Rex’s Revenge: Ryan’s Bills squeak out 22-17 win over Jets
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — With a sweet victory in hand in front of the crowd that used to cheer him, Rex Ryan absolutely let loose.
The Buffalo Bills coach jumped up and down, pumped his fists, slapped his players on their backs and lost his headset in the process.
“It’s pretty satisfying, without question,” Ryan said after his Bills beat the New York Jets 22-17 on Thursday night.
It came against the team that fired him in January after six seasons, and it made for a triumphant return to the Meadowlands for Ryan.
His defense had two interceptions, recovered a fumble and stopped the Jets inside the Bills 10 in the final minutes, capped by Bacarri Rambo’s game-clinching last-minute pick.
“I can tell the truth, this thing is kind of like being dumped by some girl you have the hots for,” Ryan said to reporters at an overflowing news conference. “Every guy in this room has been dumped by a girl. You move on, and every now and then, they call you back.
“And they can’t have you back.”
Duke Williams returned a fumbled kickoff 19 yards for the go-ahead points, rookie Karlos Williams had a 26-yard touchdown catch and Dan Carpenter kicked three field goals as Buffalo (5-4) moved into the wild-card playoff picture. Meanwhile, the Jets (5-4) have lost three of their last four.
“It felt weird,” said Ryan, who did not come out to the field during pregame warmups. “Two things dawned on me that I am no longer the coach of the Jets: I was looking at the wrong side of the sheet when we were getting stats, and I spent six years coaching in green and white, and I look out there and my team is in red.”
Buffalo’s offense made just enough key plays and held off a late surge by the Jets after Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for two touchdowns.
“Yes, it really is (frustrating),” said Darrelle Revis, who Ryan referred to after the game as one of the best cornerbacks in NFL history. “There’s a bad taste in my mouth right now, just how it all went.”
Here are some things to know about the Bills’ victory over the Jets:
REXCEPTION: Ryan was greeted with some boos and a few cheers, but nothing over the top. The loudest catcalls came when former Jets defensive end IK Enemkpali, chosen by Ryan as a team captain for the game, came out for the coin toss. Enemkpali broke Jets quarterback Geno Smith’s jaw with a punch during training camp, was cut and claimed the next day by Buffalo.
SO CLOSE: Fitzpatrick hit Eric Decker for a 31-yard touchdown with 7:23 remaining to make it 22-17. The Jets then got another golden chance a couple minutes later when Buffalo punter Colton Schmidt bobbled a snap and was tackled at his 13 by Jamari Lattimore.
On fourth-and-4 from the 7 and with a chance to take the lead, offensive coordinator Chan Gailey had Fitzpatrick throw a fade for Kellen Davis — but the ball floated over the tight end and landed harmlessly in the end zone.
“I didn’t see the ball until it was already past me,” Davis said.
TONE-SETTER: The game swung in the second quarter on consecutive plays. After Dan Carpenter tied it at 3 with a 47-yard field goal, Duke Williams added to that immediately by scooping up a fumble by rookie Devin Smith on the first kickoff return of his career. Williams scooted 19 yards for a 9-3 lead, although Carpenter missed the extra point.
“They had a good hit,” Jets coach Todd Bowles said. “He let the ball go. He can’t fumble.”
RUNNING WILD: Both teams had some success on the ground, with Buffalo’s LeSean McCoy and New York’s Chris Ivory making some key gains.
McCoy rushed for 112 yards on 19 carries — he also had 47 yards on five receptions — and looked like the Shady McCoy who was a star in Philadelphia before being traded to the Bills during the offseason. He was especially effective as the Bills ran down the clock in the fourth quarter, and had rushes of 16, 15, 14 (twice), 12 and 11 yards.
Ivory lost a fumble that led to a Buffalo field goal in the third quarter. He had 99 yards rushing and 36 through the air.
INJURIES: Fitzpatrick is scheduled for surgery Friday on the damaged ligament in his left thumb. He plans to be ready for the Jets’ game at Houston on Nov. 22.
“We’ll see how it goes, but that’s the intention,” he said.
New York lost running back Zac Stacy to a broken left ankle on a kickoff return at the end of the first half.
Bills defensive end Mario Williams spent most of the game sidelined with what the team called an illness. Ryan said Williams was “sicker than a dog” and “we were pumping fluids in him.”
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