One week after having his worst game as a pro Manuel arguably had his best. Meanwhile Smith was awful for three-plus quarters before being benched for most of the fourth. Both young quarterbacks made most the difference as the Bills dominated the New York Jets, 37-14 at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
The 37 points Buffalo hung on the Jets was their most against them since 1989 and their 23 point margin of victory was the biggest over New York in seven years.
After a miserable return following a knee injury last Sunday in Pittsburgh that had many questioning if Manuel can be a successful starter he lit up the Jets secondary, even without starting receivers Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods. Manuel completed 20-of-28 for 245 yards and two touchdowns. The first was a 34 yarder to TJ. Graham in the second quarter that was underthrown, but Graham made a nice break back to the ball on Jets corner Dee Milliner. There was nothing underthrown on his third quarter bomb to Marquise Goodwin that gave the Bills a commanding lead—hitting the speedster in perfect stride for a 43 yard strike as Goodwin exploded past Antonio Cromartie.
Equally impressive was Manuel not committing a turnover and only being sacked once. It was a far cry from when the teams first met in Week three when he was sacked eight times and played lousy in a 27-20 loss.
Meanwhile Smith was awful in throwing three interceptions, two by Jairus Byrd and also losing a fumble deep in his own territory after being sacked by Kyle Williams that was recovered by Manny Lawson and would lead to a Frank Summers three yard touchdown run.
Smith’s final mistake put a dagger on any hope of a Jets miracle comeback. Already trailing 20-7 Smith was pressured and tried to dump a pass off in the right flat. Unfortunately for the Jets it landed right in the hands of Bills safety Da’Norris Searcy, who took Smith’s gift and returned it 23 yards for a touchdown.
Smith completed just 8-of-23 passes for 103 yards before getting yanked in the final quarter.
In total the Bills defense produced four turnovers and sacked Smith four times, including two by Kyle Williams.
At 4-7 the Bills head into their bye week. They’ll next take on the Atlanta Falcons two weeks from now in Toronto.
We’ll have plenty of reaction and breakdown from this convincing Bills victory beginning Monday morning. Enjoy the victory, folks—it was a good one.