After the New York Jets and most of the AFC East went zero for the preseason, many Jets fans were wondering how things would fare in week one versus the division rival Buffalo Bills. The Jets jumped out to an early 21-0 lead after scores on offense and special teams, and would eventually hold off the Bills 48-28, scoring the most points in team history for an opening game of any season.
On the very first play from scrimmage, Tim Tebow was a tight end in the slot next to Austin Howard. Mark Sanchez connected early with Stephen Hill for a first down on a third down and six play. Sanchez also targeted Jeff Cumberland early for a first down on a gain of 11 yards. Unfortunately, Sanchez tried a short shovel pass to Cumberland that went off his shoulder pads and was intercepted by Scott of the Bills. Several plays later the Jets would return the favor when Darrelle Revis jumped the route on Stevie Johnson and picked Ryan Fitzpatrick. Sanchez continued his hot throwing when he connected with Jeremy Kerley for a first down on 21 yard pass play. Sanchez would still not have his timing down with Santonio Holmes as he overthrew Tone on a would-have-been sure touchdown pass. Sanchez connected again with Kerley for the Jets first touchdown to open the scoring 7-0. On the next Bills offensive series Fitzpatrick was intercepted again, this time by Kyle Wilson.
Mark Sanchez connected with yet another target, his favorite from last season, Dustin Keller, then finally find Holmes for a first down. Sanchez then threw a beautiful 33-yard touchdown toss on a pump fake to Stephen Hill for the rookie's first NFL score, putting the Jets up 14-0. The Bills were forced to punt when the Jets stopped then one yard short on a third and 13 yard play. Jeremy Kerley returned the punt 68 yards for yet another touchdown to extend the lead to 21-0. Fred Jackson would be hurt and not return after a tackle by LaRon Landry. Quinton Coples brought down C.J. Spiller for a loss on the next play, but Spiller would exact revenge by splitting between Bart Scott and Landry who collided while trying to tackle Spiller, and C.J. took it the end zone for Buffalo's first score. Sanchez would have better timing with Holmes on a screen pass for 17 yards and along the sideline for another 17 yards on next series. Kerley was just short of a first down, on a bad mark by referees, so Nick Folk connected from 25 yards to put the Jets up 24-7. Spiller caught a pass from Fitzpatrick, but Landry stripped him of the ball, Yeremiah Bell picked it up and advanced it. Sanchez found Bilal Powell for 16 yards to help set up another Folk field goal, of 39 yards to end the first half scoring 27-7.
Antonio Cromartie gave the Jets a defensive touchdown when he intercepted Ryan Fitzpatrick and ran it back 40 yards for the score to put the Jets up 34-7. On the Jets next offensive series they started out with a flea-flicker to Stephen Hill that netted 28 yards, and eventually Hill would score the touchdown when he caught a pass from Sanchez along the sideline and stretched the ball over the pylon. The Bills would be set up for their next score when Spiller ran for 51 yards with a block by his quarterback Fitzpatrick that put them in first and goal. Fitzpatrick targeted his tight end Scott Chandler for the touchdown to cut the lead to 41-14.
New punter Robert Malone finally got in the game in the final period with a 55-yard punt that was downed by Isaiah Trufant inside the five yard line. Both Cromartie and Revis were injured during the fourth quarter with Cromartie returning after one play, but Revis being held out the rest of the game after accidentally being dinged in the head by Bart Scott after Revis tripped up C.J. Spiller. Quinton Coples kept a Buffalo drive going after a slight rookie mistake by taking down Fitzpatrick high along the head and neck. Eventually the Bills would score when Fitzpatrick hits Donald Jones for the touchdown after he beat Ellis Lankster, who replaced Revis. Buffalo tried an onside kick that Tim Tebow recovered. Shonn Greene finished off the subsequent drive on a short field with a one yard touchdown run.
The New York Jets will look to go into Pittsburgh next Sunday to take on the 0-1 Steelers after their loss to Peyton Manning and the Broncos in Denver. Hopefully those players who sat out – Eric Smith and Sione Po'uha – can return to contribute, but Kenrick Ellis played well and the line didn't appear to miss a beat.
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