When the New York Jets last walked off the field in Buffalo, they had fallen to their division rival in Week 17, and had failed to clinch a berth in the 2015 NFL playoffs.
Just over eight months later, wide receiver Eric Decker walked off the field with a “woo,” and a hug with his quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. This time, when the team desperately needed to rebound, they were able to successfully do so.
In a 37-31 victory over the Bills, New York faced second-half adversity for the second time in the first two weeks of the season. However, unlike Week 1 when the Jets gave away an extraordinarily winnable game to the Cincinnati Bengals, Gang Green showed up and dominated the fourth quarter.
The Jets secondary, which had been victimized on deep passes all evening by the likes of Greg Salas and Marquise Goodwin, got the team off to a tremendous fourth quarter start. Marcus Williams intercepted an under-thrown deep ball for his second pick of the new season.
It was just the momentum boost the Jets, who were fresh off a touchdown drive that stymied a 17-0 Bills run and put Gang Green up 24-20.
After a Nick Folk field goal, it was the New York front-seven that put Gang Green in the driver’s seat.
On a 4th-and-1, Sheldon Richardson dragged running back LeSean McCoy back for no gain, and even with a favorable spot from the officials, the Bills turned the ball over on downs.
But while the defense secured the win with two crucial late-game plays, it was the offense that stole the show throughout the evening.
Led by Fitzpatrick, the Jets offense looked as good as it was at its peak last season. Fitzpatrick threw for 374 yards, both Decker and Brandon Marshall tallied over 100 yards, and Quincy Enunwa hauled in six passes, proving himself to be a quality No. 3 pass catcher.
While the aerial attack was prolific, workhorse running back Matt Forte received the benefit of the touchdowns, scoring three times on the ground in the win. It was his 69th game with at least 100 total yards since 2008, the most in the NFL.
Although the Jets’ first win in Buffalo since 2011 was an incredible morale-booster, it didn’t come without a price. While they both returned, Marshall injured his knee and Enunwa injured his ribs. James Carpenter also left the game with a calf injury and linebacker Erin Henderson exited with a foot ailment.
The Jets not only bounced back from a 17-0 Buffalo run, which put the Bills in front 20-17. But they also rebounded nicely from an abysmal Week 1 loss to the Bengals at home. As Fitzpatrick noted post-game, “1-1 is a lot better than 0-2.”
New York will take that 1-1 record on the road for the second consecutive week when it travels to face the Kansas City Chiefs, who play in Houston this Sunday.