Sanchez, Burress help Jets get past Bills 28-24
Plaxico Burress reached up for the floating football with his
right arm, spun and somehow came down with it for a first down.
It was an eye-popping fourth-quarter grab that helped the New
York Jets come back and beat the Buffalo Bills 28-24 on Sunday. It
also might have saved their season.
”I don’t know if words could do it any justice,” quarterback
Mark Sanchez said. ”It was a big-time catch in a crucial
No doubt about it. With several Jets saying they needed to win
each of their last six games to reach the postseason, New York got
the first one – barely. Five more to go.
”We’ll take it,” coach Rex Ryan said. ”Wow.”
Sanchez threw a career-high four touchdown passes, including the
winning 16-yard score to Santonio Holmes with just over a minute
remaining, as New York kept pace in the AFC playoff race.
”He’s at his best,” Ryan said of his quarterback, ”in big
This was certainly one of them.
Things appeared bleak with New York (6-5) trailing 24-21 after
Dave Rayner’s 53-yard field goal and facing a third-and-11 from the
Bills’ 36. But Sanchez connected with Burress – made fun of earlier
in the game when the Bills’ Stevie Johnson pantomimed shooting
himself in the leg during a TD celebration – for a one-handed
18-yard grab over Justin Rogers that had everyone talking after the
”It was crazy,” Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis said of the
catch. ”He’s 6-foot-5 and he’s got those `Go-Go-Gadget’ arms. It
was probably one of the best catches I’ve seen in a while.”
Added Bills coach Chan Gailey: ”It was an unbelievable
On the next play, Sanchez quickly ran a quarterback sneak – just
to make sure there was no challenge, even though replays showed
Burress had a clean catch. Then, Sanchez rolled out to his right to
buy some time and found Holmes alone in the right corner of the end
zone to give the Jets the lead with 1:01 left.
”That’s who he is, he’s a stud – Sanchize,” Ryan said. ”The
first half wasn’t the best half, but we knew if we just hung in
there … we have complete faith in Mark. He’s done it
But the Jets then had to overcome a valiant comeback try by the
Bills (5-6), who have lost four straight. With Buffalo driving for
a winning score, a wide-open Johnson dropped a pass that would have
gone for a long gain. Ryan Fitzpatrick also threw behind Johnson in
the end zone with 8 seconds left that might have been a
”It’s hard,” Fitzpatrick said. ”They scored at the end and we
had a legitimate four chances to get it in there in the end zone
and unfortunately we were unable to make the plays. It hurts real
Johnson had one of the Bills’ touchdown catches late in the
first half, and there was plenty of talk about that one, too.
The Bills wide receiver celebrated his catch by pretending to
shoot himself in the thigh – clearly poking fun at Burress, who
served 20 months in prison for shooting himself in the leg in a
nightclub in 2008 while he was with the Giants. Johnson then mocked
the ”flight” celebration the Jets often use after scoring and
fell to the ground, getting flagged 15 yards for excessive
celebration on the play that gave Buffalo a 14-7 lead.
”I was just having fun and part of having fun ended up being a
penalty and a touchdown for the Jets,” Johnson said. ”It was a
stupid decision by myself.”
New York was already going to have good field position, but
Rayner flubbed a squib kick that hit off the Jets’ Emanuel Cook,
who recovered the ball at Buffalo’s 36.
The Jets moved to the 14 when Buffalo’s Marcell Dareus was hit
with a 15-yard penalty for using his helmet to make contact with
Sanchez. Three plays later, Burress caught a 14-yard touchdown pass
in the back of the end zone to tie it at 14 with 1:03 left in the
half. Burress simply bowed to the crowd and ran to the stands and
handed the ball to his son Elijah, as he always does after scoring
”I’ve seen worse, and I’ve heard worse,” Burress said of
Johnson’s antics. ”So, it doesn’t bother me at all. The result I’m
looking at is we won the football game, and he turned around and
dropped three wide-open balls to lose it for his team.”
Sanchez wasn’t great in this one, going 17 of 35 for 180 yards
and an interception, but came through with his eighth
fourth-quarter comeback victory in two-plus seasons. He also threw
two touchdown passes to Dustin Keller as the Jets rebounded from a
deflating loss to Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos 10 days
Fitzpatrick was 26 of 39 for 264 yards and three touchdowns, but
couldn’t pull out one more in the end as Buffalo played without
several injured starters, including Fred Jackson and George
”Defensively, the one thing we can say is we finished,” Ryan
The Jets’ offense started the third quarter with a nice drive
capped by Keller’s second touchdown catch of the game that gave New
York a 21-14 lead with 3:50 remaining in the period.
Buffalo tied it less than 2 minutes later on Brad Smith’s
terrific touchdown catch against his former team. Moments after the
Bills recovered a muffed punt return by Antonio Cromartie, the Jets
cornerback was in the middle of another big play. Smith appeared to
get a hand on Fitzpatrick’s long pass, tapped the ball up, grabbed
it out of the air as Cromartie fell and took off into the end zone
for a career-best 36-yard touchdown.
”That was a huge victory for us,” Ryan said. ”Now we have two
wins over Buffalo, a team that we could see at the end right there
with us in the playoff run.”
Notes: David Nelson had the Bills’ other touchdown, an 8-yard
catch that gave Buffalo a 7-0 lead late in the opening quarter. …
Jets DE Mike DeVito left in the third quarter with a right knee
injury. Ryan had no update on the severity. … Former Bills
first-rounder Aaron Maybin had two of the Jets’ three sacks. …
Fitzpatrick became the fifth QB in team history with 50 TD passes,
joining Jim Kelly, Joe Ferguson, Jack Kemp and Drew Bledsoe.