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Chandler earns share of team TE record with sixth TD of season

When Scott Chandler learned he tied a Buffalo Bills tight end touchdown record held by Pete Metzelaars and Jay Riemersma, he said it was news to him.

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With two touchdowns in Sunday's 23-0 triumph over the Washington Redskins, Chandler tied the mark for the most TDs in a season by a tight end in team history with six.

"Records are always good things," the 6-foot-7, 263-pound Chandler said. "It's exciting to be able to contribute and when our team is winning it's always exciting to be a guy who's helping the team do well."

On his first touchdown, which gave the Bills a 7-0 lead, Chandler ran a flag route and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick hit him in stride by lofting a soft pass over the head of 5-foot-10 London Fletcher near the sideline at the Washington 8. Chandler then stretched for the pylon and scored.

"He had to throw it pretty high and I was able to turn it up and get into the end zone," he said.

The second touchdown, with 10:56 remaining in the third, had Chandler again matched up against Fletcher, who appeared surprised when he didn't receive help from the back.

"I'm sure he would have liked some help," Chandler said about his 15-yard TD reception. "I think they probably bit up on David Nelson out there because he commands a lot of respect down there so I was able to get open."

It's been a few games since Chandler's presence was felt in the passing game.

After his five-catch, 63-yard, two-TD performance in the opener against Kansas City, Chandler had just eight receptions for 35 yards and two touchdowns over the next five games.

"It depends on the game," Fitzpatrick said. "With the game plan I don't think we went in and said, 'We're throwing Scott two touchdowns.' If you would have told me he caught two, well he could catch two every week. Stevie [Johnson] can catch two, David [Nelson] can catch two, whoever it is. That's just the way it went today."

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Rookie Marcell Dareus had a big game while leading the Bills' sack parade with 2.5 of the team's nine. Dareus, who played defensive end for the first six games, moved inside to nose tackle for the injured Kyle Williams.

Coach Chan Gailey said facing Dareus at nose was a challenge for the Redskins.

"I'll have to go look at the film to see the problems it does bring," Gailey said. "But I know it's a problem."

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The Bills didn't hear much from two-time Pro Bowler Brian Orakpo thanks to the play of Andy Levitre, who moved over to left tackle for the injured Demetrius Bell and backup Chris Hairston.

Orakpo, who came into the game with 4.5 sacks, recorded five tackles -- four solos -- and didn't have a tackle for a loss.

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Rookie Kelvin Sheppard received the first start of his career. The Bills announced following the loss to the New York Giants that Sheppard, the former LSU star, had moved ahead of veteran Andra Davis on the depth chart. Sheppard finished with one tackle.

In addition to Williams, the other inactives for the Bills were Bell, Hairston, wide receiver Donald Jones, cornerback Aaron Williams, defensive back Terrence Wheatley and linebacker Antonio Coleman.

With Levitre's move to left tackle, Chad Rinehart started at left guard. Spencer Johnson started at outside linebacker for Shawne Merriman, who was placed on injured reserve last week, and Alex Carrington started at defensive end.

The inactives for the Redskins were wide receiver Santana Moss, left tackle Trent Williams, cornerback Phillip Buchanon, fullback Mike Sellers, linebacker Markus White, tight end Dominique Byrd and defensive lineman Darrion Scott.

Anthony Armstrong started at wide receiver, Sean Locklear at left tackle and Ryan Torain at running back.

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The Bills suffered their first lost fumble of the season in the second quarter when Fitzpatrick bobbled the snap from center and when he couldn't pick it up, running back Fred Jackson tried but it was eventually recovered by Orakpo.

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There was some confusion as to who blocked the Redskins' field goal in the second quarter. When asked, Johnson and Dareus pleaded guilty but the league doesn't officially credit half blocks. Special teams coach Bruce DeHaven said he thought Johnson blocked it, so Johnson it is.

The block was the Bills' second in as many weeks and the first time they've blocked kicks in back-to-back games since 1996.

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It was a satisfying win for Bills guard Chad Rinehart, a third-round pick of the Redskins in 2008. Washington gave up on him after two injury-plagued years.

The Bills picked him up in the middle of last season, and he has played well as a spot starter. Sunday was his third start of the season.

"I'd definitely be lying if I didn't say it was a little more special than the others, especially with the way we started out," Rinehart said. "Things didn't go down the way I wanted in Washington but I feel like I have a home here."

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Some things never change, like Fletcher's ability to load up the stat book with tackles.

The 36-year-old middle linebacker finished with a game high 20 tackles -- 12 solos -- against his former team and recorded his second interception of the season.

email: rmckissic@buffnews.com