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This was supposed to be another defensive nightmare for the Buffalo Bills.

Last Monday night, it was Warren Moon and the run-and-shoot.

Sunday, it would be Randall Cunningham and the run-and-shoot-we-can't-catch-him.

But, much to the surprise of most everyone at Rich Stadium, they caught Cunningham for a season-high six sacks in helping the Bills to a 30-23 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.

"We didn't expect to do that," admitted linebacker Darryl Talley, who along with defensive end Bruce Smith, twice dumped Cunningham for losses. "It's like trying to chase a halfback around the field."

"The guy is awesome to bring down," Smith said. "If you miss him the first time and he rolls and scrambles out of that pocket, big plays will happen for him."

As it was, Cunningham was the game's leading rusher with 71 yards on seven carries, including a 51-yard gain.

And he completed 15 of 25 passes for 231 yards for three touchdowns.

And he had one of the all-time miracle plays in NFL history when he avoided being sacked in his own end zone and hooked up with Fred Barnett for a 95-yard touchdown pass to cut the Bills' lead to 24-16 at halftime.

"Are you kidding me?" said Smith, who overcame a knee injury to equal his club record with 15 sacks for the season. "I had him sacked in the end zone. He ducked under me, scrambled a little bit and I believe somebody else missed him at the same time and he threw it and got a touchdown.

"Unbelieveable! I almost had to go and change my pants after that play."

Still, the Bills managed to apply enough pressure to Cunningham to keep him from turning what looked to be a Buffalo rout into an Eagle victory. Talley made one of the game's bigger plays when, with the Bills holding their 30-23 lead in the fourth quarter, he dumped Cunningham for a 14-yard loss on third-and-4 from the Buffalo 34 and forced the Eagles to punt.

Even rookie defensive lineman Mike Lodish, seeing his first extended regular-season action because of a shoulder injury to nose tackle Jeff Wright, got the first sack of his career.

"He didn't even see me coming," Lodish said of his 6-yard dumping of Cunningham that forced the Eagles to punt late in the third quarter. "He was getting ready to run, and I caught him a step before he started to run."

The biggest difference the Bills' defenders saw between Sunday's performance and the one they gave in last Monday night's 27-24 loss to Houston was strategy.

They felt the coaches tried to get a little too cute against the Oilers, and corrected themselves with a return to the basics against the Eagles.

"The thing last Monday was that we just had the wrong game plan," end Leon Seals said. "This week, the coaches came back and put together a solid game plan. Nothing spectacular. It was pretty basic, and we just took it to them."

"I think we just got away from our game plan last week," said linebacker Cornelius Bennett, who also contributed a sack. "We've been making things happen all season with the same defenses. I think, if we had to do it all over again against Houston, we would have stayed in our basic defenses."

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