Orchard Park, NY - Ladainian Tomlinson heard all the whispers coming into this season. Even Jets' fans were angry that perrenial good-guy, and team-leader Thomas Jones was jettisoned for the ex-Charger dubbed "washed up" at age 31.
"Somebody forgot to tell him that he's whatever age he is. The guy is playing great. I thought he was a terrific player last year and we were fortunate to get him.", Jets' head coach Rex Ryan said today in his post-game presser.
The future hall-of-famer rushed for 133 yards, adding two ground touchdowns. He was also active in the passing game, catching three Mark Sanchez passes for 22 yards. Two of Tomlinson's three catches went for first downs.
Tomlinson opened the scoring with a one-yard touchdown on the game's opening drive. The drive set the tone for the day as the Jets stormed out to a 7 - 0 lead. On the drive, Tomlinson carried it five it times establishing the run game for the day.
The Bills had won the opening coin-toss and opted to defer to the second half; a bad choice in retrospect. After a Bills' fumble of a short kickoff designed to keep the ball away from the dangerous CJ. Spiller, the Jets appeared poised to build on their lead.
However, Nick Folk, who has been a solid replacement for Jay Feely this season, had his first hiccup when he missed a 30-yard chip-shot. At that moment, Jets' fans had to be thinking, here we go again with the Bills. Jets' fans have grown accustomed to close games with Buffalo no matter what the two-teams' records are.
However, the Jets put the bad play behind them and continued to ride their defense and rushing attack to hold the Bills down. The Bills started the game with four straight punts, and the Jets produced two scoring drives to build the lead to 17 - 0.
A drive of 18 plays, that mostly featured Tomlinson and Greene, culminated in a 19-yard field goal for Nick Folk. With Buffalo consumed with the run, Sanchez hit Braylon Edwards on a beautiful double-move for a 41-yard touchdown that built the 17 - 0 lead.
Just before the half, the Bills showed their first life of the day with a sustained drive that saw Ryan Fitzpatrick his TE David Martin for a 4-yard touchdown; Martin's only catch of the day.
The Bills had the ball coming out of halftime with an opportunity to get the game back to one score. However, they managed just one first down, getting to around midfield, and were forced to punt. The Jets took the ball and marched from their own 14-yard line down to the Bills 3 yard-line. With 3rd and Goal, and the spectre of another short field-goal attempt, the Jets resorted to some trickery to put some distance between themselves and the Buffalo Bills.
In the wildcat formation, Brad Smith took the snap, and rolled out to hit Dustin Keller for a three-yard touchdown in the back of the Bills' end-zone.
Later in the corner, Sanchez hit Keller again off play-action for Keller's second TD of the day, putting the Jets up 31-7 and the rout was on.
Tomlinson added a 26-yard touchdown, his second of the day, looking like the game-breaking player he was for San Diego a few short years ago.
The third quarter was the Jets' most dominating performance of the season. They outscored Buffalo 21 - 0; holding the Bills to just one first-down. They also turned the Bills over once when Bryan Thomas knocked the ball loose from Marshawn Lynch.
Going into the game, the Jets had to be worried about the Bills rushing attack led by Lynch and rookie C.J. Spiller. As it turned out, Fitzpatrick was the Bills' best runner, gaining 74 yards on the day.
The win moves the Jets to 3-1, runs the win streak to three and puts the Jets squarely atop the AFC East with a perfect 3 - 0 divisional record. They will get to sit back, get the popcorn ready, and watch a perfect Monday Night game between Miami and New England; a game guaranteed to produce a loss for one of these two challengers to the Jets.