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Mark Gaughan’s Ten Plays That Shaped The Game

1. Back-shoulder TD. How does a team get good in the red zone? Have players who have played together a long time in the same system who can make subtle adjustments. The Bills don’t have that, which is part of the reason they had gone without a TD in eight straight red-zone trips entering the game. But a subtle adjustment by Kyle Orton and Robert Woods produced the Bills’ first TD. On a third-and-goal play from the 7, the Bills used a bunch formation to the right with Woods on the line of scrimmage and Sammy Watkins and Chris Hogan flanked behind him. Watkins and Hogan broke to the outside, Woods went straight up the seam. Jets linebacker David Harris did not let Woods cut to the post, so Orton threw a back-shoulder pass to the outside. Woods made a fine mid-air adjustment and caught the ball in the back of the end zone. The Bills were ahead, 7-0.

2. Cover 2 beater. The Bills called the right play against the right defense to get their second touchdown, a 19-yard scoring catch by Scott Chandler. It was a second-and-goal play from the 19 after Orton had taken a sack. Chandler lined up tight, next to the left tackle, and ran a skinny post pattern. Woods was outside on the left and ran straight up the numbers. Woods’ route froze safety Jaiquawn Jarrett, who was too far back, 3 yards deep in the end zone. Chandler simply cut in front of him for an easy pitch and catch. Too easy. The Bills were up, 14-3.

3. Woods’ helmet catch. Woods made the big play on the Bills’ second touchdown drive with a one-handed catch down the sideline for 27 yards to the Jets’ 43. The Jets rushed five men and were in man-to-man coverage. Woods got a step on cornerback Darrin Walls after eluding a chuck at the line. He used the side of his helmet to secure the ball with his right hand. Amazing grab.

4. Boobie’s block. After signing a free-agent contract with the Bills in March, Anthony “Boobie” Dixon said, “I bring the noise; I also bring the pain.” Dixon put a hurt on Jarrett, the Jets’ wide punt protector, in the third quarter by driving him straight back into the punter. Jarrett might as well have been on roller skates. Dixon blocked the punt with his left hand, and Manny Lawson fell on it in the end zone for a touchdown to give the Bills a 24-3 lead.

5. Best-laid plans sack. The Jets used a bunch of two- and even three-tight end sets in the first half with the aim in part of slowing down the Bills’ pass rush. Mario Williams destroyed the plan late in the second quarter when the Jets lined up three tight ends to the right side of the formation. He burst to the inside of rookie Jace Amaro and pushed both him and tight end Jeff Cumberland backward until he took down Michael Vick for a 10-yard sack. The takedown pushed the Jets out of field-goal position, and they were forced to punt.

6. Red zone sack. The Bills saved four points on the Jets’ third drive of the game when Mario Williams chased down Vick for a 6-yard sack on a first-and-goal play from the Bills’ 4. Vick was looking left for Jeremy Kerley but good coverage forced him to hold the ball. Williams got wide around Breno Giacomini and made an excellent hustle sack. The Jets were forced to settle for a field goal.

7. O-line dominates. The Bills’ offensive line deserves some love after dominating a Jets defense that entered the game ranked seventh in yards allowed and No. 3 against the run. On Dixon’s 30-yard TD run in the fourth quarter, the Bills blew the Jets off the ball. The best block was by right guard Erik Pears, who knocked quality nose tackle Damon Harrison to the side to seal off the outside of the gap for Dixon. Center Eric Wood, with a little help from Kraig Urbik, pushed middle linebacker David Harris 7 yards downfield to form the inside gap. Dixon rumbled into the end zone.

8. Duke Williams’ INT. The Bills’ second-year safety anticipated a hook pattern run by Eric Decker in the fourth quarter. Williams retreated from the line of scrimmage back into the passing lane and picked off Vick’s final pass of the night. He returned it 34 yards to set up another TD.

9. Good from 53. It didn’t turn out to be a critical score, but at the time it was important. Dan Carpenter’s 53-yard field goal gave the Bills a 17-3 third-quarter lead. Carpenter is 8 of 11 from 50 or more yards in two seasons with the Bills.

10. Hair tackle. Nigel Bradham had a game-high eight tackles and now is tied for eighth in the AFC in tackles with 78. He showed the kind of hard-hitting force he has played with all season by bringing down Jets back Chris Ivory by his long dreadlocks flowing out of the back of his helmet. It was a 4-yard loss. The NFL considers hair an extension of the uniform. There is no penalty for grabbing it to make a tackle.

email: mgaughan@buffnews.com

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