Buffalo didn’t have much luck in their first act north of the border, and the second act mirrored the first.
For the second year in a row, the Bills shot blanks in Toronto. This time around the New York Jets handed Buffalo a 19-13 loss, keeping their playoff hopes alive while dropping the Bills to 4-8.
It was Groundhog Day for the Jets again, as New York manhandled the game offensively. The Jets outgained the Bills 367-221 and once again Buffalo was gashed by New York’s rushing attack. The Jets rushed 249 yards as a team. Thomas Jones ran for 109 yards, making it the fifth consecutive year he’s broken the 1,000 yard mark. At this point it’s like saying water is wet, but once the Bills resolve their GM and head coaching problems, the next immediate need to be addressed is fixing the run defense. In two games this season against the Jets, the Bills have given up a staggering 567 yards rushing.
The Jets took much better care of the football the second time around. New York played mistake free in the rematch compared to the six turnovers (all interceptions) in the first meeting with the Bills. Sanchez went 7 of 15 for 104 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown to Braylon Edwards with 44 seconds left in the first half to give New York the lead at halftime 16-10. Sanchez suffered a knee injury while diving head first on an 8-yard run early in the third quarter with the Jets leading 19-10.
Jets kicker Jay Feely made four field goals to help New York to their second straight victory and second win against a division opponent. New York pulls even at 6-6 and depending on the outcome of Sunday’s game between New England and Miami, the Jets may not be completely out of the race for the AFC East.
The Bills, however, are a completely different story. As bad as their run defense was, Buffalo was equally worse on offense. Ryan Fitzpatrick completed just 9 of 23 passes for a measly 98 yards. Blanketed by Jets’ shutdown corner Darrelle Revis, Terrell Owens was limited to only 3 catches for 31 yards. Fred Jackson was gobbled up the New York defense, rushing for only 31 yards on 13 carries. The Bills had the ball for 24 minutes, while the Jets had possession for over 35 minutes. Not even leaving the country could change the Bills’ fortunes on third down. Buffalo finished the night 1 of 11 on third down. The lone bright spots for the Bills were Marshawn Lynch and Rian Lindell. Lynch had 6 carries for 60 yards and scored the only Bills touchdown. Lindell connected on three field goals, including a 49-yarder.
Trailing 19-10 late in the fourth quarter, Lindell made his third field goal of the game hitting from 32 yards out to cut the deficit to 19-13 with 5:28 remaining. On the next drive, the Jets were able to pick up a first down with 3:36 to play, but New York was then forced to punt the ball back to Buffalo after three unsuccessful running plays that total -1 yard.
The Bills were in position to make one final stand, trailing by six with the ball on their own 23. Their last drive, however, would last only two plays. With 2:32 left on the game clock, Jets defensive lineman Shaun Ellis beat Bills center Geoff Hangartner rather easily and sacked Fitzpatrick for a 10-yard loss. On the very next play, Fitzpatrick badly underthrew Owens along the sidelines and Revis collected an interception.
Buffalo returns stateside with a 4-8 record hoping to regroup from the loss and they’ll have ample time to do so. The Bills won’t return to the gridiron for 10 days when they’ll travel to face Kansas City on Sunday, December 13th.