Thursday night football featured a showdown in the AFC East between the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets. Since many have already placed New England Patriots at the top even one game in, this was a battle for second in many minds.
Jets Long First Series
The Jets started the game on offense and managed to stay on the field for more than 9 minutes. The series began with a bad pass and run for no gain but on third down Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a 34-yard pass to Quincy Enunwa to move the Jets farther down the field.
The Bills did step up when Lorenzo Alexander stripped Fitzpatrick but the Bills were unable to recover it. Jerry Hughes then sacked Fitzpatrick but Stephon Gilmore got called for holding (automatic first down) negating the sack and moving the Jets to the Bills 37. On 3rd and five Rex Ryan challenged a 4 yard completion and won it. Fitzpatrick came out and threw another first down pass to Enunwa. Fitzpatrick got stripped again but the Jets recovered again. He then ran for a first down. The Bills defense managed to hold the Jets to a field goal making it 0 - 3 with less than seven minutes left.
Buffalo came out on the field running and seemed to be lethargic. Then Tyrod Taylor threw an 84-yard pass to Marquise Goodwin for the touchdown. With Dan Carpenter's extra point, it made the score 3 - 7.
Jets Continue Domination
The Jets added more points in the beginning of the second after another penalty from the Bills' secondary. Buffalo managed despite miscues to hold the Jets to a Nick Folk field goal after 6 plays for 66 yards. The Bills
Buffalo came back out on offense and were out in just one series.
Back to offense for the Jets with Brandon Marshall leading the charge. Fitzpatrick came out throwing to him for 32 yards to the Bills' 34-yard line. Marshall earned anothe first down but went down holding his knee. He left the game but returned to the field later in the 2nd. Matt Forte ran it in three yards for the touchdown. The extra point put the Jets up 13 - 7.
Buffalo returned to offense and again failed to convert. After two penalities, short run and an incomplete pass the Bills were forced to punt.
New York came back again with Enunwa once again catching a Fitzpatrick pass for a first down. Brandon Marshall returned to the game and caught another first down moving the Jets farther down the field. The series ended on a five yard touchdown pass from Fitzpatrick to Eric Decker.
On the next series, the Bills gained some yards on the ground and in the air including a 11-yard Sammy Waktins reception, his first of the game. (Watkins who is playing with foot pain after surgery was limping after the first reception.) The Bills faced a four and 1 when E.J. Manuel came in for Tyrod Taylor and dove across the line for a first down. The Bills had to settle for a field goal making it 10 - 20 at the half.
Bills Start Off Strong
Buffalo started the third quarter on offense and it seemed it was more of the same. Then on third down, with less than one one minute played in the half, Tyrod Taylor threw another bomb this time 71-yards to Greg Salas (former NY Jet) for the touchdown. The extra point made 17 - 20 with 14:09 left in the 4th.
On the Jets next offensive series, the Jets' Jalin Marshall fumbled and Nickell Robey-Coleman recovered it and ran it in for the touchdown. Another extra point put the Bills ahead 20 - 24 in only 2:54.
The Jets started the next series with a deep pass which due to a penalty was negated. Fitzpatrick then threw on third and eight to Eric Decker for a first down. After Buffalo got penalized for having 12 men on the field, the Jets' Matt Forte ran it in for the touchdown putting the Jets ahead 27 - 24.
Jets Come Back
On the next series, Tyrod Taylor got hit hard enough the refs made him leave the field as part of the league's concussion protocol. E.J. Manuel came in for a few plays then Taylor returned throwing an interception intended for Sammy Watkins (Marcus Williams with the pick) at the Jets' 19 yard line.
Buffalo's defense did hold the Jets' to a just field goal despite several Bills' secondary misses. It put the Jets up 30 - 24 early in the 4th.
Another missed chance for the Bills offense put the ball in the hands of the Jets' offense once again. This drive ended as most of the others. This time Matt Forte ran it in for 12-yards expanding the Jets' lead to 36 - 24 with four minutes left in the fourth.
The Bills did get a touchdown late in the fourth but it was too little too late. The final score was 37 - 31. Former Bill Ryan Fitzpatrick had nearly 400 yards passing in the Jets win. The Jets improve to 1-1 and face the Chiefs in Kansas City next Sunday. The Bills host the Cardinals next Sunday and fall to 0 - 2.