The Buffalo Bills played their backups for nearly the entire game, losing to the New York Jets 13-6 in the regular season finale. While Buffalo fought valiantly through a rain-soaked afternoon, they ultimately were unable to overcome the Jets’ starting lineup.
The Bills trailed 3-0 at the half, with Sam Ficken going 1-for-3 on field goals in the first half. Josh Allen played for two drives, and Frank Gore was the offensive leader. In the second half, the Bills’ offense sputtered, with Matt Barkley committing two turnovers and fumbling a few snaps from Ike Boettger to keep the Bills from capitalizing.
Sam Darnold played the whole way for the Jets, completing 23-of-36 passes for 199 yards. He threw a touchdown pass to Jamison Crowder (8 catches, 66 yards) early in the fourth quarter to give the team a 10-3 lead. That’s how the score would stay until the 2:05 mark of the fourth quarter, when Ficken made his second field goal of the game, this one from 47 yards, to make it 13-3.
The Bills had one last solid drive in them, as Matt Barkley led the team 67 yards in eight plays. That drive ended with a Stephen Hauschka field goal, his second 29-yard conversion of the day, to make the score 13-6. After Buffalo was unable to recover an onside kick, the Jets knelt to melt the clock away.
Barkley was 18-of-35 on the day for 232 yards with the two interceptions. Buffalo’s leading rusher was Isaiah McKenzie, who carried twice for 30 yards. He also spent time at cornerback late in the game (more on that later). Duke Williams led the Bills in receiving, catching six passes for 108 yards. He was targeted 12 times. Also impressive as a receiver was tight end Tommy Sweeney. He had five catches on five targets for a total of 76 yards.
The Bills will play the Houston Texans next week in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, as the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Los Angeles Chargers. They will receive a first-round bye, since the Miami Dolphins defeated the New England Patriots.
The Bills wanted to leave today’s game in good health, and they were unable to do that. Here is a list of players who left the game at some point due to injury:
- Levi Wallace (ankle) couldn’t put any weight on his leg after making an interception in the first half. He was carted to the locker room.
- Ty Nsekhe (foot) returned to action this week, but he was injured on a running play when his own teammate rolled up on him. He did not return to the game, and he was carted from the sideline to the locker room.
- Taron Johnson (foot/ankle) left the game late in the fourth quarter after it appeared that someone stepped on him while making a tackle. His injury led to McKenzie playing corner, with Siran Neal as the other outside corner. Kevin Johnson was healthy, but he was not playing towards the end of the game. Taron Johnson returned for the final snap.
- Speaking of Neal, he left briefly with what appeared to be a stinger. He was able to return.
- Cody Ford was injured at one point, as well. He was pointing to a muscle in his shoulder/neck area while walking off the field with trainers. He returned to the bench with his helmet on, and he did return to play.
- It’s not injury related, but the team gave veteran linebacker Lorenzo Alexander a send-off in the first quarter, as head coach Sean McDermott called a timeout to allow the crowd a chance to acknowledge the three-time Walter Payton Man of the Year Award nominee