Orchard Park (WKBW) It was just normal pregame press box banter, but I told a couple of my colleagues on Sunday I felt the Bills would win in a blowout over the Jets. I was half joking. Apparently the Bills were not.
A dominant day for the Buffalo defense combined with a bounce back effort for QB EJ Manuel added up to a 37-14 win over the Jets. It was the most lopsided victory of the Doug Marrone era and snapped a three game losing streak. "Proud of the team, proud of the guys.", said Marrone after the win. "The last three weeks have been very difficult for us. Pit in our stomach type of deal. It was important to get out here and make sure they can go ahead and win", Marrone continued.
-I loved the way that Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine attacked Geno Smith on Sunday. The rookie passed for 331 yards in the teams first meeting back in September and Pettine was determined to not let that happen again. The Bills made life miserable for Smith. He was pressured all day, sacked four times and the Bills scored 17 points off of four turnovers. Smith finished 8 of 23 for 103 yards, three interceptions and a rating of 10.1. He was benched in thefourth quarter.
-The Buffalo secondary played it's best game of the year. It was nice to see Jairus Byrd return to Pro Bowl form. The safety finished with a pair of interceptions and a sack. It was the fifth time in Byrd's career that he had more than one interception in a game. Da'Norris Searcy scored his second career touchdown on a 32-yard interception return for a touchdown. The safety made a great play to step in front of a ball intended for Santonio Holmes. It was Geno Smith's final throw of the game. Matt Simms replaced Smith at quarterback on the Jets first series in the fourth quarter.
-Kyle Williams had a pair of sacks on Sunday. He now has 7 on the season which is a new career high. The Bills have 37 sacks through the first 11 games which according to the team ties the franchise record set in 1997.
-Credit to EJ Manuel for bouncing back in a big way. The rookie quarterback shook off the worst performance of his young career in Pittsburgh to have his best day against the Jets. "Just playing more confident", said Manuel after the game. "Knowing where I'm going with the ball and just letting it rip", Manuel continued. The first round pick finished 20 of 28 for 245 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Manuel fought through the windy conditions and was productive despite being without his top two receivers in Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods. Manuel picked up almost a third of his yards on the afternoon on back to back throws in the third quarter. He hit TJ Graham down the left sideline for 40 yards, then came back on the very next play to hit Marquise Goodwin for a 43 yard touchdown down the right side. Those two throws may have been his best two of the season. Manuel showed poise in the pocket all day. Made good decisions and was able to execute. This was the progress we needed to see especially with his struggles against the Steelers. It was an impressive performance.
-Rookie WR Marquise Goodwin continues to impress. Goodwin set career highs with his 6 catches for 81 yards. The rookies 43 yard touchdown catch was his third of the season. All three have gone for more then 40 yards. He has proven his big play ability and I'd love to see him be a bigger part of the offense.
-The Bills knew going in it would be tough sledding in the run game. The Jets ranked first in the league against the run with some studs on that defensive line including Muhammad Wilkerson and rookie Sheldon Richardson. The Bills finished with 68 yards rushing 17 of which went to Goodwin on a reverse. Fred Jackson rushed for 34 yards on 12 carries. C.J. Spiller was held to 6 yards on 13 touches.