s legit,” coach Rex Ryan said of the player Buffalo signed in free-agency in March. “I think he’s for real, and I think people are starting to realize that.”

J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans certainly became aware of Taylor’s dual-threat ability. Taylor threw three touchdowns passes - including the go-ahead score on a 40-yard pass to tight end Charles Clay over the middle with 1:53 left - and scored another rushing in Buffalo’s 30-21 win on Sunday.

In going 11 of 21 for 211 yards with no interceptions, Taylor improved to 6-4 on the season and added another franchise record to his resume.

He’s now attempted 187 passes without an interception, breaking the mark of 175 set by Drew Bledsoe in 2002. Taylor already set the team record for most yards rushing by a quarterback, with 76 in a 14-13 win at Tennessee in October.

“He is just getting better every week with leading this team, being a leader,” receiver Sammy Watkins said. “He is the guy we are rolling with.”

The Bills snapped a two-game skid and improved to 6-6 to stay in the AFC playoff picture.

The Texans (6-6) had a four-game winning streak snapped.

Their defense sagged in allowing four touchdowns after giving up just two in its past four games.

“Obviously, it’s a frustrating feeling, knowing how important every game is,” linebacker Brian Cushing said. “We didn’t get it done.”

Watt, who entered the game with an NFL-leading 13 1/2 sacks, couldn’t get a hand on Taylor and finished with just four tackles.

Here’s some things that stood out as Buffalo beat Houston for the first time in four meetings:

HANDS OF CLAY: Clay grew a little jittery as he waited for Taylor’s pass to drop into his hands inside the 10-yard line before waltzing into the end zone. The usually sure-handed tight end had the ball fall through his hands on a similar play at the start of the fourth quarter.

“I can’t say I don’t think I’ve ever been as nervous when the ball was in the air,” Clay said. “For them to come back to that play, and Tyrod to trust me speaks volumes.”

BLOWN COVERAGE: Clay was wide open over the middle because both defensive backs’ attention was drawn to backup tight end Matthew Mulligan, who was streaking up the right sideline.

Clay entered the game with 46 catches for 453 yards. Mulligan had one catch for 2 yards.

Texans rookie first-round pick Kevin Johnson was beaten on at least three receptions - including both 53-yard catches by Watkins.

“I didn’t have my best day,” Johnson said.

INJURIES: The Bills finished the game without starting cornerback Stephon Gilmore and backup cornerback Ron Brooks, who both sustained shoulder injuries. Running back LeSean McCoy missed a series late in the third quarter, but returned after being examined for a concussion.

For Houston, starting right guard Brandon Brooks was a late scratch after he taken to the hospital from Ralph Wilson Stadium because of an illness. Brooks was expected to rejoin the team for its flight home.

LIGHTNING HOPKINS: Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins finished with five catches for 88 yards and a touchdown. A majority of that production - three catches for 71 yards - came on one drive, which he capped with a 19-yard touchdown catch.

The touchdown was Hopkins’ 10th, to set a single-season record he had shared with Andre Johnson, who had nine TD catches in 2009.

FOUR-AND-OUT: After Clay scored to put Buffalo ahead 27-21, Texans quarterback Brian Hoyer threw four consecutive incompletions and gave up the ball on downs on Houston’s 20. The Bills ran time off the clock and put the game out of reach when Dan Carpenter hit a 36-yard field goal with 33 seconds left.

Hoyer finished 26 of 43 for 293 yards with three touchdowns and an interception, which he threw on the final play of the game.

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