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Jets-Bills: First Half

Posted by Randy Lange on November 2, 2008 – 1:31 pm

It’s the battle of the 40-yard plays as the Jets-Bills game opens up.

Leon Washington starts the game with a 40-yard kickoff return to the Jets 39. Two plays later, he takes a quick screen and darts through traffic for 40 more yards to the Bills 21. This sets up Jay Feely’s 37-yard field goal into the so far still mild Orchard Park breeze for a 3-0 Jets lead.

It’s the third consecutive game in which the Jets have scored on their opening drive, after going 0-for-5 in their first five games. It’s also the first time they’ve scored in the first quarter at Buffalo since a Doug Brien field goal in 2003. That breaks a scoreless streak of nine first-period drives up here in Western New York.

But the Bills respond in kind. Rookie Leodis McKelvin returns the hosts’ first kickoff 44 yards to the B-43. Then the first play from scrimmage is a Trent Edwards toss to a wide-open Marshawn Lynch for 42 yards to the Jets’ 15. Was Lynch David Bowens’ man. Bowens, starting at ILB for David Harris, went on a controlled blitz and there was no one else around Lynch.

That sets up Edwards’ 9-yard TD pass to another wide-open receiver, this time rookie TE Derek Fine in the end zone. Bowens arrives too late, but it’s hard to say whose guy Fine is. Kerry Rhodes blitzed on the play. Quickly in the game’s first four minutes, it’s Bills, 7-3.

The Jets shoot themselves in the foot on the next drive, second-and-1, when first Chris Baker is called for not being set at the snap on a quick first-down throw from Brett Favre to Dustin Keller, then, after a dancing Washington gain makes it third-and-1, Thomas Jones is dropped for a yard loss by DE Chris Kelsay, who comes off the Jets’ left side unblocked.

But the Jets defense strikes quickly with a brilliant Darrelle Revis blitz. Edwards is looking to his left the whole time and never senses Revis from the blindside. No. 24 slams the Buffalo QB, strips the ball and recovers the fumble at the Bills 6.

Favre can’t hold the shotgun snap from Nick Mangold but Thomas Jones recovers. Then Bills pressure — Kelsey muscling past LG Alan Faneca — forces one Favre incompletion, and coverage plus Favre not finding Laveranues Coles in the back of the end zone results in a throwaway. Feely comes in again from 26 and Buffalo‘s lead is trimmed to 7-6.

The Bills are helped down the field on their next drive by Jets mistakes. Bryan Thomas is called for unnecessary roughness, then Kris Jenkins jumps too soon and is called for encroachment. And when the Bills are called for ineligible man downfield to set up on an Edwards incompletion, head coach Eric Mangini can take fourth-and-11 from the Jets 25 and a likely 43-yard Rian Lindell field goal attempt or third-and-16.

Mangini takes third-and-16 and Edwards finds Roscoe Parrish, with Drew Coleman having fallen down in coverage, for 22 yards and first-and-goal at the 8.

But perhaps there was a method to the Jets’ madness. On third down, Jenkins, playing mad and effectively after his penalty, pressures Edwards heavily. The Buffalo QB unloads a pass — and Abram Elam is ready. The safety, starting with Eric Smith deactivated, snaps up the interception and takes off down the right side of the field and outlasts Lynch’s pursuit. It’s a 92-yard interception return TD and the Jets take a 13-7 lead on the last play of the long first quarter.

Elam’s return is the longest by a Jet in nine years and is tied for the fourth-longest INT-return TD in franchise history. Here are the six 90-yard-plus IR scores by the Jets:

 Season Player Opp. Yards
 1996 Aaron Glenn at MIA 100
 1983 Darrol Ray at CIN (PO) 98
 1999 Marcus Coleman at MIA 98
 1989 Erik McMillan vs. IND 92
 2008 Abram Elam at BUF 92
 1994 Marcus Turner at MIN 90

Second Quarter

The Bills march again down into the Jets red zone, and again they are thwarted. This time they get to third-and-1 at the 8. But Edwards can’t find a receiver and throws the ball away. Then, with Marshawn Lynch walking to the locker room presumably with an injury, Bills coach Dick Jauron decides to go for it on fourth-and-1.

Fred Jackson tries to burrow off his left side, but Kris Jenkins and company are there to meet him. He doesn’t make it and the Jets offense finally gets back on the field with 7:57 to play in the first half.

The Bills have just held the ball for 15 minutes, 8 seconds of clock time and have scored no points.

Then Jauron makes the wrong call. He challenges Favre’s third-down completion to Coles, saying the ball touched the ground. At first glance it appeared the Bills boss had a case, but replays show Coles had his hand underneath the ball the whole time, so Buffalo loses its last timeout of the first half.

Favre and the offense seems to be getting on track on this drive, and Favre is throwing high heat to move the chains. After the Coles third-down grab, he converts third-and-2 to Jerricho Cotchery, then second-and-4 to Coles, then a laser that Cotchery pulls off his hip for second-and-1, setting up Washington’s short run for the first down.

The Jets are in hurryup mode, and the officials seemingly ignore two Bills getting off the field late. So Mangini comes on the field to ask an official about throwing the red flag. He gets the answer he wants and drops the flag to call for a replay challenge. Ref Ron Winter rules that the Bills in fact didn’t get their people off the field and so the Jets make it first-and-5 at the B-25.

Then Thomas Jones, behind a punishing Damien Woody block, rips off 11 yards to the 14 to take us to the two-minute warning.

Word has just come in that Lynch left the game because he was nauseous and vomiting on the Buffalo sideline.

The Bills defense, even without Aaron Schobel, remains formidable and stiffens in its red zone. Jerricho Cotchery drops a play-action WR screen but would’ve been dropped for a loss had he caught it. Paul Posluzny swallows up Washington for a 2-yard loss. Then Cotchery is tackled for a 3-yard loss.

To top it off, Feely misses wide left from the right hashmarks from 37 yards out. So the visitors put together a scoreless 7:38 drive of their own and the teams go in at halftime with the Jets ahead, 13-7.

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Posted in Randy Lange | 14 Comments »

14 Responses to “Jets-Bills: First Half”

  1. By Anonymous on Nov 2, 2008 | Reply

    I have a question, are we an NFL or an NCAA team?

  2. By Derick on Nov 2, 2008 | Reply

    without leon, this team is nothing.

  3. By Vaughn on Nov 2, 2008 | Reply


  4. By fljetfan on Nov 2, 2008 | Reply

    wow its never easy with feely is it how do u miss that kick he ought to be gone tommorrow if it haunts us great drive and then a dagger to the heart from a kickeer with none

  5. By james on Nov 2, 2008 | Reply

    the red zone playing calling is for little league football, Mangini is a joke send the guy packing if you need the jets to be a better team. How many bad plays were called???

  6. By Frank on Nov 2, 2008 | Reply

    The Bills are the Jets!

  7. By supercooljetfan on Nov 2, 2008 | Reply


  8. By fljetfan on Nov 2, 2008 | Reply

    looks like the d will have to win this one field goals dont cut it on the road COME ON D!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  9. By mike ex jet fan on Nov 2, 2008 | Reply

    SUTTON!!!!!!!!!… COVER THE SLANTS & MIDDLE OF THE FIELD unbelievable

  10. By Dublin Jet Niall on Nov 2, 2008 | Reply

    Hi Guys, following this on the NFL gamecentre on the ol’ laptop as per usual. Was initially disappointed with our red-zone effectiveness but we’re two scores up now. The D seems to be playing some excellent stuff-is that the case? This would be a MASSIVE win if we get it, we could really kick-on from here. Go JETS!

  11. By mike ex jet fan on Nov 2, 2008 | Reply

    Adam Schein wear That # 4 jersey well all year long this 1 was for you .. Can’t wait to see him squirm Ray lucus going to have a field day with him lol..

  12. By Row on Nov 2, 2008 | Reply

    Abram Elam proves why he should have started every game this season. He is much quicker to the ball then Smith..

  13. By terry funk on Nov 3, 2008 | Reply

    Some one said, stop Favre and bring in another Quarterback, being a Green Bay Packer fan, count your blessing, you have allready won five games and I believe last year the Jets one four all season. Last year the Packers only lost
    three games in regular games and now we lost four games. We would take Brett Bavre back any time. Enjoy this player and you are now seeing History in the making.

  14. By Brian Campbell on Nov 5, 2008 | Reply

    Who ever made the comment stop Farve and bring in another quarterback needs their head read, Brett is the reason the Jets are one up on last seasons wins

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