Week 17 Game Recap: Buffalo Bills 26, New York Jets 30
What you need to know
The Bills entered the game looking for their second consecutive road win. They hadnít had seven road losses since 1986, but the Jets condemned them to that fate.
Kelly Holcomb again started at quarterback and he had a bad start. After leading the team to a field goal on the Billsí opening drive, Holcomb threw an interception on the next series. He threw another pick two drives later and it was returned for a touchdown, and a tipped pass on the following drive gave Ty Law his second interception of the game. Holcomb did find Eric Moulds for a 22 yard touchdown reception before the half, and he improved in the second half and threw another touchdown pass to Roscoe Parrish. With the game on the line in the final minute, Holcomb threw his fourth pick of the day to end the game.
Eric Moulds was targeted 13 times in the game and ended with 96 yards and a touchdown. Roscoe Parrish was the only other receiver to have more than three catches, and he ended the day with four catches for 23 yards and a three yard touchdown.
Willis McGahee looked a lot better than in recent games and was able to register his first 100 yard performance in eight games, but he failed to find the end zone.
The Bills held the ball for almost 34 minutes and gained 21 first downs, but the defense was unable to generate any turnovers and four interceptions from Holcomb ultimately cost the Bills the game. Terrence McGee had a number of big kick returns, giving the Bills a short field on a few occasions.
After losing nine of their last ten games, the Jets managed an unlikely victory and more than doubled their average points per game in this contest.
Brooks Bollinger had a quiet day, throwing for 153 yards and no touchdowns. Over half that yardage came on two big completions of over 40 yards to Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery. Coles was the only receiver to catch more than two passes for the Jets, finishing with four receptions for 79 yards.
Cedric Houston saw 16 carries, gaining 55 yards and a touchdown, but he also missed a few plays due to injuries.
The Jetsí defense and special teams was the difference in the game. CB Ty Law had three interceptions to end with a career high ten picks for the season. LB Mark Brown also had an interception and returned it for a 33 yard touchdown. After the Bills took the lead with six minutes remaining in the game, Justin Miller returned the ensuing kick off for a 95 yard touchdown and the Bills were unable to respond.
What you ought to know
|QB Kelly Holcomb, Pass: 23 - 37 - 184 - 2 TD / 4 INT, Rush: 4 - 7 - 0|
Holcomb started for the Bills even though J.P. Losman was available. Holcomb led the team to a field goal on their opening drive, but threw the first of four interceptions on the day on their second drive. The Bills switched to the no huddle on the following drive and again had to settle for a field goal, but Holcomb looked more at ease and was able to find Eric Moulds for a 21 yard gain on the drive. Holcomb threw a low pass to Daimon Shelton on the Billsí fourth possession and Shelton scooped the ball into the hands of Mark Brown and it was returned for a 33 yard touchdown. Holcomb targeted Moulds in the end zone on the following drive and the ball hit him in the hands as it dropped over his shoulder, but the play would have been negated anyway due to a penalty. Holcomb threw an interception to Ty Law on the same drive after the pass was tipped. The Bills moved to within four points at half time when Holcomb led a good drive that ended in a 22 yard touchdown pass to Eric Moulds. Holcomb targeted Moulds 13 times on the day, more than twice as many times as any other receiver. Holcomb led the Bills to a touchdown scoring drive on their second possession of the second half. Roscoe Parrish was the scorer, when Holcomb threw a risky pass into double coverage and Parrish was able to come up with the catch. Holcomb also ran for three first downs in short yardage situations but his overall performance was shaky and the four interceptions cost the Bills the game. He also dropped a snap on one occasion and had to scramble to throw the ball away.
McGahee looked a lot better than in recent games, and managed to gain over 100 yards for the first time in eight games. He ran hard and looked to have a good burst on several runs. McGahee had a 19 yard reception to convert on third and six, enabling the Bills to keep alive the drive that led to their opening touchdown. Jonathan Vilma uncharacteristically missed a tackle on the play. McGahee brought up his 100 yards with a 17 yard run late in the game and ended the day with 113 yards. McGahee was open on the Billsí first drive and would likely have scored had Holcomb spotted him and thrown the pass, but Holcomb didnít notice the opportunity.
Williams had three carries when spelling McGahee, but ended with zero yardage. He caught one pass for a five yard gain and a first down.
Shelton caught two of his three targets. One converted a third down and the other went for a one yard gain before he was tackled at the Jetsí three yard line. He tried to catch a low pass on his only other target, but scooped the ball into the hands of the Jetsí Mark Brown and it was returned 33 yards for a touchdown.
Moulds had a big day and was Holcombís favorite target in the game. He had a 21 yard reception for a first down on the Billsí third possession and was later hit in the hands by the ball in the end zone when trying to make a catch over his shoulder, but the play would have been negated by a penalty in any case. Holcomb looked for Moulds on the following drive and found him in the end zone for a 22 yard touchdown reception. Moulds had two catches for first downs on the Billsí other touchdown drive and was a threat all day ending with 96 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions.
Parrish dropped a catch that would have given the Bills a first down late in the first half. He broke a tackle on the opening drive of the second half and broke away for a 15 yard gain and a first down. On the following drive, he made a tough catch between two defenders in the end zone to give the Bills the lead. He ended the day with four receptions for 23 yards and a three yard touchdown.
|WR Lee Evans, Rush: 1 - 39 - 0, Rec: 2 - 17 - 0 (6 targets)|
Evans started the game with the Billsí biggest gain from scrimmage when he turned a reverse into a 39 yard play. He was targeted in the end zone on the same drive but the ball was tipped and the pass fell incomplete. Evans was the intended target when Holcomb threw his first interception of the day. Evans only caught two passes on the day for a total of 17 yards, but both were for first downs.
Reed caught his first target for a five yard gain and a first down, but was not targeted again until the closing moments of the game when Ty Law came up with the interception to seal a win for the Jets.
Campbell was targeted five times and caught three passes for a total of ten yards. He was targeted once near the end zone but the ball was overthrown.
Lindell was perfect in the game, hitting field goals from 21, 24, 52 and 36 yards and converting both extra point tries.
The Bills managed to hold the Jets to 81 net rushing yards. Their one bad play came when they allowed Cedric Houston to score easily on a three yard run, but it was a good overall performance for the Bills in an area where they have struggled all season.
Bollinger only attempted 20 passes in the entire game. The Bills created good pressure, sacking Bollinger on four occasions (Sam Adams two, Rashad Baker and Jeff Posey) but were unable to create any turnovers. Bollinger connected with Coles for a 43 yard completion and with Cotchery for 45 yards. Other than those two plays, the Jets gained just 65 yards through the air.
Bollinger had a quiet day and was not very successful in general, but his statistics were padded by two big completions. A good kick return gave the Jets a short field on their fourth possession and Bollinger found Laveranues Coles with a 43 yard pass which gave the Jets a first and goal at the three yard line. That play set up the Jetsí only offensive touchdown of the day. Bollinger kept another drive alive by scrambling on third and nine to get within inches of a first down, and then converted on fourth down with a quarterback sneak. He followed by connecting with Jerricho Cotchery for a 45 yard gain, hitting the receiver in stride. He was hit hard on one play and was seen rotating his arms on the sidelines, but he did not miss any playing time. Aside from the two big plays, Bollinger was restricted to short gains. He ended the day with 153 passing yards.
Houston was held to short gains for the most part and his longest run was just ten yards. He fumbled on the opening drive and lost the ball, but a challenge ruled that he was down before the ball came out. Houston was hit hard early on in the game and was sent to the sidelines with dizziness, but he was back in on the following drive to score easily from three yards out. He was hit hard early in the second half as well, and his right knee was examined on the sidelines. He quickly returned from that scare and was back in for the next drive. He had 55 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.
Blaylock was used to spell Houston from time to time. He carried four times for a total of 14 yards.
Sowell was used sparingly, catching one pass for seven yards from three targets.
Coles was Bollingerís favorite target on the day and saw eight passes thrown in his direction. He had his longest completion of the season when Bollinger threw a long pass that turned into a 43 yard gain before Coles was forced out at the three yard line. Coles was targeted at the Billsí one yard line in the second half but dropped an easy catch. Bollinger overthrew him in the end zone on the following play and the ball hit the goal post. Coles made two good catches on the Jetsí second possession of the second half. The first was a leaping 14 yard reception on the sidelines that he did well to keep in bounds, and he followed up with a 19 yard gain on third and seven to set up a field goal. Coles was the Jetsí leading receiver with 79 yards on four receptions from his eight targets.
McCareins was not used very much in the game, catching two of his four targets for a total of 11 yards.
Cotchery was only targeted once, but it ended up being the Jetsí longest play from scrimmage all day. Bollinger hit him in stride on third and eight and Cotchery made a 45 yard reception which was a career-long.
Jolley dropped an easy pass and caught his only other target for a loss of a yard.
Dreessen was only targeted once, making the catch for a six yard gain.
Nugent made a career-long 49 yard field goal on the Jetsí third possession before missing from 43 yards on his next attempt. He later converted from 25 yards and 34 yards as well as making all three extra point attempts.
The Jets did not do well against the run, allowing 159 net rushing yards and nine first down conversions on the ground. They were deceived early by a Lee Evans reverse which went for 39 yards, and Willis McGahee was able to go over 100 yards for the first time in eight games. The defense gave up several plays of ten yards or more.
The pass defense did well for most of the game. Ty Law had three interceptions to take his total to ten for the season which was a career high. Mark Brown returned another interception for 33 yards and a touchdown, and the pass defense ended up being the deciding factor in the game. Bryan Thomas and John Abraham each had a sack, the latter coming near the end of the game as the Bills tried to convert on fourth and ten. Law was a force when on the field but he did miss time after his head hit the ground on one play.