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It wasn’t as easy for the New York Jets in their second game with the Buffalo Bills, but the end result was the same. The Jets won a critical game and kept their playoff hopes alive. Led by Mark Sanchez and his career high four touchdown passes, the Jets escaped Sunday’s game with a win when Sanchez found Santonio Holmes for a 16-yard score with just over a minute left to keep the Jets in the thick of the AFC playoff race.
“He’s at his best in big moments,” coach Rex Ryan said. This was as big a moment as the Jets have had all season and with the win they now have only five more to go. The sentiment through the Jets locker room this week has been that they have to win in order to make it to the post season. It was looking like that was going to end with the first game when Dave Rayner hit a 53-yard field goal to put the Bills up 24-21.
Sanchez then led the Jets down the field, the key play coming on a third and 11 from the Bills 36 where Sanchez found Plaxico Burress along the sideline. Burress reached up and made an amazing one handed catch for 18 yards and the first down. “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.”
Sanchez ran a sneak to assure there would be no challenge and then on the next play rolled out right and found Holmes in the end zone for the go ahead score. Though posting a career high in touchdown passes, Sanchez was far from great. He finished 17 of 35 for 180 yards and a pick, but when things mattered most, he prevailed.
His Bills counterpart, Ryan Fitzpatrick, bounced back from a streak of bad games to go 26 of 39 for 264 yards and three touchdowns, but couldn’t manage one more at the end. Fitzpatrick found a wide open Stevie Johnson, but Johnson dropped the pass. He also missed Johnson in the end zone as he threw behind him and the catch couldn’t be made.
Johnson made headlines for other reasons than just the dropped pass. He scored a touchdown late in the first half and to celebrate mocked shooting himself in the thigh, clearly a shot at Plaxico Burress who had accidentally shot himself in the leg in a nightclub in 2008 when he was with the Giants.
He then continued by mocking the “flight” celebration many of the Jets use after they score and fell to the ground which got a flag for 15 yards and ended up leading to the Jets tying the game back up 14-14. “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.”
“I’ve seen worse, and I’ve heard worse,” Burress said of Johnson’s celebration. “So, it doesn’t bother me at all. The result I’m looking at is we won the football game.”
The Jets have won their first game and look to continue their streak for the playoffs as they head down to Washington to square off with quarterback troubled Redskins. The Bills, now losers of four straight games look to snap the streak as they head home to face Matt Hasselback and the Tennessee Titans.
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