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Lindell, Bills kick AFC East skid against Jets

You can say it was ugly and I wouldn’t argue. You can say that the planets were aligned just right and I’d probably agree. You can even say that the Jets played a big part in losing the game. Again, I probably would agree. Say what you will about this one, just as long as you say Buffalo Bills and victory in the same breath.

Buffalo found a way to get a season saving win in the Meadowlands on Sunday afternoon, knocking off the Jets 16-13 in overtime. The win snapped a three-game losing streak, along with an eight-game losing streak against AFC East opponents.

This one had that same old Bills feeling throughout the game didn’t it? Early on in the first quarter, the Bills got down into the red zone only to come away with a field goal instead of a touchdown thanks to a holding and a false start penalty. I began thinking that good teams on the road find a way to get six instead of three, but these are the Bills and they’ll take the three points, and never look back. The second quarter belonged to the Jets. Bills quarterback Trent Edwards was squashed between Jets defensive players Calvin Pace and David Harris. Edwards was lost for the rest of the game due to a concussion, forcing backup Ryan Fitzpatrick to lead the Bills the rest of the way. Thomas Jones ran wild, with runs of 64 and 71 yards, the 71-yarder resulting in the first touchdown of the game and gave the Jets a 13-3 halftime lead.

It’s okay to think at halftime that the Jets were finally waking up and were on the verge of a blowout. Jones couldn’t be stopped. Fitzpatrick was thrown into the fire on the road. The offense was looking like it’s typical anemic self. It was a recipe for disaster.

But something happened in the second half: the Bills decided to fight. They decided they were going to find some way to win instead of finding a new way to lose. The Bills adopted no quit, no surrender attitude resulted in Buffalo scoring 13 unanswered points to hand the Jets their third consecutive loss after a hot 3-0 start.

In the third quarter, the Bills finally ended their touchdown drought that stretched over six quarters with no touchdowns and just one touchdown in their last 10 quarters. With 2:30 left when Fitzpatrick hit wide out Lee Evans on a perfect 37-yard slant that Evans took to the end zone, tied the game and sent an uneasy feeling among the sea of green in East Rutherford.

Now it began to feel different. As the fourth quarter drew to a close, the Bills had a golden chance to win the game. With 3:19 to play, Fitzpatrick connected with Evans on a 12-yard pass play, setting up the Bills at the Jets 37-yard line. But then the play calling gets conservative. Fred Jackson had an eight-yard carry, but after that the Bills ran three running plays totaling one yard. Buffalo called on Rian Lindell to make a very difficult 46-yard kick into the swirling winds. The kick never had a chance. As soon as foot met ball, the kick started right and kept drifting into the New York evening.

As hard as the Bills had played, momentum squarely rested with New York. A missed chance at the end of regulation. The Jets winning the coin toss to start overtime. It had the makings of another heartbreaker. With almost four minutes gone in overtime, the Jets had a chance to win, attempting a 50-yard field goal. But punter Steven Weatherford botched the snap on Jay Feely’s attempt and threw a prayer up for grabs that was intercepted by John Wendling. The Bills couldn’t take advantage and went three and out. The Jets matched the Bills three and out and were forced to punt from their own 12. Buffalo was in good field position, starting at their own 45, however Fitzpatrick threw an interception and the ball went back to the Jets. You could feel it slowly slipping away from the Bills.

And then it happened. Four plays later from their own 46 yard line, middle linebacker Paul Posluszny picked off Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez. The Bills took nine plays to get to the Jets’ 29-yard line and for a brief moment, it appeared the Bills had it all sewn up. Fitzpatrick connected on a deep pass to Evans down to the Jets’4-yard line, but video replay overturned the call, stating Evans did not maintain complete control before landing out of bounds. Buffalo called Lindell’s number for a second time with a 47-yard attempt with the wind. This time, Lindell didn’t miss. Kick, up and good. Ballgame. Bills win.

For everything that’s happened so far this season with this team, and no matter what your current feelings are towards the franchise, you have to be proud of the way this team never quit and kept fighting. This win felt great, plain and simple. To be able to add to the Jets’ misery and silence their brash head coach Rex Ryan is truly satisfying.

This was a prideful win spear-headed by the defense. A week after holding Browns quarterback Derek Anderson to 23 yards on just two completions, Buffalo made life extremely miserable for the Jets’ golden boy Mark Sanchez. The defense intercepted Sanchez five times, two by rookie Jairus Byrd and one each by Posluszny, rookie defensive back Reggie Corner and safety George Wilson. Sanchez was just 10-of-29 for 118 yards and had a dreadful passer rating of 8.3.

The Bills won this game with a lot of ‘despites’. Despite the fact that they lost Trent Edwards to a concussion, they still won the game. Despite allowing the Jets to rush for 318 yards, they were able to win. They won despite Jets running back steam rolling the Bills for 210 yards. They won despite Lindell missing a game-winning attempt as time expired. They won despite being outgained 414-296. Buffalo found a way to get the win instead of finding another way to lose.

Hopefully this win will give the Bills some momentum going forward. Finally there’s something to cheer about again throughout all the recent negativity. Head coach Dick Jauron’s seat cooled off a bit for one week. At least through this week that billboard imploring Bills owner Ralph Wilson to clean house won’t endure quite so many car horns on the way by.

Buffalo improved their record to 2-4 and will travel to Carolina next week.


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One Response to “Lindell, Bills kick AFC East skid against Jets”

  1. Robert Brown says:

    I just watched another dissmal loss from the Buffalo Bills. When in GOD’S NAME will someone get a clue!!! This team needs a coach including entire new staff, a quaterback, a new front office and a new owner!! Ralph does not have a clue what is going on! Enough is enough!! These fans deserve better. Jim K., Thurman T., please take the team over and clean house!!

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