Week 9: Jets Wear Down Bills 26-17
Turnovers and failed gambles cost Bills first place in division.
by Steve Saslow
Marshawn Lynch missed a good portion of this game with nausea. All Bills fans are suffering from similiar symptons after the disappointing 26-17 loss to the Jets that moved New York into a tie with the Bills in the division. Brett Favre made that big mistake when Jabari Greer picked off a pass and returned it 42 yards for a score midway through the fourth quarter to pull the Bills within six. It wasn't enough as the Jets put the game away with an 8:41 drive to the clinching field goal.
Buffalo got off to a fast start but the Jets took control of the game by making only a few mistakes and playing a mentally superior game as they wore down the Bills to gain the victory. The Bills turned the ball over twice in the first quarter including giving up a defensive score of their own. They failed on a few gambles as well as not much went their way just like last week in Miami.
Everyone was concerned with the turnover problems of Brett Favre heading into this game. It turned out the quarterback that was suppose to be better in ball security started off like he finished the Miami game. Trent Edwards made two crucial turnovers in the first quarter with a fumble and a 92 yard interception return for a touchdown by Abrham Elam. The two turnovers gave the Jets 10 of their 13 first quarter points. The pick may have been the worst pass of his career when on a third and goal at the 14 he should have been playing it safe. The turnover was a 10 point turnaround as instead of a four point lead they trailed 13-7 at that point.
It was a very strange first half as at one point the Bills held the ball for more than a quarter straight that included 27 offensive plays. What is even more of a shock is they were actually outscored 7-0 during that stretch thanks to the interception. The Jets took a 3-0 lead thanks to a pair of 40 yard plays by Leon Washington thanks to a kickoff return and screen reception.
The Bills responded with a 44 yard kickoff return by Leodis McKelvin and a 42 yard screen reception by Marshawn Lynch. It setup a nice touchdown pass from Edwards to a wide open Derek Fine to give the Bills the 7-3 lead.
That's when the game turned as Edwards two miscues gave the Jets the 13-7 lead. The Bills defense did a great job holding the Jets to three after the fumble set them up at the Bills 6 but they lost two yards on three plays.
Everything the Bills tried seemed to backfire as they moved down the field after the interception only to be stopped on a third and 1 pass from the 7 and a fourth and one stop on a run by Fred Jackson.
That took the wind out of the sails of the crowd and the team. When the Jets offense finally got on the field after 15 minutes on the sidelines they had a new plan after only getting one first down up to that point. They started moving the ball mixing in screen passes and intermediate passes over the middle. The defense stiffened and forced a missed field goal that should have given the Bills momentum heading into the 2nd half.
It didn't thanks to another failed gamble as a fake punt went for a first down but the Bills needed to burn a challenge to get it and still had to punt thanks to a holding penalty on Bryan Scott. The Jets turned that missed gamble into another field goal to go up by nine.
Every time they gained some momentum they quickly lost it. Rian Lindell hit a 53 yard field goal to give them a charge for one play as his kickoff went out of bounds and set the Jets up on their first offensive scoring of the game. Jerricho Cotchery had a 35 yard catch and run that setup a Thomas Jones 7 yard touchdown run to give them a 23-10 lead.
The Jets were doing what they wanted offensively and even when Favre made that big mistake it wasn't enough. The Jets used the inside passing game to perfection. They mixed that in with well timed screen passes. The Bills tried the same thing on offense but with less success as the game wore on while the Jets were having more success.
Even after the Bills got the momentum back with Greer's interception the defense couldn't keep the momentum going as the Jets just ran it down their throats on a long drive to run out the clock. Teams with thoughts of making the playoffs can't afford to lose division games at home. The Bills were getting used to having things go their way at home late in games and when Greer picked off that pass it seemed like history may repeat itself. On this day though you just got the feeling the Bills were never going to get over the hump that was created by the two first quarter turnovers. Good teams do come back but good teams don't get into that hole in the first place. The Bills now go to New England with a legitimate 0-3 in the division on the horizon and a chance at falling into last place. How quickly they have plummeted as the 4-0 start seems like it was years ago.
Here are our exclusive gameballs and goats from the Bills game against the Jets:Gameballs