The New York Jets did their absolute best to gift-wrap a win for the Buffalo Bills. Instead, they improved to 2-1 on the season, while the Bills struggled mightily on both sides of the ball in a 27-20 defeat.
New York lost the turnover battle, giving up two to Buffalo's zero. They committed an obscene 20 penalties for 168 yards, including an appalling six on an early fourth-quarter Bills touchdown drive that, coupled with a two-point conversion, tied the game at 20 with less than 11 minutes to play.
It took the Jets roughly a minute to regain control after that, however, with Geno Smith hitting Santonio Holmes for a 69-yard touchdown pass to give the Jets their decisive score and the 27-20 lead they'd ultimately end up with. That throw was Smith's third touchdown of the game, and one of several massive gains the Jets had in the direction of beleaguered Bills cornerback Justin Rogers (playing as the top cornerback with Leodis McKelvin sidelined by a hamstring injury).
The Jets' self-inflicted wounds masked what was otherwise a completely and utterly dominant performance on their part. Smith threw two interceptions, sure - the Bills were only able to muster six points off of those turnovers - but also completed 16-of-29 throws for 331 yards. Bilal Powell had a career day, rushing for 149 yards on 27 carries. Holmes and Stephen Hill both eclipsed 100 receiving yards, largely while lined up across from Rogers.
Rex Ryan had a field day defending Nate Hackett's offense and rookie quarterback EJ Manuel, as well. Sacked just once in his first two pro starts, Manuel was brought down a whopping eight times by Jets defenders and was often resorted to running for his life (40 yards on six carries). He did throw the aforementioned touchdown pass to Scott Chandler and a two-point conversion to Stevie Johnson to tie the game in the fourth quarter, but was otherwise miserable in completing 19-of-41 passes for 243 yards. It's worth pointing out that the Bills had no run game to speak of; C.J. Spiller accumulated nine yards on 10 carries before leaving early with a knee injury, and Fred Jackson didn't have many opportunities to pick up the slack once the Bills began playing catch-up.