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Tim Graham’s Report Card: Bills were ready to play, Jets were not

» Grading the Bills


Anthony Dixon broke a 30-yard touchdown. Fred Jackson had a 7-yard score. But the Bills had some trouble running on the Jets throughout the game. Dixon’s other 11 attempts gained only 24 yards. Jackson averaged 3.2 yards a carry. Bryce Brown’s clip was 3.3 yards. Dixon bemoaned the Bills’ inability to run out the clock at the end of the game.


The Jets did a nice job on Sammy Watkins, but Robert Woods set career-highs with nine catches and 118 yards with a touchdown. Kyle Orton had his best game since he detonated the Jets four weeks ago. He was 24 of 32 for 230 yards and two touchdowns for a 115.4 passer rating. Eight targets caught at least one pass.


Well into the fourth quarter, three of the Jets’ five longest gains were runs. All three of their backs had a rush of at least 13 yards. But the Bills didn’t let Michael Vick scramble. Vick ran only twice for 4 yards. But with the Bills ahead by two scores at halftime, Jets running backs Chris Ivory and Chris Johnson carried just seven times in the second half.


Mario Williams notched two sacks, recording multiple sacks in back-to-back games for the first time since 2008. Jerry Hughes also had two sacks. Nickell Robey, Kyle Williams and Ty Powell each had one. Duke Williams’ interception helped chase Vick from the game in the third quarter.


Dixon blocked his second punt of the year, and this one was recovered for a touchdown. Dixon, from left end, bull-rushed Jets safety Jaiquawn Jarrett for the block. Manny Lawson pounced on the ball. In the first quarter they allowed a 41-yard punt return, but kickoff coverage was strong. Dan Carpenter made a 53-yard field goal.


Despite all the potential distractions, Doug Marrone kept his team focused and motivated. The Bills were not flat, scoring a touchdown on their first possession. It was their first red-zone touchdown in nine quarters. The defense was ferocious, and the special teams scored a touchdown. The Bills didn’t ease off the accelerator in the second half.

» Grading the Jets


The Jets broke a few runs, but the game construct didn’t allow them to rely on this phase enough. Johnson and Ivory combined for 71 yards on 14 carries, a healthy 5.1 average. Even fullback John Conner ripped off a 13-yard run. But the Jets rushed for only 32 yards in the second half.


New York surrendered seven sacks. Vick completed nine of his 17 throws for 76 yards (34 on one play) and an interception. Geno Smith saved the Jets statistically with some garbage yards in the fourth quarter. Smith came in and completed passes for 14 yards, 17 yards, 16 yards and 28 yards once it didn’t matter anymore.


New York was respectable here for much of the game, stopping the Bills behind the line three times and stuffing Dixon on a fourth-and-1 run in the second quarter. But there were two too many letdowns. Dixon called his 30-yard run “kind of the nail in the coffin.”


The Jets were successful in taking Watkins out of the game. He had three catches for 35 yards. But rookie cornerback Marcus Williams had a tough time covering Woods. The Jets managed just six quarterback hits, with Quinton Coples and Leger Douzable splitting the lone sack. Cornerback Darrin Walls had the only two pass breakups on Orton’s 32 attempts.


Rough night for Jets punter Ryan Quigley. His 27-yard brick on the first possession helped the Bills score on their opening drive and never look back. With 7:57 left in the third quarter, the Bills recovered Quigley’s blocked punt for a devastating TD. Percy Harvin’s five kickoff returns came out to the Jets’ 14-yard line, on average.


The Jets should have had all the edges Monday night, yet they looked like quitters. They were coming off their bye plus had extra practices the Bills did not because of the snowstorm. Rex Ryan’s team looked incompetent in every facet. Watching the Jets, you were left to wonder how in the world they could beat the Steelers and stay within two points of the Patriots.


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