Despite setting the franchise record for penalties in a single game with 20 flags for 168 yards, the New York Jets survived the Buffalo Bills furious fourth quarter comeback. Leading 20-6 with just under 10:00 minutes remaining in the third quarter, it appeared as if the Jets were well on their way to an easy breezy victory in Week 3. After a pair of Dan Carpenter field goals trimmed New York’s lead to just eight points, things began to unravel for Rex Ryan’s defensive unit. Cornerback Kyle Wilson was flagged for five penalties alone, while on the offensive side left guard Vladimir Ducasse committed four infractions of his own.
The Bills would eventually tie the game at 20 when E.J. Manuel slung a pass to tight end Scott Chandler for a 33-yard touchdown pass. Buffalo was successful on the two-point conversion as wideout Stevie Johnson found a seam in the Jets’ secondary. Gang Green’s mental errors and miscues resurrected a left-for-dead Bills’ offense and turned a would-be blowout into a nail biter.
On the second play of New York’s ensuing drive, Geno Smith hurled a throw deep down the right sideline for Santonio Holmes who corralled the ball and scampered for a 69-yard touchdown. Holmes set a career-high in receiving yards with 154 on the day and Smith torched Buffalo’s secondary to the tune of 331 passing yards and two touchdowns. The Jets’ rookie quarterback had a couple blemishes on Sunday as he tossed two ill-advised second half picks that halted potential scoring drives and reinvigorated an otherwise listless Bills’ squad.
Holmes was not the only Jet with a career day, running back Bilal Powell eclipsed the 100 yard rushing plateau for the first time in his three year career amassing 149 yards on 27 bruising carries. Aside from a heap of boneheaded penalties, New York was clicking on all cylinders and its pass-rush was in full force on Sunday. For the first time since December of 1988, Gang Green totaled eight sacks as the defensive line pressured and flustered Manuel in the pocket. The Jets had an astonishing 16 quarterback hits and 12 tackles for a loss as they wreaked havoc on Buffalo’s offensive backfield.
Gang Green escaped with a sloppy, yet critical divisional win and improved to 2-0 at home on the early season.
New York travels to Tennessee next Sunday to take on the 2-1 Titans and aim to capture its first road win in the Music City since 2008.