Game 13: Bills Beat Jets 17-6
The Bills finally pull off a blueprint victory.
by Steve Saslow
In the off season the Bills crowed about how they would have this power running game that would eat up clock for a smothering defense and they would win hard fought dominating low scoring games. Three-quarters of the way through the season fans were still waiting to see that as offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride refused to go along with the blueprint Tom Donahoe created. Week 13 was the game everyone was waiting for. As a buzz developed around the possibility of Willis McGahee playing (he didn't), Travis Henry just dominated the game. He ran for a career high 169 yards on 32 carries and controlled the clock while moving the chains. The defense smothered the Jets offense recording five sacks as the Bills put together their second straight total team effort in beating a "New York" team. The 17-6 win is the second in a row and puts the Bills two games out of a playoff spot with three to play.
It looked like it would be a high scoring affair early on as a lightning quick first quarter saw only one and a half total possessions. The Jets took the opening kickoff and drove 67 yards in a whopping 17 plays in 9:37 but were forced to settle for a Doug Brien 38 yard field goal that gave them a 3-0 lead. They had five first downs on the drive, they would have only 9 more the rest of the way and 148 yards in the final three plus quarters.
The Bills answered the Jets by taking their first possession the distance. A 13 play, 71 yard drive that ended on a third down, six yard touchdown pass from Drew Bledsoe to Josh Reed to give the Bills a 7-3 lead that they would not relinquish. Henry would run for 37 yards on the drive and established himself as the dominating player on this day.
It stayed that way into the third quarter. The Bills stubbed their toe on a few offensive possessions as a couple of dropped passes, including one by Bobby Shaw kept the Bills at bay. Bledsoe didn't do too much in this game but he didn't have to thanks to Henry. He did almost kill the team with two miscues though. He fumbled the ball on a hit in the second quarter that Sam Gash recovered. It kept the Bills from getting into field goal range. The Jets drove down into Bills territory in the final minute of the first half but a false start penalty turned a 45 yard field goal into a 50 yard miss just short.
Bledsoe's second mistake was an interception on the second play of the second half. That could have been a huge play but the Bills defense stiffened. They forced the Jets to actually lose 2 yards on three plays, thanks to a sack by Lawyer Milloy. That was the final sack of the day for the Bills, but they had four in the first half as Sam Adams was simply dominating. He had two sacks and was constantly in the Jets backfield, when he wasn't making a tackle he was getting a hit in so somebody else could make a tackle. Most of that time that person was London Fletcher who led the way with 12 tackles.
With the defense dominating the offense needed to give them some breathing room and Henry was the man to do it. The offense was fired up by the defense bailing them out. They would drive 85 yards in 11 plays taking 5:24 off the clock. Henry started the drive with runs of 9 and 6 yards. He would end it with four straight runs for 31 yards including the four yard touchdown run that gave the Bills a 14-3 lead.
That would be enough as the defense harassed Chad Pennington all day not letting him perform the magic he has since he's come back from a broken wrist. They held him to a career starting low 155 yards. He did respond to the Bills second touchdown by leading the Jets on another field goal drive. They used a good kickoff return to set them up for a 36 yard drive to a 40 yard field goal by Brien to make the score 14-6.
The Bills offense would again respond, or shall we say Henry responded. The Bills used a good kickoff return of their own to set them up for a 32 yard field goal from Rian Lindell to give the Bills a 17-6 lead that would be the final score. The Bills drove 44 yards in 11 plays as Henry carried seven times on the drive for 46 yards. In fact, at one point in the third quarter he ran the ball seven straight times over two scoring drives.
Henry's one mistake was a fumble in the final minutes but the Bills forced Pennington into an interception by rookie Terrence McGee to put the exclamation point on the win.
The Bills are playing there best football since the first two games of the season. While fans are saying what if they did this earlier? The players are saying there isn't anything they can do about the past but they are fighting and believing that they still have a shot at the playoffs. It's a long shot, the Bills need to run the table and that will be no small feat. They need to win in Tennessee next week, Miami at home, and then in New England to close the season and then they still need help. So, while the playoff aren't going to happen unless their is a miracle, it is nice to see the team finally building momentum that hopefully will help them next year.
Here are our exclusive gameballs and goats from the Bills win. The domination makes the goats hard to come by for the second straight week: