Darnold leads Jets to 27-23 win over Allen, Bills
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Sam Darnold one-upped fellow rookie Josh Allen, rallying the New York Jets to a 27-23 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
Elijah McGuire scored on a fourth-and-goal run from the 1 with 1:17 remaining to cap a drive during which Darnold completed three of five passes for 52 yards. The rookie quarterback particularly showed off his deft touch on a 37-yard pass to Robby Anderson, who made an over-the-shoulder catch up the right sideline.
It was Darnold’s first career fourth-quarter comeback and came in his first game back after missing three with a strained right foot.
He finished 16 of 24 for 170 yards with a touchdown and interception. The Jets (4-9) snapped a six-game losing streak, and bounced back a week after squandering a 16-0 lead in a 26-22 loss at Tennessee.
Darnold, drafted third overall, got the edge on Allen, who was selected with the seventh pick.
Allen went 18 of 36 for 206 yards and two interceptions, both by Trumaine Johnson, including one on the Bills’ final drive to seal the Jets victory.
Allen did finish with 101 yards rushing to become just the second quarterback in NFL history to top 90 yards rushing in three consecutive games, joining Tobin Rote, who did that with Green Bay in 1951.
Buffalo dropped to 4-9 in what proved to be a sloppy game.
The Jets won when embattled coach Todd Bowles elected to gamble after Darnold was stopped at the 1 on third-and-goal from the 4.
McGuire scored by taking a handoff and running to his right before finding a crease to squeeze his way into the end zone. He finished with 60 yards and was playing in place of starter Isaiah Crowell, who left with a shoulder injury in the second quarter.
The Bills were eventually down to their final running back, Marcus Murphy, after Chris Ivory was sidelined by a shoulder injury in the second half.
Buffalo squandered a 14-3 lead, and was undone by a special teams unit that allowed Andre Roberts to return five kickoffs for 176 yards. Roberts’ 86-yard return set up Trenton Cannon’s 4-yard run, which cut Buffalo’s lead to 17-13 with 6:31 left in the second quarter.
It was the first touchdown scored by the Jets’ offense in 24 possessions, dating to the first quarter of a 27-13 loss to New England two weeks ago.
The Jets’ special teams also blocked Stephen Hauschka’s 49-yard field-goal attempt at the end of the first half.
New York trailed until Darnold capped an 11-play, 85-yard drive by hitting Anderson for a 7-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 20 with 12:06 left.
The Bills responded with Hauschka hitting a 36-yard field goal with 2:31 remaining.
Allen scored on a 7-yard run and Isaiah McKenzie also scored on a 15-yard run.
New York scored a touchdown and two field goals in the first half despite managing four first downs and 68 yards offense. Special teams and the defense helped Jets finish with an average drive start of their own 47.
Bills undrafted rookie Robert Foster had 104 yards receiving in his first career start after the Bills released Kelvin Benjamin on Tuesday. Foster now has two 100-yard outings, both of them coming against the Jets. He had 105 yards receiving in a 41-10 win at the Meadowlands on Nov. 11.
Jets: Host Houston on Saturday.
Bills: Close their non-conference schedule by hosting Detroit on Dec. 16.