- Associated Press - Sunday, December 6, 2015

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - J.J. Watt was left grasping for air on the field and answers off it after quarterback Tyrod Taylor and the Buffalo Bills put a dent in the Houston Texans’ playoff aspirations.

“A little bit,” Watt said when asked if Taylor’s scrambling ability made him difficult to catch. “I’ll have to go back and watch the film to decipher how big it really was.”

Watt won’t like what he sees after Taylor scrambled for a touchdown and threw for three more, including a 40-yarder to a wide-open Charles Clay down the middle with 1:53 left to secure Buffalo’s 30-21 victory Sunday.

“We need to play better,” Watt said. “We need to execute better.”

The Texans (6-6) had their four-game winning streak snapped and allowed the Bills (6-6) to gain ground in the AFC playoff race.

Watt, who entered with an NFL-leading 13 1/2 sacks, was limited to four tackles and held without a sack for the first time in six games.

The Texans’ defense sagged as a whole in managing to sack the scrambling Taylor just once.

After allowing a combined 35 points and an average 250 yards of offense in their previous four games, the Texans gave up 390 to Buffalo.

“What I told the team was, ‘Look, we have to do better,’” coach Bill O’Brien said. “It starts with me. We’ve got to do a better job. But we’ve got to quickly turn the page.”

It doesn’t get any easier, with Houston returning home to host AFC East-leading New England next weekend.

This one was decided in the fourth quarter, after Houston’s Brian Hoyer completed a 19-yard pass to DeAndre Hopkins and Chris Polk rushed for a 2-point conversion to tie the game at 21 with 9:12 left.

Both teams traded two punts each, and then the Bills struck on the first play following the 2-minute warning.

Facing second-and-7, Taylor had time in the pocket and found Clay running all alone over the middle as both Texans defenders shaded their coverage toward backup tight end Matthew Mulligan running down the right sideline. Clay caught the pass in stride inside the 10 and waltzed into the end zone.

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

The Texans had no response in a game they never led.

Hoyer finished 26 of 44 for 293 yards with three touchdowns but was unable to deliver in the clutch. He threw four consecutive incompletions on the Texans’ drive after Clay’s touchdown.

The Bills took over and Dan Carpenter secured the win with a 36-yard field goal with 33 seconds remaining. Carpenter otherwise struggled, missing a 50-yard field goal attempt and an extra point.

LeSean McCoy had 112 yards rushing. Sammy Watkins had 109 yards receiving and a touchdown.

Taylor, a first-year starter, extended his streak to 187 attempts without an interception and broke the franchise record of 175 set by Drew Bledsoe in 2002. Taylor has combined for 15 touchdowns - including two rushing - with one interception and one lost fumble in his past eight starts.

Hopkins had five catches for 88 yards. Polk scored on an 11-yard catch, and tight end Ryan Griffin scored on an 8-yard reception.

Texans rookie cornerback Kevin Johnson had a tough outing. He was beaten on both of Buffalo’s touchdown passes in the first half. And he also allowed Watkins to get by him in making a 53-yard catch on a deep post pattern on the first play of Buffalo’s fourth possession.

Taylor capped that drive by hitting Robert Woods in the right corner of the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown. Woods got open by beating Johnson off the line in one-on-one coverage.

“It was a frustrating game for me personally,” Johnson said.


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