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Jets 'D', turnovers stymie Bills in 27-11 defeat

Posted Nov 6, 2011


The marquee matchup was the Bills offense against the Jets defense in a key AFC East clash at Ralph Wilson Stadium Sunday. That battle was clearly won by the visitors as New York’s defense forced three turnovers and kept one of the league’s highest-scoring offenses in neutral in a convincing and pivotal 27-11 victory.

“It was frustrating,” said Ryan Fitzpatrick, who threw for just 191 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. “Even the times when we haven’t had it going on early in the game we seemed to find a way to get it going, and for whatever reason we couldn’t get that started. We couldn’t get it going. That was the frustration I guess. Not having that spark, that big play, whatever it was out there.”

Both defenses carried the play for most of the first half as both units recorded takeaways.

The Jets offense had a long, methodical drive as their possession took up most of the first quarter after Buffalo’s three-and-out to start the game. But on a 2nd-and-goal from the seven Mark Sanchez overthrew Dustin Keller and Jairus Byrd intercepted the pass in the back of the end zone taking it out to the Buffalo 21.

The Bills offense couldn’t capitalize however, with their drive stalling just beyond midfield. Head coach Chan Gailey took the blame for most of the offense’s shortcomings.

“I needed to be cleaner on the things I had designed for the offense,” Gailey said. “We needed to run the ball better early. I probably didn’t stick with that enough. We just, sometimes in third down we couldn’t make third downs. That’s where we’ve got to get better if we expect to be a consistent football team.”

The game remained scoreless until the latter stages of the second quarter, when the Jets marched 44 on 10 plays. On 3rd-and-8 at the Bills 31, a Mark Sanchez pass over the middle was tipped by Dwan Edwards and appeared to be intercepted by George Wilson, but it was overturned on replay review. That call gave the Jets a 49-yard field goal and Nick Folk put it up and through for the first points of the game with 2:55 left in the second quarter (3-0).

Ryan Fitzpatrick then threw a pair of interceptions on consecutive possessions. The Bills were fortunate in both instances. On the first turnover, New York moved into field goal range, but Folk pushed a 50-yard attempt wide right. On the second turnover, Mark Sanchez gave it right back to the Bills on a fumbled shotgun snap, which was recovered by Marcell Dareus.

Again however, Buffalo’s offense remained in neutral as they went scoreless in the first half for the first time this season as the Jets took a field goal lead to the locker room (3-0).

New York’s offense was handed a pair of short fields early in the second half on a 59-yard kick return by Joe McKnight to start the half to set up the Jets at the Buffalo 45, but they went three-and-out. After the Bills went three-and-out themselves, a 15-yard punt return by Jeremy Kerley gave the Jets possession at the Bills 40-yard line. After gaining just eight yards the Jets settled for a 50-yard field goal to make it 6-0.

On the Bills next possession Fred Jackson fumbled at his own 23 and the Jets recovered. Three plays later LaDainian Tomlinson had a one-yard touchdown run to put New York ahead 13-0 with 8:34 left in the third.

“It was just how I got hit,” said Jackson. “I’ll take that one on the chin. That was my fault. I let my team down when I let the ball go. I can’t do that. We can’t have turnovers like that.”

Buffalo finally put points on the board on their ensuing possession. On a 3rd-and-5 Stevie Johnson got behind Darrelle Revis for a 52-yard catch and run down to the Jets’ 23-yard line. After an 11-yard catch by Scott Chandler set up a 1st-and-10 at the Jets 12, the Bills couldn’t find the end zone and took a 24-yard Rian Lindell field goal instead to pull Buffalo to within 10 (13-3).

New York came right back and after getting consecutive first downs on passes to Dustin Keller and Plaxico Burress, the Jets were the beneficiary of a questionable pass interference call that gave them a 1st-and-goal opportunity at the Bills eight-yard line. Santonio Holmes would make a difficult catch on a post pattern to make it 20-3 Jets with 3:27 left in the third.

Come the fourth quarter the Bills threatened to score early, but facing a 4th-and-inches the Jets defensive line collapsed down on Fred Jackson stopping for no gain and a turnover on downs.

 “We didn’t run the ball well and they got some pressure on Fitz so I’m assuming we lost it,” said Wood of the battle at the line of scrimmage. “I’ll have to look at the tape to see how everyone else did, but we didn’t really get anything going. We were stopped on a 3rd-and-1 and a 4th-and-1 it’s disappointing.”

New York then pounded out yards on the ground to shorten the game running almost minutes off the clock before another pass interference penalty gave the Jets a first-and-goal situation at the Bills one-yard line. Fullback John Conner took it in from a yard out for the touchdown with six minutes remaining.

“We weren’t physical enough in the ball game,” said Gailey. “We’ve got to be more physical. I’d say if there was one thing that’s what I’d say.”

The Bills finally found the end zone with just over three minutes remaining after a 10-play 80-yard drive was capped by a seven-yard pass from Fitzpatrick to David Nelson. Fitzpatrick then scrambled for a two-point conversion to make it 27-11.

Buffalo is now in a three-way tie for first place in the AFC East with the Jets and Patriots at 5-3. New England lost to the Giants 24-20 Sunday. The Bills now begin a three-week road trip, which takes them to Dallas next Sunday to face the Cowboys.

“We still feel like we control what happens to us,” said Jackson. “They’re a great team. We knew it was going to be a dogfight coming in and they came in and played well and we didn’t. We’ve just got to come back to the drawing board and we’ve got a great opportunity next week to go down to Dallas and get a win.”