ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Rookie linebacker Matt Milano scored on a 40-yard fumble return on a rain-slick field, and the Buffalo Bills forced four turnovers in beating the Oakland Raiders 34-14 on Sunday.
Tyrod Taylor threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Andre Holmes and also scored on a 1-yard run for Buffalo. LeSean McCoy had a season-best 151 yards rushing and also scored on a 48-yard run.
The Bills improved to 4-0 at home for the first time since winning their first five home games of the 1995 season.
And Buffalo improved to 5-2, matching its best start during a 17-year postseason drought — the longest active streak in North America’s four major professional sports.
The Bills’ defense dominated despite missing two starting defensive backs, and two days after trading its highest-priced player, defensive tackle Marcell Dareus , to Jacksonville.
Milano, playing in place of injured starter Ramon Humber (broken right thumb), scored the go-ahead touchdown, putting Buffalo up 14-7, with 32 seconds left in the first half.
Raiders running back DeAndre’ Washington caught a short pass over the middle and turned up field when he was struck by cornerback Leonard Johnson. The ball popped loose and flew directly into the hands of Milano, who returned it up the right sideline.
With a steady drizzle falling for much of the afternoon, the Raiders then turned the ball over on their first two possessions of the second half.
Milano forced Jalen Richard to fumble while returning a punt, with Mike Tolbert recovering it at the Raiders 14.
On Oakland’s next possession, Derek Carr’s pass over the middle was tipped by linebacker Preston Brown, and intercepted by safety Micah Hyde.
The turnovers led to Stephen Hauschka hitting 35- and 44-yard field goals.
Buffalo then took command by going ahead 27-7 on the first play of the fourth quarter, when Taylor capped a 12-play, 80-yard drive by scoring on fourth-and-inches.
Oakland (3-5) lost for the fourth time in five games, and was unable to carry over the momentum following its dramatic 31-30 come-from-behind victory over Kansas City on Oct. 19.
Carr finished 31 of 48 for 313 yards and a 4-yard touchdown to Washington and two interceptions. After scoring on their opening drive on Jamize Olawale’s 1-yard run, the Raiders’ next eight possessions ended with four punts, three turnovers and a failed bid to score at the end of the second quarter.
The Bills continue relying on an opportunistic defense, which has forced three or more turnovers in each of their past four games.
That included a 30-27 win over Tampa Bay last weekend in which rookie cornerback Tre’Davious White forced and recovered receiver Adam Humphries’ fumble to set up Hauschka’s 30-yard game-winning field goal with 14 seconds left.
The Bills honored late star running back “Cookie” Gilchrist by adding him to the New Era Field’s Wall of Fame. Gilchrist, who died at the age of 75 in January 2011, was regarded as one of football’s most athletic and powerful running backs and drew comparisons to Hall of Famer Jim Brown.
Though he only played three seasons in Buffalo from 1962-64, Gilchrist was the American Football League’s player of the year in 1962, when he had 1,096 yards rushing and a league-leading 13 touchdowns.
Raiders: Played without two starters in their secondary with safety Karl Joseph (groin) sidelined along with cornerback David Amerson (foot). Dexter McDonald started in place of Amerson, while Shalom Luani started for Joseph.
Bills: Buffalo was also missing two starting defensive backs with safety Jordan Poyer (right knee) sidelined along with cornerback E.J. Gaines (hamstring).
The Raiders managed just 54 yards rushing, with starting running back Marshawn Lynch serving a one-game suspension for coming off the bench and shoving an official against Kansas City.
Raiders: Staying on the East Coast in preparing to play at Miami on Nov. 5
Bills: At the Jets on Thursday night.