New York Jets finish dismal season strong with win over Bills
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Ryan Fitzpatrick threw two touchdown passes in what was likely his final game for the Jets and New York ended a dismal season on a winning note with a 30-10 over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
Despite a 5-11 record, the Jets are making no changes in leadership, meaning both coach Todd Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan will remain with the team next season. The team announced the moves after the game.
Bowles is 15-17 in his two-year tenure with New York, which hired him in January 2015 after firing Rex Ryan. Maccagnan is also in his second season with the Jets, and had also been criticized for the team’s roster, which likely faces an overhaul this offseason.
Fitzpatrick went 20 of 30 for 210 yards. He is likely to be among the big names to go because he’s a free agent and unlikely to return. It could have also been the final game with New York for cornerback Darrelle Revis (who had his first interception of the season in the game); wide receiver Brandon Marshall (inactive because of a hip injury); and center Nick Mangold (on injured reserve), among others.
The Bills (7-9) also face some uncertainty this offseason after firing coach Rex Ryan earlier in the week and elevating offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn to the interim role.
Two other people with direct knowledge of the situation told the AP before the game that Lynn is the clear favorite to take over the job permanently.
One person called Lynn’s succession to replace Ryan as being “the working plan.” Another person said the final decision on general manager Doug Whaley’s recommendation rests solely with owners Terry and Kim Pegula.
Both people spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity because the Bills have not revealed details of their coaching search.
A third person with direct knowledge of the discussions told the AP that former Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley is a candidate to become the Bills defensive coordinator under Lynn. Bradley was fired by the Jaguars two weeks ago.
The Jets took a 7-0 lead on a 2-yard pass from Fitzpatrick to Bilal Powell. Powell also finished with 122 yards on 22 carries.
Dan Carpenter’s 34-yard field goal made it 7-3, but the Bills missed out on more points when EJ Manuel underthrew a wide-open Charles Clay.
Nick Folk kicked a 30-yarder as time expired in the first half to give the Jets a 10-3 lead.
The Jets got a turnover on the Bills’ next drive when Corey Lemonier — claimed off waivers during the week — got a strip-sack of Manuel and Jordan Jenkins recovered at the Buffalo 13. Officials initially ruled Manuel down, but Bowles challenged the call and it was reversed by video review.
Three plays later, Jalin Marshall reached over the goal line for a 6-yard touchdown reception that made it 17-3.
Buffalo turned it over on its next possession, Sheldon Richardson recovering a fumble by Jonathan Williams. Folk added a 36-yarder.
Rookie Cardale Jones then replaced Manuel as Bills quarterback, making his regular-season debut.
New York’s Doug Middleton recovered a kickoff in the end zone after the Bills’ Mike Gillislee touched the ball, giving New York a 30-3 lead.
Gillislee added a 1-yard TD run with 39 seconds left to cap the scoring.
Manuel started at quarterback instead of Tyrod Taylor, with Lynn calling it “a business decision” by the team. Taylor was inactive for the game with a groin injury.
Manuel made his first start since Oct. 25, 2015, and finished 9 of 20 for 86 yards.
Buffalo running back LeSean McCoy limped to the sideline with a right ankle injury after a 2-yard loss on the first play of the second quarter.
He was carted to the locker room. X-rays were negative, he was upgraded to a “probable” return, though he didn’t get another carry.
Bills running back Reggie Bush finished the season with 12 carries for minus-3 yards, becoming the first NFL running back to have negative yards rushing with 10 or more carries. He had no carries against the Jets.