First quarter: Picked apart
The Buffalo Bills didn’t have Geno Smith to kick around for long Sunday. That’s because they forced the New York Jets’ quarterback to the bench with three straight interceptions in the first quarter at MetLife Stadium.
After going three and out on their opening drive, Smith threw interceptions to Stephon Gilmore, Preston Brown and Aaron Williams.
Following the last interception, which Williams returned to the Jets’ 1-yard line, Smith was pulled in favor of Michael Vick. Quarterback Kyle Orton threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Lee Smith, opening up a 14-0 Buffalo lead.
Second guess: What was Nigel Bradham thinking? The linebacker’s taunting penalty at the end of Gilmore’s interception return pushed the Bills back 15 yards and out of field-goal range.
Standing tall: Orton took a vicious sack on the Bills’ first drive, when Calvin Pace and Quinton Coples sandwiched him. The Bills’ quarterback bounced right back, however, throwing a 22-yard touchdown pass to Robert Woods on the next play for the game’s first points.
Second quarter: Vick on the move
The Jets’ switch to Michael Vick at quarterback paid dividends in the second quarter. The 14-year veteran showed he can still get it done with his legs, running five times for 57 yards in the first half.
Vick also led a pair of touchdown drives, each of which ended with a 2-yard scoring run by Chris Ivory, and a 55-yard field goal by Nick Folk on the final play of the first half that cut the Bills’ lead to 24-17.
Vick did, however, commit New York’s fourth turnover of the first half when he was stripped by Bills linebacker Nigel Bradham, who also recovered the fumble, setting up Buffalo at the New York 31-yard line. Dan Carpenter buried a 53-yard field goal to make sure the Bills came away with something from the good field position.
Fantasy killers: Raise your hand if you started Lee Smith or Frank Summers in your fantasy league. The Bills’ blocking specialists each had touchdowns in the first half.
Stat check: Playing without Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, the Bills struggled to run the ball in the first half, with just 32 yards on 14 carries.
Third quarter: Giving it away
The New York Jets’ turnover troubles came back in a big way in the third quarter.
Quarterback Michael Vick lost his second fumble of the game when he was sacked by defensive tackle Corbin Bryant and Stefan Charles was able to fall on the ball.
On the Jets’ next possession, Vick overthrew his intended receiver by a mile and was intercepted by Bills safety Da’Norris Searcy.
Not fooling anyone: The Jets should rip the page out of their playbook that calls for T.J. Graham to lay down in the end zone on a kickoff return. That bit of trickery flopped when kick returner Percy Harvin fielded the ball 9 yards deep in the end zone, then ran out and stopped at the 3-yard line. He looked across for the field for Graham, who had gotten up at that point, but the Bills were all over it and dropped Harvin.
Going backward: The Bills had two scoring drives that went for negative yardage, the second of which came when they lost a yard in the third quarter, but still got a 29-yard field goal from Dan Carpenter.
Fourth quarter: Sudden Sammy
There was no stopping Sammy Watkins this time. The Bills’ rookie receiver finally got his touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Watkins caught a short pass and did the rest of the work on a 61-yard touchdown reception, making the score 43-17. He finished the game with just three catches, but they went for 157 yards, establishing a new career high.
Watkins’ catch was quarterback Kyle Orton’s fourth touchdown pass of the game, tying his career high. Orton would have had five had Watkins not been tackled while celebrating in the second quarter.
Overturned: Poor Leodis McKelvin. He was the only member of the Bills’ starting secondary not to record an interception against the Jets. It looked like McKelvin did pick off Michael Vick in the fourth quarter – which would have been the Jets’ seventh turnover – but after review the pass was ruled incomplete.
A rare miss: Bills kicker Dan Carpenter missed only the second extra point of his career in the fourth quarter when his attempt hit the left upright. He’s now 201 of 203 in his career.