Just like everyone expected, the Buffalo Bills - starting their fourth quarterback of the year in Matt Barkley - are putting together their best offensive performance of the season against the New York Jets. Their defense is equally effective, smothering the Jets with a scoreless result. It’s 31-3 at halftime.
The first quarter was all Buffalo, from start to finish. On the first play from scrimmage, Matt Barkley hooked up with Robert Foster for a 48 yard completion. The next play, LeSean McCoy ran in a 28 yard touchdown, his first score of the season.
The Bills forced three three-and-outs by the Jets, with the front seven consistently blowing up run plays and bringing pressure to disrupt the passing schedule. On their third drive, Buffalo extended the drive with a fake punt. Logan Thomas took the snap and threw the ball to Foster for a 16 yard gain. Barkley found Zay Jones in the red zone for a completion, and Jones tried diving for the goalline. A scrum of Jets forced Jones to fumble, but Jason Croom showed great awareness diving on the ball in the end zone, giving Buffalo their second score of the day. By the end of the first quarter, the Bills led the Jets 14-0, with 186 yards of offense - to New York’s single yard.
The Bills started the second quarter with the ball, but on a fourth-and-one play LeSean McCoy made an illegal shift to wipe out his conversion. The team settled for a field goal to take a 17-0 lead. After the Jets’ fourth three-and-out, the boo birds started flying in the Meadowlands. Announcer Jay Feely remarked on the attitude difference between the two sidelines at that point.
The difference continued when Buffalo took over on offense. Jones continued finding holes in the Jets defense, and the tag team of McCoy and Marcus Murphy dragged the Bills into the red zone yet again. Then it was time for another trick play. Left tackle Dion Dawkins, declared an eligible receiver, faked a block and leaked into the end zone, where Matt Barkley connected with him for the first touchdown pass of the afternoon.
The Jets finally managed their first first down of the day, converting a 3rd and 16 with an 18-yard screen play. They weren’t able to capitalize on that success, though - a Bills blitz forced Josh McCown into a desperation heave, which Matt Milano intercepted and brought back to midfield.
Buffalo ran the ball seven times for 54 yards on their final drive of the half, needing no passes to score one more time. LeSean McCoy appeared to score earlier in the drive, but was ruled down at essentially the six inch line. He punched it in for real two plays later.
The Jets scored a consolation three at the end of the half, navigating soft coverage with three timeouts to convert a 55 yard field goal.
The Bills, taking advantage of a bad team, some injuries, and their aggressive decisions, would need a dramatic reversal to lose this one - they’re up 28 points, and the Jets have lost 14 straight while losing at halftime. As you watch the second half, feel free to comment below!