Buffalo Bills 0-12-10-0 — 22
New York Jets 3-0-7-7 — 17
If we’re all going to be perfectly honest with ourselves, the New York Jets probably should have won this game. They certainly had their chances.
Gang Green blocked a Buffalo Bills punt with just over three minutes left in the fourth quarter, giving the offense back the ball, down five, in the red zone. It was a gift. Just one the Jets couldn’t entirely unwrap.
New York failed to get into the end zone and the Bills were able to hold on, giving Rex Ryan, the Jets former coach, a victory in his return to the Meadowlands.
In the end, as many expected, Buffalo’s defense was the star of the show. The Bills notched two interceptions, recovered a fumble and, of course, recorded that game-clinching stop late the fourth quarter. On the offensive side of the ball, Tyrod Taylor threw for 158 yards and one touchdown pass, while LeSean McCoy racked up 112 yards on the ground on 19 carries.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is rumored to be set to undergo surgery on his thumb on Friday, completed just 15 of 34 passes for 193 yards, two touchdowns and two picks.
Click here to check out a full box score of the game and read on for a recap of the AFC East tilt’s best highlights:
Eric Decker Split Bills Defenders for a Fourth Quarter TD
After keeping the Jets drive alive on fourth down, Eric Decker found an inch of space in the secondary to split Buffalo defenders and make his way into the end zone.
The pass was also historic for Fitzpatrick, who set the brand-new record for most touchdown throws by an Ivy League quarterback in the NFL.
Brandon Marshall Kept the Jets in the Game With a Third Quarter TD Reception
The New York Jets offense, desperately, needed to get something going midway through the third quarter and Brandon Marshall answered the call.
Marshall pulled in a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass to cap off an 8-play, 80-yard drive for Gang Green and managed to add a few dance moves in for good measure. Maybe this was all for good luck then:
Karlos Williams Broke Through the NY Defense for a Bills Touchdown
Tyrod Taylor saw Karlos Williams streaking down the field and the wideout just had to make the catch. He did.
Williams hauled in a 26-yard reception, breaking through the Jets defense in the middle of the field to sprint into the end zone. Check it out:
It was Williams’ sixth touchdown catch of the season and he’s having a pretty good year:
Devin Smith Tried to Run the Ball Out of the End Zone & Then Things Got Weird
Let’s back up a moment. So, on the earlier drive, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw an interception and the Buffalo Bills returned it to the 30. They were only able to get a field goal.
The Bills then kick the ball off and Devin Smith hauls it in in the end zone – except he probably shouldn’t have run out. Smith fumbled the ball and the Bills not only recovered, they scored a touchdown. Check it out:
Then, because this is this game, Buffalo missed the extra point.
There’s been talk. There’s been jabs. There’s been interesting game-day captain choices. But, there’s still a game to be played and this one is going to be about defense.
Rex Ryan brought is trademark defensive grit to Buffalo this season, but so far this year, it appears that Tod Bowles’ defensive moves in New York have been more successful.
The return of Antonio Cromartie an Darrelle Revis helped that cause, certainly, but there’s statistical evidence to back this up as well. Gang Green has allowed fewer points per game than the Bills (20.2 to 24.4) and fewer yards per play (5.14 to 5.37). Perhaps most importantly though, is New York’s defensive presence in the red zone.
The Jets have allowed opponents to score just 40 percent of the time while Buffalo has given up points 60.9 percent of the time. That’s a solid turn from last season – under Ryan – when New York was 25th in the league in points allowed and 29th in opposing Total QBR.