Over the past two seasons, the Buffalo Bills have spent their past four meetings chasing the backsides of the New York Jets. In turn, Buffalo has gotten their rear ends whipped by the Jets’ rushing attack since Rex Ryan took over as head coach in New York a couple years ago.
The Bills have been embarrassed by New York’s ground game. In their four meetings the past two seasons, in order, Buffalo has allowed staggering numbers to New York’s rushing offense: 318, 249, 273 and 276. That’s a whopping total good for 1,392 yards rushing the Bills have allowed to the Jets in the past four games. Virtually every running back in a Jets uniform has feasted on the Bills’ run defense.
- In 2009, Thomas Jones set the Jets franchise rushing record with 210 yards in a 16-13 overtime loss. In two games versus Buffalo in ’09, Jones rushed for 319 yards on 47 carries with a touchdown. This was the game the Bills allowed 318 yards rushing, thanks to Jones’ assault while Leon Washington added 99 yards on the ground. The Jets combined for 22 rushing first downs in two games against Buffalo in ’09
We’re all in agreement that 2009 was awful for Buffalo’s rushing defense against New York, but if ’09 was awful then 2010 was awful, brutal, embarrassing and putrid all rolled into one. The Bills were blown out in both games against the Jets by a combined score of 76-21, surrendering 38 points in both games. Particularly horrifying was the first matchup. Buffalo was trounced at home 38-14. LaDainian Tomlinson ran for 132 yards and two TD’s. Shonn Greene ran for 117 yards. New York’s offense cranked out 444 yards of total offense while holding possession for 40:29. Ryan Fitzpatrick led Buffalo with 74 yards rushing and the Bills went 0-for-10 on third down. In the season finale, with mostly backups in for both squads, Buffalo still manage to make Jets reserve back Joe McKnight look like an all-world runner as McKnight carried the rock 32 times for 158 yards.
If the Bills have any hopes of ending their current three-game losing streak to the Jets, the first thing on their to-do-list is stopping the run. Which, if history tells us anything (and an average of 279 yards per game on the ground the Jets are gashing the Bills for) might prove to be a lot easier said than done. But maybe the Bills are catching the Jets in the right season.
Unlike in 2009 when they boasted the NFL’s top rushing offense and in 2010 when they ranked fourth in the league in rushing, 2011 has seen New York’s running game take a nose dive. The Jets are 28th in the league in rushing, averaging 92.4 rushing yards per game. Before their 162-yard output against San Diego a few weeks ago, New York was only hovering around 82 rushing yards per game.
After choking off Washington’s running attack last week by holding the Redskins to just 26 yards rushing, Buffalo ranks 19th in the NFL in run defense. At times, like last Sunday, Buffalo’s rush defense has been fairly successful but at other times they’ve still been gashed by opposing running attacks. So, it’s safe to say the Bills’ run defense and defense as a whole, remains a week-by-week work in progress. But with Rex Ryan and the Jets in town, it’s highly unlikely the Jets would deviate away from what has worked wonders for them the past four times against the Bills.
New York will enter tomorrow’s game with the mindset that if at first you succeed, keep doing it until they can prove they’re able to stop you. Recent history in the Bills/Jets series tells us two things: the Jets have been able to run it and run it extremely well, and the Bills have failed horribly the last four times trying to find solutions to stopping the run.
If Buffalo hopes to extend their home winning streak to five while improving to 2-0 in the AFC East and keeping pace with the rest of the playoff pack, now is the time to shut down the Jets’ running attack