The Buffalo Bills had one goal on Sunday: Just End Their Season.
Mission accomplished as the Bills swept the season series against the NY Jets on Sunday by a final score of 22-17. Oddly enough, this was the same exact score from their first matchup this season. The Jets loss and a win by the Pittsburgh Steelers eliminated New York from the playoffs.
The Jets finished their first season under Todd Bowles with a 10-6 record. New York took advantage of their fourth place schedule this season but just fell short of a playoff berth. Buffalo was already eliminated from playoff contention entering the game, but finished the season 8-8 and 4-2 against the AFC East.
Offensively, the Bills did a great job of controlling the ball throughout the game. Buffalo possessed the ball for 39 minutes and 13 seconds for the game. One of the biggest reasons why the Bills were able to hold the ball for a long period of time was due to the terrific job done by Buffalo's offensive line. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor had plenty of time in the pocket to find his receivers.
One receiver Taylor had no problem finding throughout the game on Sunday was Sammy Watkins. The duo connected for 11 receptionsand 136 yards. On Sunday, Revis Island was claimed by Watkins. The only other Bills player with more than three yards receiving was Greg Salas. The former Jets receiver finished with 41 yards on three receptions.
In the run game, Taylor led all Bills players with 51 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. Karlos Williams also added a score for Buffalo on the ground. The Bills rookie had to exit the game in the first half with a knee injury, which led to an increased workload for Mike Gillislee (24 carries, 28 yards).
On special teams, Dan Carpenter's day did not start off well after missing an extra point attempt after the team's second touchdown. Carpenter gave himself a wake-up call by bouncing his helmet off his own face and ended up a perfect 3-of-3 on field goal attempts. Carpenter had a rough season for the Bills and will likely face competition if he's brought back to the Bills in 2016. That said, Carpenter should keep his head held high knowing his three field goals helped the Bills win their season finale.
Defensively, the Bills came up with some big plays to preserve the win for the team. Leodis McKelvin intercepted a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass in the end zone on an attempted pass to Eric Decker. Linebacker Manny Lawson added an interception after the two-minute warning thanks in part to pressure from Marcell Dareus and A.J. Tarpley sealed the game by catching Fitzpatrick's third interception of the game. The unit did allow two touchdowns, but were playing reserves at multiple spots.
Rex Ryan downplayed the game for the entire week and can head into the offseason with a smile on his face after sweeping his former team. There's plenty of work to be done in Buffalo, especially on the defensive side of the ball, but Sunday's game was an impressive win. Buffalo, missing numerous starters on both sides of the ball, were able to come together and defeat a Jets team that had won five straight games.
Buffalo finished their second consecutive season without a losing record. Next year, playoffs will be expected but Ryan can head into the offseason knowing that his former team will also be sitting at home for the playoffs.