Jets dominate Bills, 38-14, for third consecutive win
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - The team that typically provides enough bulletin-board fodder to help keep Staples in business found itself in an alternate universe last week.
"It was weird," Mark Sanchez said after the Jets mashed the Bills, 38-14, Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium. "It was like reverse roles because we heard them doing a lot of talking all week, and we didn't really say anything. It was different for me. Schotty was reading some of the quotes from the guys, like they were expecting me to play like the first Buffalo game last year."
Brian Schottenheimer, the Jets' offensive coordinator, must have highlighted safety Donte Whitner's words, the ones saying how Sanchez isn't on Tom Brady's level yet, how he's a guy who can be blitzed, and that the Jets usually win when Sanchez plays well.
Whitner left out one little nugget: The Jets also are hard to beat when their ground game pounds out more than 200 yards.
Sure, the Bills beat the Jets in their first meeting a season ago, even though the Jets' ground game stampeded Buffalo for 318 yards, because Sanchez threw five interceptions, including a pair to safety Jairus Byrd.
"I told Byrd after the game, 'Hey, man, you're no longer my favorite target, I'm sorry,' " Sanchez said. "We laughed about it. But this is the way we wanted to play, and I still think we were pretty close to putting half a 100 on them if we were really sharp in the first half."
The Jets (3-1) dominated the hapless Bills in every facet, amassing 444 yards on 75 plays. They raced to a 17-point lead, churned out 273 yards on the ground and held the ball for 40:29 as they improved to 3-0 against the AFC East.
Sanchez was efficient, completing 14 of 24 passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns, one to Dustin Keller and another to Braylon Edwards. He had a quarterback rating of 106.4.
LaDainian Tomlinson cracked triple digits in rushing yardage for the first time as a Jet, ankle-breaking his way to 133 yards and two TDs on 19 carries. He had 71 of the Jets' 113 first-quarter yards and moved past Tony Dorsett into seventh on the NFL's all-time rushing list.
"We had great execution," Greene said. "They knew what we were going to do, we knew what we were going to do. But it comes down to execution, and we did that. That just shows you what we can do when we get opportunities like that. We have to take advantage, and I think we did that today."
The Jets' defense clamped down on the Bills (0-4), limiting them to 223 yards and 12 first downs. They got after Ryan Fitzpatrick in his first start since Buffalo released Trent Edwards, sacking him three times.
"Last week, we didn't play very well defensively," linebacker Jason Taylor said. "Chad Henne's a good quarterback, but we allowed him to have way too much time and he hurt us. We came out with a big chip on our shoulders today. We knew we had to get after Fitzpatrick, and we did."
But with the way the offense was rolling, the Jets were essentially on cruise control. Their 17-7 halftime cushion ballooned to 31-7 with 4:36 left in the third quarter when Keller reeled in his second touchdown reception in a span of 1:33, helping the Jets stiff-arm the Bills in what had all the makings of a trap game.
"You have to come out and make a statement to the rest of the division," safety Jim Leonhard said, "and the rest of the NFL."
The Jets think they'll be making more statements pretty soon. They'll be getting Santonio Holmes back from his four-game suspension, and Darrelle Revis and Calvin Pace likely will return from injury this week as they prepare for Brett Favre's return with the Vikings next Monday.
"Do I expect them to be 100 percent ready for Minnesota? Probably not,'' Rex Ryan said. "But I think by the time we get going, as the season goes on, we are going to be full strength, and we'll see. We'll see what happens. Just like I knew third-down [conversions] would change, we'll see what happens here."