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Bills Stumble Against Jets; Lose 26-17

In the AFC East things are different this year, as the general belief is that the division is up for grabs after Tom Brady’s season ending injury. It’s for that reason that divisional match-ups are so important, which is why the Jets victory on the road over the Buffalo Bills was such an important win.

After this game the Bills and Jets look like two teams going in opposite directions. The Jets seem to be really coming together on defense (with 5 sacks and 2 INT’s today) and as each week passes Favre should become more comfortable in the offense. Buffalo on the other hand is floundering, losing 3 of their last 4 games after a 4-0 start. In addition after a hot start Trent Edwards is starting to show his inexperience, which makes a long playoff run seem more unlikely as the divisional losses pile up.

On Sunday the game started slowly with sloppy play being the common factor between the two teams. The other thing the teams had in common was they both got on the board after key receptions by their Running Backs. On the first drive of the game Leon Washington took a short screen pass 40 yards but the Jets could not capitalize, having to settle for a field goal. The Bills matched that effort with a short dump off pass to Marshawn Lynch going 42 yards. They too had to settle for a field goal.

After a 3 and out by the Jets the Bills got the ball deep in their own territory but quickly gave it back as Trent Edwards was sacked by Darrelle Revis and fumbled, with the fumble being recovered by Revis. The Bills defense held the Jets to just a field goal, and it was that point where it looked like the Bills could be gaining momentum.

The Bills proceeded to hold the ball for close to 15 minutes but came away with nothing to show for it. The first drive lasted close to 8 minutes as Trent Edwards drove the Bills deep into Jets territory, but it ended poorly as Abram Elam intercepted an Edwards pass and took it back 92 yards for a TD. On the next drive the Bills had the ball close to 7 minutes but on a 4th and 1 deep in Jets territory Fred Jackson was stopped short. The Bills seemed to get a bad spot after Jauron made the questionable decision to go for it on 4th and 1 over taking the sure points. This would prove costly later in the game. After the stop the Jets went on their own lengthy drive taking almost all of the remaining 8 minutes in the 2nd quarter off the clock. However they too came up with nothing as Jay Feely missed a 37-yard field goal right before the half. When all was said and done the Jets went to the locker room leading 13-7.

The 2nd half started as slowly as the 1st half as the majority of the 3rd quarter passed by with nothing happening other than each team scoring a field goal, but with 3:32 left in the 3rd the Jets took control of the game with a TD drive that lasted just 2:25. It started when Rian Lindell kicked a kick-off very close to the sideline. In what seems to be an odd rule the ball did not go out of bounds, but since Leon Washington was out of bounds when he touched it the ball was ruled out of bounds so the Jets took the ball at the 40. Favre almost immediately hit Jerricho Cotchery for a 35-yard pass and Thomas Jones quickly followed that play up with a 7 yard TD run.

At this point of the game the score was 23-10 and the Bills were on the ropes, but they seemed to be coming back when Jabari Greer intercepted a Favre pass and returned it 42 yards for a TD. But it was not meant to be as the Jets held the ball for an impressive 8:41 to take all but 2:12 off the clock, with the result of the drive being a Jay Feely field goal. The drive was highlighted by Thomas Jones carrying the ball 4 times for 35 yards to demoralize the Bills. At that point the Jets lead was 9, and thanks to the decision earlier in the game to go for it on 4th and 1 instead of taking the points and after an earlier missed field goal by Lindell the Bills needed two scores and were essentially done.

Brett Favre was 19 for 28 for 201 yards and 1 interception, while Trent Edwards was 24 for 35 for 289 yards with 1 TD, and 2 interceptions. The difference today was the running backs, as Thomas Jones finished with 107 yards from scrimmage (69 rushing) and Leon Washington had the long catch on the first drive of the game while Marshawn Lynch ran for just 16 yards on 9 carries. The Bills continue to struggle in the run game, as Lynch has yet to reach the 100 yards mark this season. Edwards has also struggled, as in the past two games he has turned the ball over 5 times while also allowing a safety. This after he only gave the ball up 4 times in the first 5 games. In the past two weeks the pocket awareness that he is known for is less evident as he’s been hit multiple times with the result too often being a turnover.

In the end both teams are 5-3, and if the Patriots lose to the Colts there will be a three way tie at the top of the division, with the Dolphins just 1 game back at 4-4. In such a competitive division the Jets have to be feeling better than the Bills, as the Bills now are 0-2 in the division and the shine of their hot start has faded. Time will tell who comes out on top in the end, but the Bills aren’t looking nearly as good as they were just two weeks ago. Now all of Buffalo is hoping that start was not a mirage created by an easy schedule,

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