After pulling a disappearing act for the past three weeks, the Buffalo Bills finally showed up this afternoon against the New York Jets. They played their heart out. They gave everything they had and left it all on the field. But unfortunately, those are moral victories. The Jets, however, were able to outlast the Bills 28-24 in the closing seconds to improve to 6-5 while the Bills fall to 5-6 and have lost four in a row including all three on their road trip.
In a matchup in which neither starting quarterback has played particularly well over the past five meetings, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Mark Sanchez combined to throw seven touchdowns. Fitzpatrick finished with 264 yards on 26-of-39 passing for three touchdowns while Sanchez threw for only 180 yards on 17-of-35 passes for 180 yards and four touchdowns. Fitzpatrick’s scores went to three different receivers (Stevie Johnson, Brad Smith and David Nelson). Smith led all Bills receivers with 77 receiving yards. Four different Buffalo receivers registered at least four catches.
On the flip side for the Jets, tight end Dustin Keller led the Jets with 61 yards receiving and a pair of touchdowns. Plaxico Burress and Santonio Holmes also had touchdown receptions. Holmes hauled in what would be the game-winning 16-yard catch with 1:01 left in the game. On the ensuing drive, down 27-24, Fitzpatrick and the Bills got all the way down to the New York 24, but failed to get into the end zone on the final three plays of the game. A critical play on the Bills’ final drive was a deep pass down the middle of the field from Fitzpatrick to a wide open Johnson, however, Johnson had the football go right through his hands dropping what might have been a go-ahead touchdown.
Making his first start for the injured Fred Jackson, C.J. Spiller finished with 70 total yards on the day, 55 of which were rushing. Shonn Greene led the Jets with 78 yards rushing. The Jets finished with 138 total rushing yards. After a see-saw first half, the game was tied at 14. Nelson’s eight-yard touchdown reception put the Bills in front early 7-0 capping off an impressive 13-play, 90-yard drive. Less than three minutes into the second quarter, Keller’s first touchdown (3-yard score) tied the game at seven. Just before the two minute warning, Johnson’s five-yard scoring reception in front of Darrelle Revis put the Bills back up by a score, 14-7. But the lead lasted all of 1:03 as Plaxico Burress caught a wide open 14-yard pass in the back of the end zone to tie the game 14-14 at the half.
In the third quarter, Keller’s second touchdown of the game, from 18 yards out) gave the Jets their first lead of the game 21-14 with just under four minutes left in the third. But the Bills made short work of the Jets defense, and 1:09 later, Brad Smith scored on a very favorable bounce for a 36-yard touchdown to tie the game at 21. Smith, partly playing defensive back due to Fitzpatrick’s slightly underthrown ball, battled Antonio Cromartie and the end result was a tipped pass that hung in the air long enough for Smith to come down with and head into the end zone past the fallen Cromartie.
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