Taylor, McCoy guide Bills by Jets
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Kyle Williams, the longest-tenured player on the Buffalo roster, presented the game ball to Sean McDermott on Sunday after the Bills earned a victory over the New York Jets in the rookie head coach’s debut.
The Bills totaled 408 yards and never trailed, but didn’t put away the rebuilding Jets until late in their 21-12 win at New Era Field.
“The important part was we came out and played good solid football,” McDermott said. “Good, fundamentally sound, aggressive, tough football. That’s what we wanted to do, to create that type of identity. And we put ourselves in position to do that in all three phases.”
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor passed for 224 yards and two touchdowns, Running back LeSean McCoy led the Bills with 159 total yards (110 rushing, 49 receiving), and safeties Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde each made fourth-quarter interceptions in their debuts for Buffalo.
“It was big,” Taylor said. “It’s big for Coach McDermott and big for us as a team. You want to protect your home field every time you step out there, so it was definitely a proud moment in the locker room. We just have to keep building and move forward.”
Quarterback Josh McCown was 26 of 39 passing for 187 yards and two interceptions for New York. Jermaine Kearse caught seven passes for 59 yards. The Jets rushed for just 38 yards.
“We can’t run the ball, we can’t stop the run,” Jets head coach Todd Bowles said. “We’re going to have a problem.”
After jettisoning several veterans, the Jets are prepared for a trying season. But Bowles isn’t ready to throw in the towel after just one game.
“We’re not going to hang our heads,” Bowles said. “We’re going to get ready and not make the same mistakes next week.”
McCoy left the game briefly in the fourth quarter with a wrist injury, but was able to return.
“It’s all right,” McCoy said. “It hurt for a bit. I couldn’t feel anything. I couldn’t squeeze. It was numb. But we have a 260-pound back, so let him get the touchdown.”
Mike Tolbert’s 1-yard touchdown plunge gave the Bills a 9-point lead with 12:47 remaining. A 22-yard reception by Nick O’Leary put the Bills in scoring range.
The Jets started a drive at the Buffalo 39 after a 36-yard punt return by Kalif Raymond with under eight minutes remaining, but Poyer intercepted McCown three downs later to foil the scoring chance.
Hyde’s interception with 1:35 remaining sealed the Bills win.
The stripped-down Jets struggled to sustain drives until late in the third quarter when McCown led an 11-play, 75-yard march that culminated with his 1-yard touchdown run on fourth down. McCown’s attempt at a tying two-point conversion pass was intercepted by Buffalo linebacker Ramon Humber.
Taylor connected with wide receiver Jordan Matthews for a 47-yard gain and tossed a 1-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Andre Holmes to make it 14-6 midway through the third quarter.
Buffalo held a 236-85 advantage in yardage at halftime, but only led 7-6. McCoy himself gained more total yards (96) in the first half than the Jets.
Tight end Charles Clay caught a 1-yard touchdown pass from Taylor to give the Bills a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter.
On the Bills’ opening drive, Clay had a potential touchdown pass bounce off his hands and get intercepted by New York cornerback Juston Burris.
Chandler Catanzaro kicked field goals from 52 and 48 yards in the second quarter for the Jets. Buffalo’s Stephen Hauschka missed a 46-yard attempt.
NOTES: The Bills recognized the 25th anniversary of their NFL record comeback victory over the Houston Oilers on Jan. 3, 1993, in a halftime ceremony. Hall of Fame members Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas and Andre Reed were among the 25 former players in attendance. ... Jets QB Bryce Petty (knee) participated in warmups, but was inactive. QB Christian Hackenberg backed up Josh McCown. ... Bills CB E.J. Gaines (shoulder), Jets TE Eric Tomlinson (elbow), and Jets LB Bruce Carter (ankle) left the game with injuries. ... The Jets beat the Bills twice last season.