Rex Ryan put his best foot forward on Thursday night, his Buffalo Bills eeking out a win over the New York Jets team he coached the past six years. The 22-17 win by the Bills give the Jets their third loss in their last four games but it might be the most difficult one of the season to swallow.
The Jets now fall to 5-4 this year and are 1-1 in primetime.
It all started off so promising as the Jets went up 3-0 in the first quarter via a Randy Bullock 29-yard field goal, but then saw three turnovers and 22 unanswered points stake the Bills to a 22-3 lead early in the third quarter.
Brandon Marshall, who didn't register his first catch until the third quarter, got the Jets back into the game with a 14-yard reception midway through the third quarter to cut it to a 22-10 Bills lead. But the Jets failed to capitalize on their next possession, a fourth-and-2 on the Bills 20-yard line not getting the Jets a fresh set of downs.
Then a nine-play, 69-yard drive midway through the fourth quarter saw the Jets inch back into the game, an Eric Decker 31-yard touchdown pass making the Bills lead just 22-17.
The Jets had a golden chance to go ahead when they forced the Bills to punt on their next possession and then took over on the Bills 13-yard line on a bad snap. But the Jets failed to convert on fourth down for the second time this game, costing them a chance at points.
Ivory Gets Rolling – After three straight games of subpar running including the last two games where he averaged 1.1 yards per carry, Ivory finally got rolling. Ivory started off slowly and had a third quarter fumble but bounced back nicely to finish with 99 yards rushing. He had 84 yards rushing combined in the last three games.
The Turnover Game – A second quarter interception toss by Ryan Fitzpatrick followed by a Devin Smith fumble on a kickoff return killed the Jets in the first half. Then Chris Ivory fumbled on the Jets first possession of the second half, yet another turnover in a game that quickly spiraled out of reach for the home team. Then two failed fourth down conversions in the second half were another blow to an offense that ran either hot or cold all game long.
Fitzpatrick's Mystifying Night – This was the best of times and the worst of times for quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick as the wet conditions and his injured thumb surely creating some issues during a tough first half. He was victimized by dropped balls from Brandon Marshall, Jeremy Kerley and Eric Decker but bounced back in the second half with two big touchdown passes. But the less said about his two interceptions, including the one late in the fourth quarter with the game, the better. The Jets are 0-2 this year when Fitzpatrick throws multiple interceptions.