ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – The Buffalo Bills have one of their biggest win in years — even if they had to wait an extra 10 minutes for their 38-35 win over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
The officials needed that much time to confirm the Bills had intercepted the Raiders' desperation pass in the end zone that ended a wild, back-and-forth fourth quarter.
Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to David Nelson with 14 seconds left to give the Bills the lead.
Jason Campbell, who went 23 of 33 for 323 yards and two scores, tried to rally Oakland before having his last pass intercepted by Da'Norris Searcy in the end zone as time expired.
Referee Mike Carey returned to a near-empty stadium to review the final play and determine whether Searcy had intercepted Campbell's pass. It turns out there was miscommunication between officials, as Carey was informed the replay booth had already reviewed the play and ruled it an interception.
With Nelson standing nearby, Carey announced the ruling, and sealed the Bills' victory in their home opener.
Nelson proved to be the difference, scoring on a 6-yard touchdown catch with 14 seconds left to cap a wild finish in which the teams traded leads five times in the final 14:10.
The Bills improved to 2-0 by scoring on all five of their second-half possessions in overcoming a 21-3 first-half deficit.
Fred Jackson scored twice and had 117 yards rushing. Fitzpatrick finished 28 of 46 for 264 yards and three touchdowns.
The Raiders (1-1) couldn't overcome a short week while playing their second straight road game. Darren McFadden scored twice as Oakland squandered a chance to open a season 2-0 for the first time since 2002.
Rookie receiver Denarius Moore had five catches for 146 yards and a touchdown — a 50-yarder with 3:41 left.
Back came the Bills. Fitzpatrick sent Buffalo on an 14-play, 80-yard drive to find Nelson alone in the end zone in converting a fourth-and-1.
After a convincing 41-7 win at Kansas City last weekend, they showed they're capable of coming from behind.
Jackson got the comeback started with a 43-yard touchdown run to open third quarter.
Jackson then gave the Bills their first lead with a 1-yard plunge 50 seconds into the fourth quarter.
That's when the drama began as the two teams then traded touchdowns drives on their next four possessions.
The Raiders' defense allowed 481 yards, including 217 yards rushing. That was quite a turnaround for a unit that held the Broncos to 38 yards rushing on Monday.
The Bills are off to a 2-0 start for the first time since going 4-0 in 2008, though that didn't get them far in leading to a 7-9 finish.
It's still an encouraging opening for a team that hasn't made the playoffs in 11 seasons — a stretch in which the Bills have had one winning season (9-7 in 2004).
Buffalo faces an even stiffer test next weekend, when it hosts AFC East rival New England, which has won 15 straight meetings.
Give the Bills' offense credit on Sunday. After looking much like its old sputtering self in the first half, it had a second-half eruption.
Buffalo finished with 481 yards — 326 of them coming in the second half — and a franchise record 34 first downs. The Bills have also scored 30 or more points in back-to-back games for the first time since December 2004.
That's a significant turnaround for a team that scored 20 points only four times last season.
Oakland appeared well in control after scoring on each of its final three drives of the first half, capped by Campbell's 1-yard plunge.
The Raiders came out throwing despite missing their top three receivers, including Darrius Heyward-Bey, who hurt his knee this past week in practice. Also out was speedster Jacoby Ford, who hurt his hamstring against Denver.
According to STATS LLC, the 35 points were the most allowed by the Raiders in a second half. And it's the most points the Raiders have scored in a loss since a 43-37 loss to Seattle in 1998.
Discipline continues to play a factor against the Raiders. After being flagged 15 times for 131 yards against the Broncos, they had eight penalties for 85 yards against Buffalo.