Five minutes into the third quarter, the Jets had built a 41-7 lead on Buffalo. Ryan Fitzpatrick had thrown three interceptions. C.J. Spiller - one of only a handful of players to actually perform well in the game - fumbled to set up a Jets score. Mark Sanchez had thrown three touchdown passes and shredded Buffalo's expensive new defense. Jeremy Kerly returned a punt for a touchdown.
It was bad before considering that key players (Fred Jackson, Erik Pears, David Nelson) left the field due to injury. Three garbage time scores - Fitzpatrick tosses to Scott Chandler, Donald Jones and Stevie Johnson - do nothing to gloss over the fact that the Bills were completely dominated by the Jets for a fifth straight time under Chan Gailey.
Sanchez was terrific, working against a non-existent Bills pass rush to complete 19-of-27 passes for 266 yards with three scores (as well as a pick on the Jets' opening drive that Buffalo turned right back over). He picked apart Buffalo's secondary with ease, taking advantage of pump fakes against the Bills' young cornerbacks for long plays down the field all afternoon.
Kerley's 68-yard punt return touchdown made the score 21-0 in favor of the Jets in the second quarter, but the Bills were able to respond when Spiller ripped off a 56-yard touchdown run to make it 21-7. Spiller looked excellent running the ball in place of the injured Jackson, averaging 12.1 yards per carry on his 14 totes.
By the time halftime rolled around, however, the Jets had padded their lead to 20 points after another Bills turnover and two Nick Folk field goals. Fitzpatrick threw a pick-six into the gut of Antonio Cromartie on the opening drive of the third quarter, and Sanchez hit Stephen Hill on the Jets' next possession to extend the lead to 34 points. From that point forward, they were on cruise control.
Fitzpatrick, as he has done in the past, was able to coordinate some scoring drives against a relaxed defense. He finished the game 18-of-32 for 195 yards with three touchdowns and three picks. Clearly, questions about whether or not he could limit mistakes for a team with playoff aspirations were well-founded, and remain that way.
Mario Williams and Buffalo's new-look defensive line played the run relatively well for most of the afternoon, but Williams was handled by right tackle Austin Howard all day. Sanchez was not sacked.
Just about everything that could have gone wrong for Buffalo did this afternoon. The good news: they're only 0-1. The better news: they get a chance to man up and retaliate next week against the Kansas City Chiefs. But clearly, this team has a lot to fix, and it starts with limiting turnovers and playing much better defense.