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Williams calls out Howard for facemasking

BUFFALO BILLS Coach: Chan Gailey The Bills broke

Coach: Chan Gailey
The Bills broke with tradition and opened up the vault for prized free-agent defensive end Mario Williams. Buffalo usually takes a more conservative approach to free agency, but GM Buddy Nix is all-in for this season. The offense is the real issue for Buffalo, specifically quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. He got off to a terrific start last season and earned a contract extension by late October. But his play tailed off dramatically the rest of the way.

Over/Under wins: 7

Credit: AP

The only thing missing Sunday was a Mario Williams sighting.

"I was talking from the first quarter, all the way to the fourth quarter, saying: "I don’t think he's made a tackle yet, I don't think he's had a quarterback hit,'" linebacker Aaron Maybin said of Buffalo's defensive end.

"We saw him have a couple pressures in the third and when I came to the sideline, I told Austin (Howard) what I saw. But honestly, he didn't need much help this game. He went out there and played a man's game. I'm proud as hell of him."

Williams -- who signed an eye-popping $100 million free-agent deal this offseason -- finished the game with one measly tackle. The highly-touted defensive lineman was rendered a non-factor by the Jets offense. And most notably, their new right tackle.

Austin Howard held his own against Williams and as a result, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez seemed to have all day to throw.

"I felt like I did have a lot of one-on-ones today," the young offensive lineman said. "We (also) had a lot of different things with chip blocking, help from the backs throughout the game. We are going to go watch the film and make sure that we build on it."

Sunday's offensive output also was a welcome sight for a line that allowed Sanchez to be sacked 39 times last season.

"Austin had a monster challenge today and he really did answer the call there. That was special for him," said the quarterback, who completed 19 of 27 passes for 266 yards, three touchdowns and zero sacks. "It was a big day for him and he was thrilled. He did a great job in the run game and great job in pass protection -- and it was across the board.

Brick (left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson), Slaw (right guard Matt Slauson), B-Moore (Brandon Moore) -- all of them -- just a heck of a job."

Williams, however, called out Howard in his post-game interview for facemasking him most of the afternoon.

"Some of the officials on the field don't understand what constitutes an offsetting penalty, and that's disappointing," Williams said, referring to the replacement refs. "Also, pass-blocking doesn't include hands to the face. When someone tells the officials that and they just walk away, or they don't call it, that is disheartening."

Howard wouldn't say whether Williams' complaint sounded like sour grapes, but the right tackle did deny his claim.

"I didn't see any flags thrown," Howard said. "Not at all. That's not my intention and that's not something that happened."

The Jets took turns raving about Howard's play post-game, starting with Rex Ryan. "Austin Howard played a tremendous game," the Jets coach said. "Maybe he made a name for himself today."

Maybin, the former Bill who mimicked Williams in practice this week, beamed continuously about Howard's performance. "If I had a game ball to give him," he said. "I'd put a whole truck of them in his locker." 


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