Game balls for the New York Jets victory over the Buffalo Bills

Who deserved game balls from yesterday's win over the Bills?

For the second straight week the Jets dominated their opponents, but this week instead of losing a game they should've won they won a game by six that they probably should've won by 20.

It was a weird, wacky and highly entertaining game with both teams having moments of greatness and complete ineptitude (usually the ineptitude by one team contributed to the greatness of the other team though), but the Jets had far more greatness in them as their defense played really well overall (sans two huge plays, yes the big plays again) and their offense did whatever the hell they wanted against Rex Ryan's defense.

The Jets won 37-31, outgained the Bills 493 yards to 393 (155 yards and two touchdowns came on two plays, take those two plays away and the Bills scored 17 points and gained 238 yards for the rest of the game), won the time of possession battle 39:12 to 20:48, had 28 first downs to the Bills 16 and the Jets converted 62 percent of their third-down attempts. Besides the two big touchdown passes and the fumble returned for a touchdown, it was a masterpiece of a game by the Jets with plenty of players deserving of game balls, so let's get right to it.

Ryan Fitzpatrick - Admittedly I am often critical of Fitzpatrick but for good reason, he usually deserves criticism but last night he looked as good as he ever has as he surgically picked apart the Bills defense. The first drive off the game was an absolute slop fest, maybe Fitzpatrick was simply too hyped, but from that point on he settled down and dissected the Bills defense like I watched other kids dissect frogs in high school. Fitzpatrick went 24-34 for 347 yards and one touchdown and you might look at that and think he should've had more touchdowns but when your running back runs for three touchdowns why bother throwing deep in the red zone. 

Fitzpatrick spread the ball around to six different receivers, two going over 100 and a third only missing the 100 yard mark because he left with an injury in the third quarter. If Fitzpatrick were to play like he did last night the Jets should coast to the playoffs, but I need to see it for a few more games in a row before I'll buy into this being a regular occurrence. Still Fitzpatrick played great last night, there's simply no way around that fact.

The receivers, damn near all of them - Eric Decker had six catches for 126 yards and a touchdown and Brandon Marshall somehow managed to shake off an incredibly dirty face mask tackle from Stephon Gilmore that would have forced me to have my leg amputated to catch six passes for 101 yards, but Quincy Enunwa was the best of the bunch last night and got everything started. Enunwa finished the game with six catches for 92 yards before leaving with an injury late in the third, but with the Bills focusing their attention on Marshall and Decker early it was Enunwa who got Fitzpatrick cooking forcing the Bills to pay attention to him and freeing up room for Marshall and Decker.

Even Jalin Marshall deserves mention here, yes he had the fumble that was returned for a Bills touchdown but he had three big catches for 45 yards and delivered several big blocks. Jalin Marshall's versatility allows him to be productive and useful as he develops as a receiver on the fly and last night was a perfect example of that.

Matt Forte - Not Forte's most efficient day yardage-wise but touchdown-wise it was great. Forte rushed for exactly 100 yards on 30 carries (only 3.3 yards per carry) but he ran for three touchdowns and as an offense you'll take three rushing carries every damn game and smile like a fool for it. Forte also had several tough runs where he just kept fighting and picking up extra yards and first downs, he only caught two passes for nine yards last night but there's no doubt this offense is far better for having him.

Marcus Williams - Sometimes all it takes is one big play to get you a game ball, like the huge interception Williams had at the beginning of the fourth quarter last night. With the Jets having just retaken the lead, 27-24, and the Bills driving in the fourth Tyrod Taylor tried to hit Sammy Watkins down the sidelines, Watkins had Williams beat but an under thrown pass from Taylor allowed Williams to make the pick give no the Jets the ball back to score another touchdown and put the game out of reach.

Honorable mentions - Darron Lee and Wesley Johnson. Lee had five tackles, four solo, but he was flying around all over the field and delivering some bone-crushing hits. The rookie linebacker is exuding confidence out on the field as he flies to the ball and continues to make plays, this kid is going to be really good and with Erin Henderson getting hurt we might see just how good really soon. Johnson came in when James Carpenter left the game with a strained calf and Johnson filled in admirably. He definitely struggled in spots but he held up really well, all things considered, and was definitely deserving of an honorable mention.


Chris Nimbley is the editor-in-chief of He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (


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