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The Morning After (Week 4 edition)

New York Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson (21)

New York Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson (21) runs for a touchdown past Buffalo Bills defenders Donte Whitner (20), Jairus Byrd (31) and Drayton Florence during the second half. (Oct. 3, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

They were warned just once by their head coach throughout the week.

Everyone on the outside pointed to yesterday's AFC East contest with the Bills as the proverbial trap game, given the Jets were riding sky high following successive wins over rivals New England and Miami, and had the return of you know who lurking on the horizon a week from today at New Meadowlands Stadium.

The Jets never took the bait. Instead, they hung the Bills up in their own bear trap, pummeling Buffalo 38-14 at Ralph Wilson Stadium. That's three straight wins and they're now 3-0 in the AFC East.

Trap door, you say? What trap?

"This is a division game," safety Jim Leonhard said. "There can’t be a trap game in the division. We realized in order to do what we want to do, we want to win our division and starting out 3-0 is huge. As a player, you can’t get lulled into that. Even when you know who you play on Monday night, it doesn’t matter. The only team that can hurt you is the team you’re playing so we needed to come out and do this."

The Jets took it to the hapless and winless Bills, rolling up 444 yards. QB Mark Sanchez completed 14 of 24 attempts for 161 yards and two touchdowns -- one to WR Braylon Edwards and another to TE Dustin Keller, who had another solid game with a pair of scores (WR Brad Smith threw him the other in the Wildcat, er, Tiger).

Defensively, they held Buffalo to 223 total yards -- many coming when the outcome was long decided -- and didn't yield one single third down conversion in 10 attempts.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson, who moved past Tony Dorsett and into seventh place on the NFL's all-time rushing list yesterday, was brilliant and I'm starting to run out of adjectives to describe his play. I wrote a feature on him in Sunday's paper previewing things, and he went out and had his best game of the season.

Tomlinson recorded his first 100-yard game as a Jet, running for 133 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. It was the first time he's topped triple digits in rushing since Nov. 26, 2008 at New Orleans and the most he's posted since a 146-yard showing on 26 carries at Tennessee on Dec. 24, 2007.

He rushed for 89 of his 133 yards in the first half, and improved his career touchdown total to 156, an amount that ranks third all-time in NFL history.

"For us, we wanted to come out and start fast," Tomlinson said. "That was kind of our mindset. We knew that they were playing at home and they play well at home, they play very hard and we understood that. Our mindset was come in and start fast and try to get up on them and take the crowd out of it, and we did that. Toward the end of the game, we were able to just keep pounding."

And completely embarrassing the Bills and leading to this epic postgame opening statement from Bills coach Chan Gailey, whose words and tone were totally out of character.

"Maybe I can answer some of your questions before you ask them," Gailey said. "We were a bad football team today. When we protected we couldn’t catch it. We couldn’t protect. We had people going to the wrong spots getting to the wrong people. We couldn’t get off the field on third down. We couldn’t convert a third down. We were not good on special team.

"We turned the ball over twice. We didn’t get any turnovers. We got sacked three times. We didn’t get any sacks. If you play that way, you’re not going to win. You’re not even going to look decent in this league. Now, do you have any questions?"

I have one: Just how good can this offense be now that WR Santonio Holmes is back in the house?

The Jets get arguably their best offensive weapon back today since Holmes is officially eligible to come off the reserve/suspended list after completing his four-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy. They've already cleared the room to place Holmes on the active roster today, waiving WRs David Clowney and Patrick Turner to go along with the re-signing of DT Howard Green.

"It could be deadly," Keller said of adding Holmes to the mix. "It’s going to be tough to stop us. It’s tough when you have as many threats in the passing game as we do and then you have the best rushing attack in the NFL. You almost have too many options. Luckily for us we have guys on this team that only care about winning.

"It doesn’t matter whatever number of receptions or yards or touchdowns or whatever. All these guys care about is winning and as long as we keep on doing that then everyone is happy."  

Here's a few more nuggets from yesterday's game to chew on:

--* The Jets scored a touchdown on their opening drive for the second straight week, something RT Damien Woody said was needed against a team like Buffalo.

"We just came out with authority," he said. "I think the one thing we do is make a purpose of scoring that first drive to really set the tone. That’s what we have been doing the past couple of weeks.  We’ve been really coming out hot with a fast start. I think it really sets the tone and against a team like Buffalo, if you can jump on them early you can kind of deflate them.

"We felt like we did that to a certain degree."  

--* Yesterday’s game marked the second time in Rex Ryan's Jets' tenure that they've had two 100-yard rushers in the same contest, the last time coming a season ago in the game in which Leon Washington broke his leg: Oct. 25 against the Raiders.

--* Since they opened the season with that nine-point showing against the Ravens on "Monday Night Football," the Jets have averaged 32.2 points and 394 yards per contest.

--* For the fourth time in as many games, the Jets' defense didn't allow a score in the first quarter.

--* Yes, that was DB Dwight Lowery's first career sack.


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