The BUZZ in New York
The game had all the makings of a blowout by the Jets, on paper at least.
The 0-3 Buffalo Bills came into today’s game in Orchard Park last in offense and defense, and starting a backup quarterback.
The only problem was, somebody forgot to tell the Bills they should lose, as they defeated the Jets 17-14 for their first win of the season.
Trent Edwards engineered the Bills’ offense like a seasoned veteran, which will certainly ignite a quarterback controversy in Buffalo.
Edwards was 22-28 for 234 yards and a touchdown and Michael Lynch rushed for 79 yards and a touchdown to lead the Bills to their first win of the season.
For New York, Chad Pennington had a stellar day up until his game-ending interception as the Jets were driving to get into field goal range. Pennington was 32-39 for 290 yards and a touchdown but had two critical interceptions, the first giving the Bills the ball on their own 25-yard line. Six plays later, on 4th and goal, Edwards threw to a wide-open Michael Gaines to put the Bills up 17-7.
The Jets came back to score, bringing them within a field goal. The Jets then stood strong on defense and forced the Bills to punt, giving Pennington and the offense one more chance to score. Pennington had the Jets driving toward field goal range when his pass was picked-off to end the game.
During his post-game press conference, Pennington had this to say about the interception to end the game:
“I was trying to throw it away. The ball came out a little bit weird.”
With three defenders all within pickoff range, throwing the ball away was the smart thing to do. However, as some coaches say, that ball should end up in the first row of the bleachers and not even be close to being intercepted.
Some odds and ends……..
The Jets had nine penalties for 65 yards, which will certainly be a concern for Eric Mangini, who prides himself in coaching a disciplined team.
The defense looked sharp in the first half, holding the Bills scoreless. Victor Hobson and Shaun Ellis both had sacks and Hobson also had a fumble recovery.
Justin McCareins scooted back deeper into Mangini’s doghouse after an illegal motion penalty in one of his few appearances on the field. He was only thrown to once, on the last pass by Pennington that got intercepted. My guess is he wasn’t the first option. Look for Brad Smith to see more and more time in McCareins’ usual spots as the season goes on.
Mike Nugent missed a 37-yard field goal at the end of the first half. Chad Pennington used the Dan Marino fake-spike play to get the Jets within his range. His kick clanked off the right upright and proved to be a costly mistake as the Jets ended up losing by a field goal.
Pennington spread the ball around evenly, completing passes to 7 different players. Jericho Cotchery led all receivers with 8 catches for 106 yards. Laveranues Coles also had 8 catches and a touchdown.
Darrell Revis was tested often and struggled early. He did come up big on the critical third down play on the Bills’ last possession, knocking the ball out of Josh Reed‘s hands, to get the Jets the ball back for one last drive.
The Jets seemed to be most effective running their hurry-up offense. Their two best drives were executed with time running out and keeping the Bills on their heels on defense. Maybe they should pretend there are only 2 minutes left everytime they get the ball.
The Jets return home for their away game against the Giants next week. Both teams could be 1-3, depending on the outcome of tonight’s Eagles game. If so, the game will basically be a must-win game for both teams. Pretty sad for the 5th game of the season.
Mangini can’t be happy with the position the Jets are in now. Nobody expected them to start the season 4-0, but neither did we expect them to be 1-3.
Jon Buzby is a nationally-syndicated columnist who can be reached through his website at www.jonbuzby.com.
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