Scott Chandler capped an emotionally draining week with a celebration for the folks back home in Buffalo.
After catching a touchdown pass shortly before halftime, he began mimicking a shoveling motion, a nod to Bills fans who have spent the last few days digging out of several feet of snow.
"It was a little bit of a tribute to the people of Buffalo," Chandler said. "You want to do something special for our fans. They did a great job showing up for us tonight, and for the people back there, we’re behind you."
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After a week of frightening weather and an abbreviated practice schedule, Buffalo played one of its best games of the season in a 38-3 victory over the New York Jets on Monday night. Kyle Orton threw two touchdown passes, and the Bills also had a key play on specials teams in the runaway win.
Heavy snow in the Buffalo area moved the game to Detroit, but there were plenty of Bills fans in attendance at Ford Field. Buffalo (6-5) couldn’t even practice before arriving in Michigan on Friday, but it was the Jets (2-9) who looked out of sorts all night.
"We probably had the easy part of it, and back home they had the tough part," Orton said. "Excited to get here and get a big win for us, and hopefully this will propel us forward."
Orton threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Robert Woods in the first quarter, and the second-year receiver’s one-handed catch set up another touchdown in the second. Chandler caught a 19-yard scoring pass from Orton to make it 14-3 late in the half.
Chandler needed a snowmobile to get out of his neighborhood before the team traveled to the Detroit area, and the Bills faced logistical issues for several days. Tickets to the game were given out for free, and although Ford Field wasn’t quite full, the crowd of 56,044 created a decent atmosphere in prime time.
"Our fans are phenomenal," Buffalo coach Doug Marrone said. "When I first came out there, you don’t know what to expect. … Obviously, you get concerned whether is it going to be a home field or things like that, or be ready for a silent count. Then all of a sudden when I came out and looked to the right, and I saw all of those blue jerseys, I was like, `Holy cow, baby. Here we go. We’ve got the crowd.’"
It was Buffalo’s second victory of the year in Detroit — the Bills beat the Lions in early October. The field was repainted for this game, with Buffalo’s team logo at midfield and "BILLS" in both end zones.
And that familiar Bills version of The Isley Brothers’ "Shout" was played periodically over the loudspeakers.
Woods made a nice twisting catch in the end zone for the game’s first touchdown, and his one-handed grab was even more impressive. It wasn’t on the same level as Odell Beckham Jr.’s touchdown the previous night for the New York Giants, but Woods was able to secure a 27-yard pass along the sideline with his right hand, helping set up Chandler’s TD.
Woods caught nine passes for a career-high 118 yards.
"It was a busy week, sitting in the house wondering if we were even going to play a game, if we were even going to practice for a game," Woods said. "Getting stuck in the house it doesn’t seem likely, but the people of Buffalo made it happen. They cleared the roads for us, for some of the players to get out. This win was really for them, the city of Buffalo."
Buffalo broke the game open in the third with 17 points. Boobie Dixon blocked a punt and Manny Lawson recovered it in the end zone, and Fred Jackson added a 5-yard touchdown run.
Michael Vick went 7 of 19 for 76 yards for the Jets before being replaced by Geno Smith in the third quarter. The Jets missed a great chance at the end of the first half, when the Bills inexplicably let Eric Decker slip behind the defense with only a few seconds left, and Vick’s pass sailed inches beyond the receiver’s grasp.
New York’s night was summed up in the second half when Buffalo linebacker Nigel Bradham dragged Jets running back Chris Ivory to the ground by his hair.
"That was a horrible performance," Jets coach Rex Ryan said. "We didn’t block, we didn’t tackle, we didn’t do anything."
Buffalo, which has not made the playoffs since the 1999 season, is a game out of a wild card in the AFC.
Orton went 24 of 32 for 230 yards. Dixon’s 30-yard run in the fourth made it 38-3.
The Bills came in with an NFL-high 39 sacks, and they added seven more Monday, including two each by Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes.
NOTES: A couple fans ran on the field in the third quarter but were apprehended by security. … Buffalo lost TE Chris Gragg to a knee injury. Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson left with a toe injury, and TE Jace Amaro left with a head injury. … It was Buffalo’s most lopsided victory over the Jets since a 37-0 win Dec. 23, 1989.