When you lose the battle at the line of scrimmage, you most likely lose the game as well - that statement turned out to be true once again this afternoon in Buffalo where the New York Jets lost to the Bills, 27-17.
Not for the first time this season we saw the Jets come out unprepared in the first quarter and get totally dominated by their opponent. The Bills scored on their first drive, as RB Willis McGahee ran through the Jets' defense like a knife through butter, gaining 37 yards on the ground on just 5 carries. The Jets received a gift on the ensuing kickoff when Buffalo's PK Lindell kicked out of bounds. The Jets' drive, however, got stalled at the 49-yard line after 2 incomplete passes by QB Vinny Testaverde. The Bills quickly gave up the ball after a 3 and out possession and the Gang Green got the ball back at midfield. Unfortunately, the excellent field position was quickly put to waste again, as Testaverde got sacked twice and the Jets were forced to punt again.
This time the Bills capitalized and 10 plays later extended the lead to 14-0 with almost 10 minutes left to play in the second quarter. The teams exchanged 3 and out drives and then RB Curtis Martin finally broke a long run, instantly moving the Jets into field goal range. PK Mike Nugent converted a 44-yard attempt, cutting the Bills' lead to 14-3. Later in the quarter CB Ty Law intercepted a pass on the Jets' 9-yard line and it sure looked like the momentum was turning to the Jets' side. Testaverde moved the Gang Green deep into the Bills' territory, connecting with WR Justin McCareins on two beautiful throws - 29 and 28 yards. Then, WR Laveranues Coles was interfered in the end zone, which resulted in a 1st and goal from Buffalo's 1-yard line. Three plays later Curtis Martin rumbled into the end zone and the Jets were back in the game, 14-10. The Bills, however, still managed to score three more points before the half expired.
The third quarter started with another big run by Curtis Martin - 41 yards, and the Jets once again found themselves deep into the Bills' territory. Unfortunately, all hopes to tie the game quickly died when on the next play Testaverde's pass was intercepted and returned to Buffalo's 18-yard line. Just ten plays later the Bills scored again, as McGahee crossed the 100 rushing mark, 24-10. The Jets responded four minutes later when LB Mark Brown intercepted a pass and returned it to the Bills' 1-yard line. Testaverde scored on a quarterback sneak and the Jets once again got back into this game.
In the final quarter the Bills scored another field goal, extending their lead to 27-17. The Jets still had chances to turn the game around, but all their hopes ended when Testaverde fumbled a bad snap and then his pass was intercepted at the Bills' 1-yard line.
The Jets' defense that had looked so good against the run earlier this season gave up almost 200 rushing yards against the Bills, while the Jets' offensive line gave up five sacks and mishandled a couple of snaps. The latter will definitely have to be addressed in the offseason, as that unit has looked absolutely horrendous all year.
Testaverde finished the game just 12 of 26 for 161 yards, 0 TD, 2 INTs. Martin finally had a good game - 148 yards on 18 carries. WR Justin McCareins led the team with 5 receptions for 116 yards.
On the defensive side, LB Jonathan Vilma recorded the team-high 12 tackles (8 solo) and defended 2 passes. S Erik Coleman also had 12 tackles (6 solo). CB Ty Law added 8 tackles (7 solo) to his interception and 2 pass defenses. DE Shaun Ellis had the Jets' only sack of the game.
C Kevin Mawae didn't return after hurting his elbow in the second half.
The Gang Green fell to 2-4 and are in the last place in the AFC East. Next Monday the team will take on the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football.