FIRST QUARTER: Red-zone relief
The Buffalo Bills ended some lengthy offensive droughts on their first possession Monday night against the New York Jets inside Ford Field.
When quarterback Kyle Orton connected on a 7-yard touchdown pass with receiver Robert Woods, it ended a streak of 21 straight possessions without reaching the end zone. It was also the Bills’ first touchdown in the red zone in nine quarters – dating to their last game against New York in Week Eight.
Woods made a pair of catches for 23 yards on the opening drive.
Second guess: Percy Harvin is explosive with the ball in his hands, but the Jets receiver/kick returner made a bad decision to bring out the opening kickoff from 7 yards deep in the end zone. Harvin made it only to the New York 14-yard line, putting his offense in a hole to start the game. The Jets went three and out on their first possession.
Missed opportunity: The Bills held the Jets to a field goal in the red zone, but could have kept them scoreless. Cornerback Corey Graham dropped an easy interception on third and goal.
SECOND QUARTER: Living large
Mario Williams didn’t need his red contacts to terrorize the Jets. His did that on his own with his play inside Ford Field.
Williams had two sacks and three quarterback hits in the first half, including a highlight-reel hit on Michael Vick in the second quarter. To borrow a phrase from Sabres broadcasting legend Rick Jeanneret, Williams “rag dolled” Vick to the ground.
On the next play, Jets right tackle Breno Giacomini took a false start. Williams was in his head.
Finally on fourth and 1: Credit to Bills coach Doug Marrone. Facing fourth and 1 from the New York Jets’ 45-yard line, he went for it. Of course, running back Anthony Dixon was stopped for no gain and the Bills turned the ball over, but still! The Bills’ defense held the Jets without points on the ensuing drive.
Perfect celebration: The Bills went 2 for 2 in the red zone, with Scott Chandler catching a 19-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Orton with 43 seconds left in the second quarter. After the score, Chandler feigned shoveling some snow – a tribute to the last week in Western New York.
THIRD QUARTER: Block party
The Bills got it done in all three phases Monday night. Running back Anthony Dixon blocked a punt in the third quarter against the Jets, and defensive end Manny Lawson recovered for a touchdown as the Bills turned it into a blowout.
The blocked punt and touchdown recovery is the first for the Bills since Dec. 19, 2004, against Cincinnati, when Jason Peters blocked and recovered it for a score.
Lawson’s touchdown followed a 53-yard field goal by Dan Carpenter on the Bills’ opening drive of the second half.
To the bench: The Jets finally put Michael Vick out of his misery. The New York quarterback was pulled from the lineup in favor of Geno Smith after throwing an interception to Bills safety Duke Williams.
He returned it to the New York 16-yard line, and two plays later Fred Jackson was in the end zone.
Second guess: Bills coach Doug Marrone lost a challenge in the third quarter, unsuccessfully trying to reverse a 34-yard completion to Eric Decker. Marrone is 3 of 5 on challenges this season.
FOURTH QUARTER: Reserve clause
The Bills were in empty-the-bench mode in the fourth quarter.
Led by quarterback EJ Manuel, the Bills’ backups got a chance to play in the blowout victory. Manuel took over for the Bills’ final drive, but didn’t throw a pass as the Bills held the 38-3 lead that would be the final score.
He handed off three times to Anthony Dixon, whose 30-yard touchdown run on the previous possession officially put the game away.
Defensively, linebacker Ty Powell got his first career sack, and rookie cornerback Ross Cockrell saw his first action on defense this season. Marcus Easley, a special teams standout, also saw his first action of the season at wide receiver.
Career night: Receiver Robert Woods finished off a career game with two more catches for 45 yards in the fourth quarter. That gave him nine catches for 118 yards – both career highs.
Fitting end: Jets quarterback Geno Smith couldn’t find an open receiver on the game’s final play. He kept looking … and looking … but instead of throwing the ball, stepped out of bounds. That gave Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes the easiest sack he’ll get this season.