Bills Ground Jets, 37-14
Geno Smith had little trouble describing his four-turnover outing against the Buffalo Bills.
“Just bad,” the New York Jets’ rookie quarterback said. “The way I can sum up this game for myself is: awful. I know that I can play better.
“I know that this isn’t who I am or what I want to be.”
Smith had the worst game of his NFL career, going 8 of 23 for 103 yards with three interceptions and a fumble lost as Buffalo drubbed the Jets 37-14.
The Bills (4-7) scored 17 points off Smith’s turnovers, and Buffalo’s defense helped snap a three-game losing streak. Smith struggled all day, yanked in favor of Matt Simms after three quarters.
Jets coach Rex Ryan refused to blame only Smith, pointing to the four sacks allowed by New York’s (5-5) offensive line.
“I don’t think it’s fair to just place it on him,” Ryan said. “With that protection, you could’ve had Joe Namath back there and I don’t think it would’ve mattered today.”
Smith has 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 Bills also didn’t take too kindly upon hearing the Jets spent part of Saturday at Dave & Busters, a chain restaurant and entertainment venue in suburban Buffalo.
“Me personally, I feel they’re disrespectful in the first place, so it didn’t shock me,” Bills defensive end Mario Williams said.
Ryan defended the decision, saying it wasn’t meant to be disrespectful.
“I don’t know why that’s added motivation. We do different things when we’re on the road,” Ryan said. “We went out as a team, so that’s what we did.”
Buffalo’s rookie quarterback fared much better coming off a poor Week Ten performance in Pittsburgh.
EJ Manuel went 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).
Starting with Manuel’s 34-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Graham with 4:13 to go in the second quarter, 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 Jets, 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.
Ryan-led Jets teams are now 1-4 coming off the bye week.
“We’ve tried everything,” Ryan said of bye week planning. “There’s some coaches that give them the entire time off. We were kind of in between this one. Our team was fresh. We thought we were prepared. We just didn’t execute. Simple as that.”
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 two interceptions to Jairus Byrd. Both came on passes over the middle, with Byrd having to hardly move in picking them off.
Smith refused to use the wind as an excuse.
“We were throwing the ball and they were as well, so it wasn’t really a major factor,” he said. “I couldn’t hit anything today. I just wasn’t hitting my mark.”
Buffalo was after Smith right away, forcing him to the sideline for one play after Marcell Dareus drilled him in the midsection on the Jets opening possession.
Dareus’ linemate Kyle Williams was among the Bills to get to Smith, recording two sacks and forcing a fumble that Manny Lawson recovered at the Jets 4.
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 setting up several vending tents inside and outside the stadium gates.
New York’s 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.
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