SECAUCUS, NJ ( by: Chris Brown buffalobills.com ) A 14-14 tie at the half had the Bills in the best position to get their first win in a month. After falling behind by a touchdown in the third quarter Buffalo scored 10 straight points to take a three-point lead with just over nine minutes remaining (24-21). But the Bills couldn’t hold on as a late touchdown drive by the Jets put them up four with a minute remaining.
A last ditch effort by the Bills to find the end zone for the win came up short as three different shots to the end zone went for incomplete passes dropping the Bills into third place in the AFC East and putting New York ahead of Buffalo by a game along with the head-to-head sweep.
Down 24-21, the Jets then went on a methodical drive with Mark Sanchez hitting Santonio Holmes on a broken play in the back right corner of the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown with a minute remaining.
Prior to that the Bills put themselves up by a field goal after Dave Rayner bombed a 53-yarder through the uprights with just under 10 minutes remaining to cap a 14-play drive.
But the Bills attack could not come up with the plays when they counted most. Stevie Johnson could not hold onto a pass from Fitzpatrick on a post pattern on a 2nd-and-13 from the Jets 47 that may have gone for a touchdown. Buffalo has now lost four straight.
Buffalo got on the board first and more importantly did so with a touchdown. Ryan Fitzpatrick and company were able to mix the run and the pass well with Fitzpatrick going 6-6 for 74 yards on the drive including a six-yard touchdown pass to David Nelson on an underneath route to put the Bills up 7-0 in the late stages of the first quarter.
The Jets would match the Bills on their next possession marching 78 yards, including 23 from Santonio Holmes on an end around to move the Jets into Buffalo territory. Mark Sanchez capped the drive when he hit a wide open Dustin Keller for a three-yard touchdown reception to tie the score (7-7) early in the second quarter.
Buffalo’s defense was doing a good job early of putting the Jets in 3rd-and-medium to 3rd-and-long situations and got stops. It eventually won the Bills a good field position edge after they sent the Jets three-and-out from their own 10.
Though the Bills could not capitalize on that possession their defense would give them another opportunity. Drayton Florence knowing he had help over the top on Holmes in coverage, dropped underneath him and picked off Sanchez’s pass over the middle.
With a 1st-and-10 situation at the Jets 20, Buffalo made quick work of the Jets defense. After Fitzpatrick scrambled for four yards on first down, he hit Scott Chandler for an 11-yard pickup to set up 1st-and-goal at the five. He then hit Stevie Johnson on a quick slant for a five-yard touchdown to go up 14-7 after the extra point late in the second quarter.
Unfortunately Dave Rayner mis-hit the kickoff, which was taken from the 20 after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was assessed to Stevie Johnson for excessive celebration. The kick appeared to be an intended squib, but it skidded very low along the ground and hit a New York up man on the return unit. Emanuel Cole recovered at the Bills 36-yard line.
A personal foul penalty assessed to Marcell Dareus for hitting the quarterback moved the Jets down to the Buffalo 14. On 3rd-and-10 at the 14, Sanchez hit Plaxico Burress on a post pattern with the Bills secondary not playing the coverage properly. The score remained tied going to the half (14-14).
Buffalo could not put points on the board on their opening possession of the second half with their drive stalling at the Jets 38. New York meanwhile went to their ground game and began breaking off big chunks of yardage. Shonn Greene and Joe McKnight combined for 40 yards rushing on six carries and Dustin Keller took care of the rest with a 22-yard reception and an 18-yard touchdown catch down the seam as the tight end broke a pair of tackles on his way to the end zone to give the Jets their first lead of the game 21-14 late in the third quarter.
Buffalo made a play on special teams to tie the score. After punting the ball away following a three-and-out Jets returner Antonio Cromartie muffed the punt. Leodis McKelvin recovered at the Jets 36 and the Bills offense would strike quickly.
Ryan Fitzpatrick looked for Brad Smith deep down the right sideline. Smith reached up and over Antonio Cromartie to tip the ball up in the air, then pulled the ball in as Cromartie went to the turf and got to the end zone for a 36-yard scoring play to tie the score (21-21).
The Bills defense then forced the Jets offense three-and-out and Buffalo’s offense again put a lengthy drive together. Though the drive was halted at the New York 34-yard line, Dave Rayner came up big as his 53-yard attempt had plenty of leg and was good to give Buffalo a three-point lead (24-21) with nine minutes left.
Again the defense forced the Jets three-and-out as Sanchez and his receivers were not on the same page on a third down incompletion.