ORCHARD PARK, NY – The Safety Jordan Poyer and Buffalo Bills have persevered through an eventful season to position themselves to win their second straight AFC East title.
Not the gusts of wind, the many doubts they picked up, and especially not the exhausted injury, the New York Jets were going to prevent them from completing the job of clinching the Buffalo Premier League title at home since 1995 on a blustery Sunday. .
Devin Singletary unleashed a blazing attack scoring twice in the 8:21 final, the defense limited the Jets to 53 yards of total attack, and Cam Lewis even blocked a punt in a 27- win. 10.
“We bounced back from tough losses and losses where everyone counted us,” Poyer said. “Everyone said our defense couldn’t do this, couldn’t do that. The offense couldn’t do this and couldn’t do that. But no one panicked and no one read that. Everyone came to work every day and just worked. “
Essentially ending their season with a four-game winning streak to tie their 4-0 streak in Weeks 2-5, the Bills (11-6) enter the playoffs as the third seed in the conference and will host their divisional rival New England in a wild card playoff Saturday night. This will be their third meeting in seven weeks and after the teams parted ways from the regular season series, each winning on the road.
While their opponent wasn’t decided until the Las Vegas Raiders defeated the Los Angeles Chargers 35-32 in overtime, quarterback Josh Allen was already looking forward to whatever team he was on. Buffalo was confronted. Making their third straight playoff appearance, the Bills have unfinished business a year after their deepest playoff run in 27 years ended in a loss to Kansas City in the Conference Championship game.
“No one at the end of their career looks back and really knows how many times you’ve won your division. I think the main goal is the Super Bowl,” Allen said. “It’s great, it’s okay, the hats and shirts are cool. But in the end, we still have a lot of work to do.”
The Buffalo defense led the way by setting a franchise record by limiting New York to generating four first downs and sacking rookie Zach Wilson nine times, the most Buffalo has seen since getting 10 in a 23-0 victory over Washington on October 20, 2011.
The outcome, however, was not decided until the last quarter of an afternoon in which gusts of wind of up to 30mph wreaked havoc on passing and kicking games.
In a game the Bills never lagged behind, Singletary opened things up by scoring in back-to-back practices 4:28 apart.
Singletary gave the Bills a 20-10 lead by scoring on a 1-yard rush to top a 51-yard drive in seven games with 8:21 remaining. He followed that up by capturing a 5-yard TD pass.
The Jets (4-13), under first-time head coach Robert Saleh, ended their sixth consecutive losing season – and the fifth with five or fewer wins by extending their record-breaking playoff drought deductible corresponding to the 11th consecutive year. It is also the longest active streak in the NFL.
Credit the Jets for not running for the bus by being knocked out of the playoffs a long time ago. While their offense faltered, the Jets’ defense held Buffalo to 13 points and forced five three-and-outs in three quarters.
“I’m not at all disheartened, just because of this performance of our offense. I think our offense did a lot of good things. Obviously I just ran into a bit of a saw with this Buffalo defense,” Saleh said, noting that two of New York’s wins came against division champions in Tennessee and Cincinnati.
“Although the four-game winning season is not good enough, it’s very encouraging to start next year, and I think there is something we can build on,” he added.
As the Bills celebrated with fans after the final whistle, security officials took down the goalposts in the west end, while keeping the goalposts on the other side of the pitch.
Allen was 24 of 45 for 239 yards and two touchdowns, including a 10-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs in Buffalo’s game opener.
Both Jets scores are due to errors by the Bills special team.
Keelan Cole reduced Buffalo’s lead to 10-7 on a 40-yard touchdown after Buffalo’s Matt Haack punted 21 yards into the wind. Eddy Pineiro then hit a basket from 49 yards after Haack had a snap that almost disappeared, and the punter managed to get a piece of the ball to advance him just 7 yards.
With the exception of TD’s clearance, the Bills’ defense was locked.
“We’ll defend a blade of grass,” said defensive tackle Harrison Phillips. “Put the ball on the 1-yard line and we’re looking forward and excited to get out there, chomping on the brakes to get onto the field.”
The Jets’ offense was worn out by injuries to missing receivers Elijah Moore (quadriceps), Corey Davis (core) and Braxton Berrios (quadriceps), then lost Jamison Crowder in the second quarter to a calf injury.
Wilson finished 7 of 20 for 87 yards. The second pick in the draft has finished the season without an interception throw in his last five games.
FINALLY, A BREAK
Haack’s 42-yard punt in the middle of the second quarter was his first kick for 40 yards with 10 minutes remaining in a 31-14 win over Carolina on Dec. 19.
The Bills played the next two games without attempting a punt, and were able to become the first NFL team since at least 1945 to play three straight games without attempting a punt. Haack’s next two punts, after three consecutive and-outs, covered 21 and 23 yards in gusty 20-30 mph.
Jets: Season ended.
Bills: Host the Patriots for just the second time in the playoffs. The then Patriots defeated Buffalo 26-8 in an American Football League divisional playoff on December 28, 1963.