Jets win, 38-14
With the win, the Jets improve to 3-1 and will remain atop the AFC East (the Patriots and Dolphins square off on Monday). Against a vastly inferior opponent, the Jets shouted "balderdash!" to the idea of it being a potential trap game, and handled the Bills as they should have. The offense had its third straight impressive showing, totaling 444 yards. Mark Sanchez was 14-for-24 with 161 yards and threw touchdowns to Braylon Edwards and Dustin Keller (two scores). Edwards was the game's leading receiver with four catches for 86 yards. The greater story, though, was the dominance of the offensive line and the breakout performances of the running backs. LaDainian Tomlinson, 31, had his first 100-yard game since 2008, going for 133 yards and two touchdowns on 19 rushes. Shonn Greene, who lost his starting job to Tomlinson, ran for 117 yards on 22 attempts. So effective was the Jets offense, that offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer felt comfortable enough to have Brad Smith throw from the Seminole formation in the red zone. The former college QB hit Keller for a 3-yard score on the play to give the Jets a 24-7 lead in the third quarter. David Harris had six tackles and Dwight Lowery, Shaun Ellis and James Ihedigbo each had sacks to lead the defense, which held the Bills to 223 total yards - most of which came in garbage time.
Ryan Fitzpatrick was 12-for-27 with 128 yards and two touchdowns and broke the pocket seven times for 74 rushing yards. Among the running backs, Fred Jackson led the Bills with 21 yards on the ground. C.J. Spiller had 11 yads on two carries and Marshawn Lynch managed just eight yards on four runs and had a big fumble. David Nelson led them with four catches and 75 yards and Lee Evans was shut down by Antonio Cromartie. The flanker had just one catch for six yards, which came in the final minutes.
The Jets scored a touchdown on a smooth opening drive. LaDainian Tomlinson put them on the board with a 1-yard dive into the end zone at 10:45. The Bills won the coin toss but pulled a Jets and deferred possession, which might've been a mistake. Brad Smith took the Jets out to their 37 and Tomlinson, who got the start again, racked up 52 total yards on the drive. He got the Jets to the 27 with a 12-yard run out of the “Seminole” formation (Brad Smith took the snap, rolled left and then optioned back to Tomlinson, who took it up the sideline). On the next play, LT broke a 15-yard run and, following that one, he snagged a pass from Sanchez in the flat and went up the right sideline to the 1, setting up his touchdown. 7-0, Jets
The Jets got the ball back after the touchdown when Lance Laury recovered LB Chris Ellis' fumble on the kick return. The turnover set the Jets up at the the Bills' 39. The Jets, however, squandered the opportunity. Nick Folk missed a 30-yard field goal.
On third-and-5, the Bills threw deep to Lee Evans, who was single-covered by Cromartie on a go, and the corner defended it well. Cromartie's coverage was tight and the pass was high. Both men got a hand on the jump ball, but it fell incomplete.
The Jets got lucky at 5:10. They ran a stretch play off right tackle on a 2nd-and-10, but Sanchez's handoff was awkward and Tomlinson dropped it. The ball kicked and rolled to the Jets' 36 and Jairus Byrd had a shot at it, but he couldn't corral the ball while inbounds. The drive ended with an incompletion to Edwards over the middle. The pass was high, the receiver was undercut by a defensive back as he went up for it, and dropped the ball when he landed awkwardly. Edwards was shaken up but managed to walk off the field on his own. Had he come down with it, the Jets would've been about two yards short of the first down anyway.
On a first-and-10 at 3:31 from the Jets' 22, Sanchez heaved one deep up the right sideline for Edwards on a go, but the ball seemed to get caught in the wind and hung, allowing Leodis McKelvin to come back on it and attempt to make a play. Edwards was able to, essentially, play cornerback on a hitch route and come back to break up the pass. He could've actually been called for pass interference on that, but no flags.
On 2nd-and-10 from the Jets' 49, Fitzpatrick threw for Evans on a deep corner route, but it went incomplete. Evans had a step on Cromartie and the ball was thrown toward his outside shoulder - good placement - but he overshot the speedster by a few feet. So far, Evans going deep against Cromartie is 0-for-2.
It was a 2006-esque first quarter for Tomlinson. He has 59 yards and a touchdown on eight carries and two receptions for 12 yards.
On first-and-10 to start the second quarter, the Jets went deep for Jerricho Cotchery. Sanchez rolled right and Cotchery got some separation on the corner-and-up route, but the cornerback fell down and made contact with the receiver, tripping him up a little, and Cotchery fell down as he lunged for the wide pass. It was one of those in-between pass interference and incidental contact plays, and no flag was thrown. But with the deep shots they've taken, the Jets are showing that they'll go with the aggressive approach.
The Jets add three to the lead. Folk, who missed from 30 in the first quarter, hit a 19-yard field goal at 6:49 to cap an 18-play, 87-yard drive that drained 9:21 off the clock. The Jets reached the 1 on Tomlinson's 7-yard run, but Sanchez threw incomplete for Dustin Keller in the right corner of the end zone on third down. The tight end was double-teamed and may have been held a bit. 10-0, Jets
The Jets extend the lead on a Braylon Edwards touchdown. The receiver ran an out-and-up route and Sanchez got the cornerback McKelvin to bite hard on a pump fake, just as Edwards began his break. The offense's great timing and McKelvin's getting duped allowed Edwards to get wide open down field and Sanchez hit him in stride for a 41-yard strike with 2:40 left in the half. If you're wondering, Edwards did pose and celebrate after the touchdown, but he did not break into a jig. Perhaps The Dougie has been retired. (Blogger's Note: I'd like to see a return of the '01 Harlem Shake. Football players doing that, with all the rapid shoulder shrugs and funky hand movement, would look funny. Let's get that going, folks.) 17-0, Jets
The Bills made some noise in the final minute of the half. David Martin caught a 4-yard pass, wide open in the left corner of the end zone with 41 seconds left. The tight end looked like he was staying in to block, Fitzpatrick's roll right drew the defense and Martin slipped off the weak side on a delayed corner route and was lonesome in the end zone. The big play on the drive was David Nelson's 37-yard catch-and-run that got Buffalo to the Jets' 15. Fitzpatrick hit Nelson over the middle on a skinny post, but safety Brodney Pool went for the "blow up" instead of the wrap-up tackle. Nelson kept his balance, made a move outside, and ran for an additional 20 yards. He followed that with an 11-yard catch on an inside curl to get them to the 4. Before all that, the Bills converted a fourth-and-2 from their 44. Fred Jackson took the direct snap and powered up the middle for four yards. 17-7, Jets
The story of the first half was LaDainian Tomlinson, who's having a throwback performance with 89 yards (13 carries), a touchdown and three catches for 22 yards. He's killed the Bills running off right tackle, where they've been allowing 7.32 YPC this season. Shonn Greene has also done his part with some nice, hard runs up the middle. He's got 56 yards on nine carries and has come close to breaking a couple.
The Jets offense has been aggressive in passing (17 attempts) and they've taken a few shots down field. They finally connected on one in the second quarter when Mark Sanchez hit Braylon Edwards for a 41-yard touchdown off an out-and-up route. Sanchez is 10-for-17 with 114 yards and a touchdown. Jerricho Cotchery leads them with three receptions for 26 yards and Dustin Keller has two catches for 23.
The Bills have struggled on both sides. They've accrued just 104 total yards (and a 64 of those came on their scoring drive just before the half) and the Jets dominated time of possession 20:42 to 8:50. Considering how they've been outplayed, the Bills are fortunate to be trailing by just 10 points right now. The Jets left at least three points on the board with Nick Folk's missed 30-yard field goal on their second drive. The Bills will get the ball to start the second half.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is 7-for-12 with 71 yards and a touchdown and is the team's leading rusher with 20 yards on three take-offs. For those in IDP fantasy leagues, Paul Posluszny has nine tackles.
* Shaun Ellis hopped around before going down and being tended to by trainers after sacking Fitzpatrick to bring up a third-and-14 on the Bills' 42 at 12:43. Ellis appeared to hurt his left knee on the play. Fitzpatrick tried to duck under a charging Ellis and the defensive end fell over him and landed hard on his knee before hauling the quarterback down. Ellis was able to walk off the field, though. His return is questionable.
The Jets get into the end zone again at 6:17, this time via the "Seminole." On a third-and-goal from the 3, the Jets subbed out Sanchez and lined Brad Smith up to take the snap. The WR/QB rolled right, looked for a while as if he wanted to run, but found Keller in the back of the end zone. The tight end made the catch with a defender draped on him and kept his feet in bounds. You know an offense and its coordinator are comfortable and feeling confident when they run a play like that. The touchdown had been set up by a pass interference call on Drayton Florence. He was flagged for dragging Edwards down as he went up for the pass on a fade. The drive went 69 yards on 10 plays. 24-7, Jets
And the Jets quickly regain possession on Jason Taylor's recovery of a Lynch fumble. On a run up the middle, Bryan Thomas stripped the ball from the running back and Taylor quickly dove in to cover it at the 23. The Jets are threatening again.
The Jets blow it open on another touchdown to Dustin Keller at 4:36. Somehow, the Bills allowed three Jets to get wide open in the end zone on a second-and-goal and Sanchez picked Keller for the 2-yard score. Sanchez play-faked to Tomlinson and every Bills defender bit on it, allowing the receivers to run free. The tight end ran a shallow cross, going from strong to weak side. After the Jets recovered Lynch's fumble at the 23, two Greene runs got the them to the 2, preceding the gift touchdown. Sanchez and Keller now each have two touchdowns today. 31-7, Jets
Now it's a laugher... and a feel-good story in one. Tomlinson broke a 26-yard touchdown run at 2:40. And it was vintage LT: he took the handoff on a dive up the middle, got through for a couple, but cut outside, put a juke on Donte Whitner, and got free going to his left and outran the pursuit for his second touchdown of the day. On his carry before that, a nine-yard burst off left tackle, Tomlinson cracked 100 yards for the first time since 2008. He's now got 133 yards on 19 rushes. Fans and fantasy owners who ignored the naysayers and continued to believe in Tomlinson's abilities - rejoice! The Jets, too. They, you know, signed him and stuff. 38-7, Jets
The Bills managed a scoreboard-sugarcoat touchdown with 9:10 left. Fitzpatrick hit Steve Johnson on a 13-yard strike along the right sideline (he beat Kyle Wilson) to cap the drive, which went 79 yards on five plays. The drive's big plays were Fitzpatrick scrambles from the no-huddle. He had runs of 21 and 22 yards to setup the touchdown pass. /"scoreboard-sugarcoat" because the game is pretty much over and, fantasy points aside, the touchdown will only have served to make the final score look better for the Bills than their performance said it really was. 38-14, Jets
** RB Joe McKnight makes his first appearance of the regular season with 3:33 left. McKnight, a fourth-round pick, could be to the Jets what Brian Scalabrine was to the Nets from 2001-2003: the guy who only got minutes when the team was winning big. Nets fans nicknamed Scalabrine "The Human Victory Cigar." McKnight got three straight carries on the drive. He went for six yards up the middle on his first career run, then picked up five, and was stuffed for no gain at the Jets' 47.
The Bills' last play was a deep throw for Steve Johnson to the left, but Fitzpatrick, under heavy pressure, overthrew the receiver as the game ended. Final: 38-14, Jets