Jeff Burris was on the hot corner Sunday evening.
He gave up two touchdown passes to New York Jets rookie Keyshawn Johnson. However, he also came up with two turnovers -- an interception and a fumble recovery -- made three third-down plays to halt Jet drives and provided a spark for the Bills on punt returns.
Overall, Burris' plusses outweighed the minuses in the Bills' 25-22 victory at Giants Stadium.
"I didn't feel I played well enough, technique-wise," Burris said. "But there were some positives for me to take out of the game."
A lack of takeaways has been the lone shortcoming of the Bills' defense this season. Against the Jets, the Bills got five -- three fumble recoveries and two interceptions.
Burris' fumble recovery came at the Jets' 5 with 9:09 left in the game and set up the Bills' lone touchdown. The Jets fumbled the snap, and the ball bounced backward 15 yards before being recovered.
"I saw the ball rolling around like a hot potato," Burris said. "Fortunately, after several people tried to pick it up, the ball came right to me."
Burris' interception came midway through the fourth quarter and helped set up a field goal that put the Bills ahead, 22-15.
Johnson, the No. 1 overall pick in April's NFL draft, went long down the right sideline on the play. Burris matched him stride for stride and returned the interception 22 yards to the Jets' 47.
"He ran a slant and up," Burris said of Johnson. "I figured after running 12,000 slants, it was about time for them to do something else. Frank (Reich) threw the ball in a good spot. I happened to come underneath Keyshawn and make the play."
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Johnson caught a 16-yard TD pass against Burris in the first quarter. Johnson ran a corner route, and Burris turned the wrong way before trying to make the play. In the third quarter, Johnson outfought a tight-covering Burris for the ball on a 9-yard TD pass.
"He's a tall guy, and he made some great plays on the ball," Burris said. "I think it was more (poor) technique on my part, but he went up and got the ball. That's why they made him a No. 1 pick."
Johnson has become known for his outgoing personality this season. Burris said the rookie made one comment of note to him during the game.
"He just mentioned to me during the game that Notre Dame lost," said Burris, an Irish alumnus. "So I had to remind him USC lost, too."
Burris also stripped Johnson of the ball to force an incompletion on a third-and-16 pass in the second quarter. Later in the second quarter he stuffed Jet back Adrian Murrell for no gain on a third-and-1 running play around right end. On a third-and-12 play in the third quarter, Burris closed quickly on Jet back Richie Anderson, who was open on a 20-yard pattern down the left side of the field, and broke up the play.
"That was a play where the safeties were rolling to the strong side, so the weak-side corner has deep responsibility," Burris said. "The ball floated in there, and I got there in time to break it up."
Burris said he handled the Bills' punt return duties because regular return man Russell Copeland was bothered by a bruised kidney.
Burris averaged 15 yards on three returns, including a 29-yarder that was the best this season by the Bills.
"If I had Thomas Smith's speed, I could have scored on that one, but unfortunately I don't," Burris said. "The guys up front did a great job blocking. Anyone could have run through the hole I had."