The New York Jets beat the Buffalo Bills, 37-31, on Thursday Night Football by dominating time of possession and limiting the Bills to a few big plays.
The Jets set the tone with their first possession, which took over eight minutes off the clock. The 15-play, 65-yard drive resulted in just a field goal, but it kept the ball out of Tyrod Taylor’s hands for more than half of the first quarter.
New York controlled the clock throughout the game, in part because the Bills’ entire offensive attack seemed to consist of a few big plays. The Bills scored on two deep touchdown passes, an 82-yard throw to Marquise Goodwin and a 71-yard pass to Greg Salas. If you remove those plays, the Bills had just 154 passing yards on 29 attempts.
The bigger issue for Buffalo was how little time those two plays took off the clock. The drive that resulted in Goodwin’s touchdown took just 1:25, and Salas’ score took less than a minute. New York had the ball for 39:12 in this game, which didn’t give the Bills much time to work with.
Buffalo scored 17 unanswered points beginning late in the second quarter, including a fumble returned for a touchdown. Buffalo established a 24-20 lead, but the Jets answered with 17 unanswered points of their own. Two Matt Forte rushing touchdowns and a Nick Folk field goal let New York take a 37-24 lead.
The Bills were inconsistent throughout, and though they had a late-game rally to narrow the Jets’ lead to 37-31, New York’s Brandon Marshall recovered the onside kick. Buffalo’s defense forced a three-and-out, giving the Bills the ball and 10 seconds to try to make something happen. Taylor did fire off a deep ball to Goodwin, but he didn’t get out of bounds and time expired.
The Jets seemed to get off to a slow start, but New York’s methodical approach and consistency won the game for them.