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Big Plays And Special Teams Kill Bills 27-14
Penalties and fumbles lose game for the Bills.
by Steve Saslow
Sept. 17, 2000

Jeremy McDanielThe one unit that hasn't played well over the first few weeks of the season has been the special teams, and that unit along with one big play and many penalties were too much to overcome as the Jets beat the Bills 27-14 at the Meadowlands.

After forcing the Jets to punt on their first possession the Bills drove 80 yards to a three yard touchdown pass from Rob Johnson to Eric Moulds to give the Bills a quick 7-0 lead. Johnson actually ran it in a few plays earlier but it was called back due to a penalty to Marcus Spriggs. Jay Riemersma dominated the drive with three big catches before leaving the game with what appears to be a fairly serious knee injury. The injury and the penalty was an omen of bad things to come as penalties and the absence of their best tight end would haunt the Bills throughout the game. The Bills would also lose Corey Moore and John Holecek to ankle and knee injuries.

The special teams would also haunt the Bills as the ensuing kickoff was returned 93 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 7. We have known since training camp that the coverage units would cost the team and it did right there. The Jets grabbed the lead when Curtis Martin ran it in on a 4th and 1 from 5 yards out early in the second quarter to go ahead 14-7.

The Jets drove down to the Bills 35 late in the second quarter before three straight incompletions forced a punt. The Bills took over at their own 7 and three plays later Johnson took advantage of a breakdown in coverage to hit a wide open Jeremy McDaniel for a 74 yard touchdown to tie the game at 14. The Jets would then get the big play right back as they converted a 3rd and 6 for a first down to setup a hail mary pass from the Buffalo 45. The Jets sent high jumping defensive back Marcus Coleman to the end zone where he out jumped five Bills defenders for the back breaking touchdown, giving the Jets the 21-14 halftime lead.

That play definitely hurt the Bills, as they were snake bit the whole second half. Whenever they would get something going something would happen to hurt them. The Bills took the second half kickoff and drove down the field only to have Steve Christie slip and kick a 41 yard field goal attempt low that was deflected and fell short. The Jets responded with a drive of their own that ended with a 51 yard field goal midway through the third quarter. That gave them a commanding 24-14 lead.

This is where the Bills started to make some big mistakes that cost them a chance at getting back into the game. Sam Cowart, who played another monster game, picked off a pass to set the Bills up near the end of the third quarter. On the second play of the fourth quarter Johnson found Peerless Price for the first time down to the Jets 14 but he fumbled the ball away ending a crucial opportunity to score.

That was the first of three fourth quarter fumbles. The next three possessions for the Jets they missed a field goal and punted twice. Both punts were fumbled away by Chris Watson ending any hope of a Bills comeback. A late field goal by John Hall gave us the final of 27-14.

Statistically the Bills outplayed the Jets on the road, which is a good sign. The problem is they gave up a big play at the end of the half, played horrific special teams, and committed too many penalties. You can't overcome that combination and win on the road against a good team.

  • Sam Cowart - He was all over the field again, leading the team as usual with 15 tackles. He also intercepted a pass.
  • Rob Johnson - He was definitely playing hurt, as his knee and elbow were hurting him. He wasn't killed as badly as he was the first two weeks and made some nice play calls. The loss wasn't his fault.

  • Goats
  • Chris Watson - Two fumbled punt returns and a 7 yard average per return, why did they trade for him?
  • Coverage Units - When you give up a kick return for a touchdown on the road you will probably lose.
  • Antowain Smith - His game is lost. Where was Jonathan Linton?

  • Player Of The Week
  • Sam Cowart - He is a pro bowler now. He was in on 23 tackles and had an interception. He was all over the field.

  • Positional Breakdown and Grades Gamebook - Complete stats including play by play (requires Acrobat Reader)
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