Jets rout Bills to quiet doubts about offense
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One touchdown after another, the Jets eased all those concerns about their offense.
With a whole lot of Mark Sanchez, a sprinkling of Tim Tebow, and a dominant first-half effort by the defense, New York manhandled the Buffalo Bills, routing their AFC East rivals, 48-28, Sunday in East Rutherford, N.J.
Rex Ryan passed on a chance to say, ‘‘We told you so’’ to all of his team’s critics and doubters. So did Sanchez, and Tebow, too.
‘‘Vindication, chip on our shoulder, maybe that’s not the right things,’’ Ryan said. ‘‘We were just excited to play.’’
And they looked it.
Sanchez threw three touchdown passes, including two to rookie Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley had a touchdown catch and a punt return for a score, and Antonio Cromartie took one of New York’s three interceptions of Ryan Fitzpatrick to the end zone.
‘‘It’s a great win, there’s no doubt about it,’’ Sanchez said. ‘‘But we've got lots of work to do.’’
That’s from a team that had many wondering what to expect after the first-team offense failed to score a touchdown in the first three games of the preseason.
‘‘It looked like we were making up for lost time there,’’ said Sanchez, who was 19 of 27 for 266 yards.
There were plenty of touchdowns in this one for the Jets, who set the franchise mark for most points in a season opener on Shonn Greene’s late 1-yard scoring run.
The game marked the highly anticipated debut of Tebow, who worked in the Wildcat a little bit and also recovered a late onside kick by Buffalo.
Not everything went right for the Jets, though, as they allowed 195 yards rushing, including a career-high 169 by C.J. Spiller, and All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis left in the fourth quarter with a head injury. It doesn’t appear Revis suffered a concussion.
Lions 27, Rams 23
Following a three-interception first half Matthew Stafford found his rhythm to finish with 355 yards passing, and fired a 5-yard touchdown strike to Kevin Smith with 10 seconds left to lift Detroit to a home win over St. Louis.
The Rams scored 13 points off Stafford’s turnovers, including Cortland Finnegan’s 31-yard return for a touchdown that gave St. Louis a 13-7 lead late in the first half. But Stafford led a winning drive that covered 80 yards in nine plays and included three passes of at least 18 yards.
Sam Bradford directed a fourth-quarter drive that led to Greg Zuerlein’s 46-yard field goal that put the Rams ahead, 23-20, with 1:55 left.
Bears 41, Colts 21
Host Chicago racked up its most points since Oct. 4, 2009 behind the reunited combo of Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall. Cutler threw for 333 yards and two touchdowns, Marshall added 119 yards receiving with a TD, and the Bears intercepted prized Indianapolis rookie Andrew Luck three times.
The backfield also played a key role for a Bears offense that put up 287 of its 428 total yards before halftime. Matt Forte ran for 80 yards and a touchdown and had 40 yards receiving, and newcomer Michael Bush added two TD runs.
Luck in some ways played like the No. 1 overall pick, finishing 23 of 45 for 309 yards. He threw his first TD pass early in the fourth quarter. But overall it was an up-and-down start for Peyton Manning’s replacement, who also lost a fumble and was sacked three times.
Falcons 40, Chiefs 24
Matt Ryan fired three touchdown passes and ran for another, keying a dynamic second-half scoring outburst for Atlanta at Arrowhead Stadium. With Kansas City’s defense missing four starters because of injuries or suspension, Ryan threw for 299 yards and found Julio Jones (108 yards receiving) for two scores. His other TD pass went to longtime Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez.
The Chiefs matched Atlanta most of the first half, trailing, 20-17, at the break, but a missed field goal by Ryan Succop early in the third quarter proved to be the turning point. Atlanta scored the next 20 points to put the game away.
Matt Cassel threw for 258 yards and had touchdowns running and throwing, but he also fumbled deep in Kansas City territory to set up a short TD drive for Atlanta, and his two interceptions created short fields that the Falcons turned into field goals by Matt Bryant.
Vikings 26, Jaguars 23
Rookie Blair Walsh kicked four field goals, including a 55-yarder as regulation expired and another in overtime, and Adrian Peterson returned from his left knee injury and scored twice to lift Minnesota over Jacksonville in Minneapolis.
Peterson ran 17 times for 84 yards and two touchdowns for the Vikings, who led for most of the second half until Blaine Gabbert’s 39-yard touchdown pass and 2-point conversion toss with 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter gave the Jaguars a 23-20 lead.Continued...