Jets utterly destroy Bills
|New York Jets' Jeremy Kerley (right) is chased by Buffalo Bills punter Brian Moorman as he runs a punt return in for a touchdown during second quarter NFL action in East Rutherford, N.J., on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012. (Ray Stubblebine/Reuters)
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - On the bright side for the Buffalo Bills?
Fifteen more games even half as putrid as Sunday's, and they'll be able to draft USC quarterback Matt Barkley first overall next April.
The New York Jets utterly destroyed the supposedly revitalized Buffalo Bills, 48-28, in the NFL opener for both teams at MetLife Stadium.
It was far worse than the final score indicated. The Jets blew ahead 41-7 in the third quarter, and coasted after that.
They didn't even need much from Tim Tebow.
The Jets were in control practically from the opening kickoff. They led 21-0 before 18 minutes had elapsed, on two touchdown passes from a sharp Mark Sanchez, and a 68-yard punt-return score from Jeremy Kerley.
Jets wideout Stephen Hill caught two TD passes in his NFL debut, and five catches overall for 89 yards.
From the Jets' standpoint, the blowout victory was redemption of sorts for all the off-season criticisms their media circus wrought. That their starting offence -- which couldn't even reach the end zone in the pre-season -- was anemic.
It was outstanding against the sad defence the Bills threw out there.
The Jets didn't have to reveal much of their new offensive packages with the celebrated Tebow at the helm. He was a non-factor.
By our count, he appeared in eight offensive plays, all in the first three quarters -- the first play of the game as a decoy slot receiver, the rest as quarterback in the pistol or shotgun.
Of the latter seven plays, Tebow handed off on end-arounds three times, and kept on zone-reads four times for just 10 yards.
He did not attempt a pass. He didn't need to.
Sanchez was stellar. There is no quarterback controversy here, period.
The fourth-year QB made the Bills' secondary look silly, completing 20 of 28 passes for 266 yards, three TDs and one interception off a tip.
And Sanchez had all day to throw. That vaunted new Bills pass rush? Non-existent. The Jets' offensive line was a wall.
Of all the disastrously bad performances by the Bills in the first three quarters, the worst was by the new (and improved?) defensive line.
The Bills registered zero sacks -- and had no impact whatsoever in disrupting Sanchez's rhythm. This despite signing two supposed pass-rush tigers, $100-million man Mario Williams and $19.5-million man Mark Anderson.
They were busts in Game 1.
The Bills' new starting cornerbacks, rookie Stephon Gilmore and second-year man Aaron Williams, were torched by Sanchez and the Jets receiving corps -- Hill, Kerley and Santonio Holmes.
Similarly, on offence the Bills' performance was far worse than the score indicates -- with the exception of running back C.J. Spiller, who gained 169 yards on 14 carries.
Ryan Fitzpatrick was terrible. He threw three ugly interceptions, including a pick-six on his first throw of the second half that sealed the deal, giving the Jets a 34-7 lead.
Fitz didn't get much help.
Wide receiver Stevie Johnson had three short insignificant catches before fourth-quarter garbage time.
Running back Fred Jackson gained only 15 yards before he left early with a banged-up knee.
Offence, defence and special teams were a disaster in the first half, which ended with New York up 27-7. The Bills had two interceptions, a fumble, allowed two touchdown and two field-goal drives, didn't force a Jets punt, didn't sack Sanchez, and Jackson hurt his left knee, after twisting that leg on a hard hit from the left.
Williams didn't even have a tackle in the first half, let alone a sack.