Bills smack lame Jets in meaningless finale
By John Kryk, QMI Agency
|Buffalo Bills linebacker Bryan Scott (43) celebrates a touchdown with full safety Jairus Byrd (31) in the first quarter of their NFL football game against the New York Jets in Orchard Park, New York December 30, 2012. (REUTERS/Doug Benz)
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - In a dismal game that meant a whole lotta nothing, and probably featured more swan songs than a Led Zeppelin LP auction, the Buffalo Bills defeated the New York Jets 28-9 Sunday.
In front of 54,543 shivering souls and some 20,000 empty seats at Ralph Wilson Stadium, the Bills defeated their AFC East rivals for the first time since October 2009.
As for the swan songs "¦
It probably was the last game in a Bills uniform for quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has stunk the past season and a half. The club is likely to release him in the off-season, to avoid paying him the final five years of the $59-million contract the club gave him last year.
It was probably the last game for Bills head coach Chan Gailey, who has stunk for all three years of his regime. (His three-year record of 16-32, .333, is worse than his four predecessors, who were all fired.)
Even if Gailey is retained, it was probably the last game for his defensive coordinator, Dave Wannstedt.
It was probably the last game for Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez as starter. He was mostly awful again Sunday, throwing a pick-six to give Buffalo its first lead of the game.
It was undoubtedly the last game for terrible Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, and might even have been the last for head coach Rex Ryan.
Finally, it most certainly was the last game in a Jets uniform for backup quarterback Tim Tebow, whose ballyhooed one-year stint in the Big Apple ended as ineffectually and unimpressively as possible.
Tebow was in for one play Sunday; he handed off from the wildcat formation for a two-yard gain.
The Bills thus end the season with a 6-10 record, which ties their best record since 2009. Pop the champagne early!
The Jets joined them at 6-10 -- the second straight year that Ryan's charges have missed the playoffs.
The Bills led 14-9 at halftime and again after three quarters, then iced the victory with two touchdown drives in the fourth quarter.
The Jets took the opening kickoff and marched 47 yards, all on the ground, to the Bills' 29, gashing the Buffalo defence right up the gut. Two Sanchez incompletions stopped the advance, and Nick Folk kicked a 47-yard field goal to put New York up 3-0.
The Bills took a 7-3 lead on Sanchez's fourth pass of the day -- a horrible throw.
On a third-and-five, he was trying to hit Jeremy Kerley on a simple slant to the left. But Sanchez didn't see Bills linebacker Bryan Scott drop into that lane, and Scott intercepted at the 20 and jogged into the end zone for an easy pick-six, with 3:34 left in the opening quarter.
The Jets responded by marching 61 yards, mostly on the ground again, and settled for another Folk field goal, this from 23 yards early in the second quarter. Buffalo's placekick-blocking specialist, tackle Alex Carrington, got a fingertip on Folk's kick, partially blocking it, but the ball sputtered sideways and barely over the crossbar, hitting the bend in the post protruding out of the ground.
Buffalo still led, 7-6, with 10:49 remaining in the half.
After a Bills three-and-out, the Jets marched 68 yards in 10 plays for another Folk field goal, to take a brief 9-7 lead. Every Jets drive bogged down because the team has no effective pass game to speak of.
The key play on that Jets drive was a third-and-16 pass from Sanchez to Kerley on a jailbreak screen, and he dashed 40 yards to the Bills' 31.
But three plays later, the Bills took the lead back. On a third-and-10, Spiller lined up wide left in a five-wide, no-back set, and Fitzpatrick hit him on a short come-across. Spiller made a couple of jukes, burst into the open, and using his fantastic speed was gone 66 yards for a touchdown.
Lindell's conversion gave Buffalo a 14-9 lead with 3:21 left in the half. The Bills never trailed again.
It looked like a disastrous start to the second half for the Bills. Spiller fumbled the first play from scrimmage, and the Jets set up at the Buffalo 15.
But three plays gained four yards. Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus then blocked Folk's 30-yard field goal attempt to keep Buffalo's lead at 14-9.
As the game further devolved into more hard-to-watch miscues, Lindell missed a pair of field goals late in the third quarter - from 50 and 46 yards - as neither team was able to score in the stanza.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Bills marched 80 yards in seven plays to take a 21-9 lead.
Fitzpatrick hit Stevie Johnson perfectly down the right sideline for 37 yards - one of the few accurate deep balls the quarterback has thrown all season. Six plays later from the New York 4, the Bills' wildcat quarterback - Brad Smith, who until 2010 held that role under Rex Ryan on the Jets - burst up the gut for the back-breaking score.
In garbage time, backup Bills running back Tashard Choice burst 13 yards for a touchdown with 1:10 left, capping a 10-play, 47-yard drive.
All that's left for both the Bills and Jets to do now is await the official fates of the doomed.