The Buffalo Bills beat the Arizona Cardinals the old-fashioned way tonight, with a smash-it-up-the-middle running game led by Jonathan Linton.

Then Doug Flutie and Henry Jones finished off a 31-21 Buffalo victory.

"We proved tonight that we can still run the ball," Linton said, "that we're still the Buffalo Bills."

Flutie completed 21 of 32 passes for 239 yards and two touchdowns, including a four-yard scoring strike to Jay Riemersma on third and goal that put Buffalo up 24-14 with 3 minutes 1 second to play. Flutie was intercepted twice.

Jake Plummer, ineffective most of the night, threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Rob Moore to make it 24-21 with 1:49 to go. But on the subsequent onside kick attempt, Jones caught the ball on one bounce, brushed past Arizona's Mark Maddox and made a 37-yard dash to the end zone for the clinching score with 1:44 remaining.

Buffalo (9-5), a front-runner in the AFC wild-card race, pulled away from a 14-14 halftime tie with a ball-hogging offense that kept the ball away from the Cardinals (6-8) for all but 6:58 of the second half.

Linton, a second-year pro pressed into extra duty with Antowain Smith out with turf toe, gained 81 yards in 21 carries, including 60 on 16 attempts in the second half.

Buffalo, which had 25 first downs, used 12 consecutive running plays to set up Steve Christie's 33-yard field goal that put the Bills up 17-14 with 4:07 left in the third quarter. The 15-play, 60-yard drive used up 9:16.

Tom Knight's one-handed interception stopped Buffalo's next threat, but the Bills used up 7:33 in a 13-play, 78-yard drive the next time they had the ball.

Flutie completed 10 of 13 passes for 129 yards in the first quarter as the Bills grabbed a 14-0 lead.