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Third-quarter analysis: AJ Tarpley (seriously) makes the big play for Buffalo's defense

Raise your hand if you had AJ Tarpley as the one who would make the biggest play for the Buffalo Bills in the third quarter of Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

*Scans room.

**Does not see any hands raised.

It's true. Tarpley, the undrafted rookie free agent out of Stanford who was cut earlier this season, intercepted Cowboys quarterback Kellen Moore to end a Dallas scoring threat, protecting the Bills' 9-6 lead.

Moore's throw hit the hands of intended receiver Brice Butler, then popped up into the air, allowing Tarpley to make the interception at the Buffalo 17-yard line.  He returned it to the Cowboys' 46-yard line.

Giving it back: Unfortunately for the Bills, they were not able to capitalize on the good field position following Tarpley's interception. Rookie running back Karlos Williams caught a 20-yard pass from quarterback Tyrod Taylor, but fumbled at the end of the play. It appeared Williams might have been down, but Bills coach Rex Ryan elected not to challenge the play.

Not quite: The Bills failed to reach the end zone in their lone trip to the red zone in the third quarter. On a third-and-9 play from the Cowboys' 14-yard line, Taylor threw intended for rookie tight end Nick O'Leary, but he slipped and fell on the play, leading to a  32-yard field goal by Dan Carpenter that put Buffalo up, 9-6.

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