TORONTO - Perry Fewell swears his team wasn’t outmuscled … but with all due respect he would be wrong.
For the second game this season, the New York Jets ran roughshod over the Buffalo Bills … but this time they didn’t turn the ball over six times.
In fact, they didn’t give it away even once and the result was a 19-13 victory on Thursday night at the Rogers Centre.
The Jets, still alive in the playoff race at 6-6, pounded Buffalo (4-8) for 249 yards on 43 carries, an average of nearly six per snap.
It wasn’t quite the 318 yards on 40 carries (nearly eight a pop) New York generated - second-most in franchise history - in that shocking 16-13 overtime loss to the Bills in mid-October, but it was plenty enough.
New York’s feature back Thomas Jones went for 109 yards on 23 carries with a long of 29. Four other Jets had runs of at least 13 yards.
“THEY WERE able to regroup (after being hit) and get five or six or more yards on their runs,” said frustrated defensive end Ryan Denney.
To which middle linebacker Paul Posluszny added, “We’re not happy with that. We didn’t get off the field on third downs (when) we had them in (difficult) situations.”
And fellow linebacker Bryan Scott added, “We pride ourselves on trying to stop the run (but) we just kind of gave it up tonight whether it was guys missing their gaps, flowing too fast, over-pursuing or poor tackling”
If you doubt that Buffalo’s defense was overrun, consider that the Jets had 11 carries of at least 11 yards … in short, this stampede wasn’t merely a couple of big plays.
Afterward, Fewell, in his third game as interim coach in place of the fired Dick Jauron, maintained, “They had a really good scheme.
“They did some things differently than they did the first time and we didn’t tackle well in the first half … we tackled poorly.”
Still he denied his team was beaten physically.
But he did admit, “Their scheme inside looked like they were trying to trap us and they really weren’t. They were pushing us out of the hole, getting some creases and taking advantage of that.”
With apologies to Fewell, some would call that being outmuscled.
Fact is, this game wasn’t as close as the score.
IN THE FIRST half, Jets’ quarterback Mark Sanchez missed an embarrassingly open Jerricho Cotchery in the end zone and later, former Brown Braylon Edwards flat dropped what could have been an 84-yard touchdown pass.
Still, Fewell said, “We should’ve been ahead at halftime (instead of down 16-10). We didn’t execute and gave up seven points right before (intermission).”
That was the Jets’ only TD, a 13-yard connection with Edwards from Sanchez after a review overturned a call that he was tackled short of the goalline.
The rest of New York’s offense was four Jay Feely field goals (38, 49, 31 and 37 yards).
But the story of the game was New York’s rushing attack that produced an over-10 minute edge in time of possession, most of it in the second half when the Bills mustered a puny 36 yards total offense.
After intermission they ran a mere 23 plays and were a galling 0-for-5 on third downs.
AND THAT’S the other half of it.
Buffalo’s offense was lousy too.
The Bills were outgained 331-194 in yardage and a pathetic 1-for-11 on third downs.
Their lone touchdown came on a rare Marshawn Lynch sighting as he had a season-best 35-yard run in the first half, then cashed the drive with a 15-yard TD dash on the next snap.
Wide receiver Terrell Owens, the featured Bill in this second regular-season Toronto game, said, “We just didn’t establish any more drives like (Lynch’s scoring possession).
“There were some opportunities and we just didn’t convert plus a lot of third-down situations … that’s how drives are sustained.”
Field goals of 49 and 32 yards by Rian Lindell completed Buffalo’s scoring.
“They have a good defensive scheme,” Fewell said of the Jets. “They brought a lot of pressure on our offensive line (and) we didn’t handle the pressure very good.
“And our third-down conversion was not good today … we only converted 1-of-11 and when you don’t convert on third down you’re going to have a tough night and we had a tough night offensively.”
Then he reverted to a bit of Jauron.
“I thought the guys played hard,” he said, sounding like his predecessor. “We had some momentum going into the football game and we had a chance to win in the fourth quarter … we just didn’t get it done.”
AND THE Bills didn’t get it done on either side of the ball.
“We came in feeling good about our chances,” Owens maintained. “(But) it’s been our Achilles heel, getting into those third-down situations and not converting.
“(Still) we had a chance there at the end … we just didn’t make it happen.”