Bills defense harasses Jets’ Smith in big win
AP Sports Writer
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Kyle Williams-led Bills defense and gusting winds in Buffalo combined to be too much for the New York Jets and rookie quarterback Geno Smith.
Williams had two sacks and forced a fumble, and Jairus Byrd had two interceptions as the Bills turned four turnovers by Smith into 17 points in a 37-14 win Sunday.
Starting with EJ Manuel’s 34-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Graham, Buffalo scored 17 points over a span of 2:50 to build a 20-0 lead with 65 seconds left in the first half. Safety Da’Norris Searcy put the game away with 1:14 left in the third quarter when he returned an interception 32 yards to make it 34-7. Marquise Goodwin also scored on a 43-yard catch for Buffalo.
The Bills (4-7) snapped a three-game skid and enter their bye week by winning for only the second time in seven games.
The Jets (5-5), coming off their bye, continued their string of inconsistent outings in having failed to yet win or lose consecutive games this season. They became the NFL’s first team to alternate wins and losses through the first 10 games of the season.
Manuel, selected 16th overall out of Florida, outdueled fellow rookie Smith, the second QB drafted in April, by going 20 of 28 for 245 yards passing and two scores. And he did so with Buffalo playing minus both starting receivers: Stevie Johnson (groin) and Robert Woods (sprained left ankle).
Smith, a second-round pick out West Virginia, finished 8 of 23 for 103 yards before being yanked in favor of Matt Simms after three quarters. He’s now gone a combined 36 of 72 for 377 yards passing, with no touchdowns and five interceptions in his past three games.
Smith has particularly struggled on the road, where he dropped to 1-4 and thrown four touchdown passes and nine interceptions. Overall, he has eight touchdowns, 16 interceptions and has lost four fumbles.
The blustery conditions didn’t help, with the game played on an overcast day with wind gusts approaching 30 mph.
Then again, Smith didn’t help himself with his interceptions to Byrd. Both came on passes over the middle, with Byrd having to hardly move in picking them off.
Smith’s day did not get off to a good start. He spent one play on the sideline before returning after being drilled in the midsection by Williams on the Jets opening possession.
Smith’s day ended with 13 minutes left, and Simms took over. Simms marched the Jets on a six-play, 62-yard drive, capped by a 13-yard pass to Jeff Cumberland with 9:36 left.
The Jets other score came on Chris Ivory’s 1-yard plunge on fourth down midway through the third quarter.
The Bills took control in the final minutes of the first half.
Manuel’s touchdown pass to Graham put the Bills ahead 10-0 with 4:05 left.
On the second play of the Jets’ next possession, Williams broke in around the right side and knocked the ball out of Smith’s hand. Manny Lawson recovered the fumble and, Summers scored two plays later.
Smith forced another turnover two plays into the Jets next possession, when he forced a pass over the middle intended for Cumberland. Byrd intercepted that one, which set up Dan Carpenter’s 42-yard field goal.
The Jets’ offense sputtered. It managed just 57 yards and three first downs in the first half. New York endured a stretch of five consecutive possessions in which it combined for 4 yards, no first downs and committed two turnovers on 13 plays.
The conditions were so tough that a tear-away portion of the football-field sized American Flag came undone during the national anthem. The Bills also elected against erecting several vending tents inside and outside the stadium gates.
Jets kicker Nick Folk missed his first field-goal attempt of the season after a 48-yarder sailed wide right in the swirling winds inside the stadium. Folk’s streak ended at 23 straight, one short of matching the franchise record set by Jay Feely from 2008-09. Folk’s last miss was a 30-yard attempt that was blocked in the Jets’ season finale at Buffalo last year.
Among those in attendance was New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who played a big role last year in negotiating the Bills’ 10-year lease agreement to stay at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
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