EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Ugly. Sloppy. And, Rex Ryan will take it.
The New York Jets overcame a team-record 20 penalties and hung on to beat the Buffalo Bills 27-20 on Sunday as Geno Smith outplayed EJ Manuel in a matchup of the first two quarterbacks drafted in April.
“I love the fact that our team found a way to win,” Ryan said. “Take away all the other stuff. We persevered and we won. That’s really encouraging to me. That tells you about the fight and spirit of this football team.
“And that’s what I’m most proud of.”
Even if it was far from the prettiest of victories for the Jets (2-1), who became the first team to get called for that many penalties and win since the Browns beat the Bears in 1951 despite being penalized 21 times. They did it with Smith’s 69-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes in the fourth quarter that stood as the winning score.
“We were able to get the game to 20-20,” Bills coach Doug Marrone said, “but then we were not able to make the plays to get us over the hump.”
Here are five things to know from the Jets’ victory over the Bills (1-2):
1. PLETHORA OF PENALTIES: Buffalo couldn’t take full advantage of New York’s barrage of penalties, which accounted for 168 yards and nearly sent the Jets to a loss.
Capping a drive kept alive by four straight penalties on the Jets, including three on Kyle Wilson, Manuel connected with Scott Chandler for a 33-yard touchdown and then hit Stevie Johnson with a pass for a 2-point conversion that tied it at 20 with 10:39 left in the game.
“We made our mistakes, but they made 20 penalties and we didn’t win,” Johnson said. “We have to find a way to get it done with that kind of help.”
Buffalo had seven penalties for 87 yards, a minuscule number compared to the Jets.
2. GENO OUTDOES EJ: Smith insisted he wasn’t out to prove anything to Buffalo after the Bills passed on drafting him and instead took Manuel at No. 16 overall. But he came through with one of the biggest plays of the game, connecting with Holmes on the go-ahead score.
“With Geno’s poise, he can be as great as he wants to be,” Holmes said. “His opportunity is definitely something that we’re going to look forward to for a long time.”
Smith, the second quarterback drafted at No. 39, finished 16 of 29 for 331 yards and touchdown passes to Holmes and Stephen Hill, and also had two interceptions. It was Smith’s first 300-yard passing game of his young career.
“I don’t want to make it seem like it’s nothing,” Smith said, “but my mind is focused on turnovers.”
Manuel, who led the Bills to a comeback win last weekend against Carolina, couldn’t do the same against the Jets. He was 19 of 42 for 243 yards and the score, but was sacked eight times.
“I have to get the ball out of there, unless I want to get hit,” Manuel said. “I needed to be able to get it out there so the receivers could make plays.”
3. MARTY MAGIC: Under new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, the Jets racked up 513 yards of total offense — the most during Ryan’s tenure. It was also the first time New York had 500 or more yards of total offense since 2000.
“Well, don’t give me credit,” Ryan joked.
Mornhinweg has clearly made a difference with a mostly unheralded unit and he did it in this game against Mike Pettine, the Bills’ defensive coordinator who spent 11 years as Ryan’s right-hand man.
It was the first time the Jets had a 300-yard passer (Smith), a 100-yard rusher (Bilal Powell, 149) and a 100-yard receiver (Holmes, 154, and Hill, 108) since 1985. They also had four pass plays of 40 yards or more, one shy of last year’s total.
4. SACKS IN BUNCHES: Buffalo came in having allowed just one sack in its first two games. New York nearly looked like the old “Sack Exchange” on Sunday, taking Manuel down eight times, including two sacks by Muhammad Wilkerson.
It was the most sacks the Jets had in a game since they sacked the Giants’ Phil Simms eight times in 1988.
Meanwhile, New York’s offensive line did a terrific job of protecting Smith, allowing no sacks. Mario Williams, who had 4½ last week, was held to two tackles for Buffalo.
5. BANGED-UP BILLS: It was a costly defeat for Buffalo, which lost cornerback Leodis McKelvin to a hamstring injury and defensive tackle Marcell Dareus to an ankle injury. Defensive end Alex Carrington was carted off late in the game with an apparent left knee injury.
Running back C.J. Spiller also left with a knee injury and finished with just 9 yards rushing.
Williams also might be ailing a bit. He got very little action late in the game, and Marrone would only say that he saw the defensive end “getting work.”
The loss of McKelvin could be huge for a secondary that is already without safety Jairus Byrd and cornerback Stephon Gilmore because of injuries.
“Everybody’s going after our secondary,” Marrone said, “and we just have to do a good job.”
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