Buffalo’s defense allowed Ryan Fitzpatrick to throw for 370 yards and Matt Forte to rush for a hundred, Tyrod Taylor again struggled to find a rhythm, Sammy Watkins spent most of the night sidelined with pain, and despite being the beneficiaries of some huge plays, the Bills failed to overcome the New York Jets in prime time on Thursday night.
The Bills defense got out to a rip-roaring start, nearly forcing two turnovers on the first Jets drive, but couldn’t get out of its own way, extending the drive on third down conversions and penalties until the Jets were in field goal range.
The Bills responded right away on offense, however, with Tyrod Taylor uncorking an 84-yard bomb to Marquise Goodwin on their third play. Unfortunately, that was the only success they saw in the first half, as they spun their wheels with lousy passing and untimely penalties.
Meanwhile, the Jets continued to nickel and dime their way down the field against a gassed defense. Jerry Hughes was limited late in the first quarter after severely biting his tongue, and the Jets took advantage with 17 unanswered points. After Buffalo finally found some life in the final two minutes, they went into the half down 20-10.
The Bills finally woke up in the second half. Taylor was flushed from the pocket, but bought time and found Greg Salas for a 71 yard touchdown on a busted coverage. On New York’s next drive, Jalin Marshall fumbled a pass, which was picked up by Nickell Robey-Coleman and brought back for another touchdown. Suddenly, the Bills led 24-20.
Both teams traded possessions for a while, and the Jets struck next with another slow-and-steady drive that ended in a Matt Forte goalline touchdown. On the next Bills drive, Tyrod Taylor stepped right into a three-defender sandwich, and got taken out to undergo the concussion protocol. Taylor passed the protocol and came back into the game, but he threw an interception down the sideline, and the Jets drove back down the field for a field goal.
LeSean McCoy broke open a big run on the next drive, but it stalled again outside field goal range, and another attempt to use the “Manuel and Short” package fizzled; the Bills turned the ball over on downs. The Jets did what they’d done all night, moving to the end zone and scoring their 17th unanswered point (for the second such set of scores in the game).
The Bills only had three and a half minutes to make up a 13 point deficit. As was often the case last year, they dallied between plays, and with a minute and a half remaining in the game, they entered the red zone for the first time. Taylor passed to Mike Gillislee for a touchdown, but the onside kick attempt failed.
The Bills were able to get the ball back with 18 seconds left, but their last gasp went nowhere, and that’s all she wrote.