Mark Brunell is living proof that 40 is the new 20 as the eighteen year NFL veteran tossed two touchdowns and earned a 86.8 quarterback rating. Brunell directed a Gang Green passing game that served second fiddle to a punishing ground and pound attack. Playing in relief of starter Mark Sanchez, quarterbacks Mark Brunell and Kellen Clemens combined to go 7 of 14 for 116 yards, two passing touchdowns, one rushing touchdown and one interception. The passing game was efficient and solid, but the running game stole the show.
Move out of the way LaDanian Tomlinson; take a seat Shonn Greene, rookie tailback Joe McKnight has arrived. The first year back out of USC tallied 158 rushing yards on 32 carries along with a 25 yard punt return to boot. Buffalo’s worst ranked rush defense lived up to the billing, as they had no answers for Gang Green’s ground and pound game which hung up 276 rushing yards on Sunday. Even fullback John Conner aka the “Terminator” joined the parade as his 16 yard touchdown rumble in the fourth quarter put the finishing touches on the Jets 38-7 romping of Buffalo.
Prior to Sunday the Jets ranked last in the NFL in interceptions; with the defense hauling in only eight picks through 15 games. Gang Green victimized Buffalo’s sophomore quarterback Brian Brohm limiting him to a laughable 17.9 quarterback rating. Marquis Cole snatched a pair of interceptions, the first of which he returned 37 yards for a touchdown. Safety Dwight Lowery and Calvin Pace chipped in with one interception apiece; ravaging a downtrodden Bills passing attack.
Buffalo’s run game was non-existent as tailback Fred Jackson was denied his second consecutive 1000 yard season needing 102 yards to reach that plateau. Jackson carried 13 times for 35 yards with a long scamper of six yards on the afternoon. Rookie sensation C.J. Spiller was equally unimpressive taking three carries for five yards as the Jets bottled up Buffalo’s run game.
Placekicker Nick Folk made good on his only field goal attempt on the day of 28 yards, while punter Steve Weatherford dropped four of his six punts inside the 20 yard-line. The Jets were superb in kick return coverage limiting Buffalo to a 17.6 average on six returns. C.J. Spiller, a first year running back/returner out of Clemson, and special teams extraordinaire, took a pair of punt returns for 22 yards each. Overall, a fantastic job by the special teams of dominating the field position battle.
Head Coach Rex Ryan elected to rest most of his starters, allowing Mark Sanchez to play only the first possession of the game, a drive during which he did not attempt a pass. The guys in headsets utilized Brad Smith as a dynamic Wildcat quarterback as his opening drive run of 40 yards sparked the Jets rushing game. New York earned a dominating victory while they were able to keep key players on both sides of the ball fresh; kudos to Gang Green’s coaching staff.