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Versus Bills, Sanchez makes it as simple as 123.4

By Tim Graham

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Buffalo Bills' supposed defensive strength made the New York Jets' biggest concern appear solved.

The Bills' revamped pass defense didn't generate much pressure to speak of, and their young cornerbacks looked thoroughly overmatched this afternoon in a 48-28 loss at the Meadowlands.

Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, a washout head coach with the Miami Dolphins, looked like a play-calling mastermind. Often-ridiculed quarterback Mark Sanchez looked like an All-Pro.

The Jets' first-teamers scored zero touchdowns on 30 preseason possessions, but they exploded like the Joe Montana 49ers today.

"To summarize it," Bills coach Chan Gailey said, "they were running too wide open, and we didn't get enough pressure on the passer."

Sanchez completed 19 of his 27 passes for 266 yards and three touchdowns. He threw one silly interception on a panicky flip while scrambling in the first quarter.

But that was a self-inflicted wound. The Bills did nothing to knock the notoriously rattle-prone Sanchez out of his comfort zone. He had options all afternoon. Sanchez targeted last year's leading receiver, Dustin Keller, once.

Sanchez's 123.4 passer rating was the second-best of his career and only the 10th time he's hit triple digits. He did so twice last year.

"Having time to throw is the most important thing," Sanchez said. "We're putting a lot of pressure on those guys up front to give me time, and they did a great job of doing that.

"Then, the wide outs made great plays. The balls aren't all perfect, but our guys found a way to catch them and get some yards after the catch."

The Bills didn't record any sacks. Bills defensive end Mario Williams had one quarterback hit. Williams and fellow newcomer Mark Anderson combined for one tackle.

Just as disheartening, the Bills were credited with one pass defensed -- and that was Bryan Scott's interception. That means the Bills didn't get their hands on any other ball.

"It was a great performance by us," Jets receiver Santonio Holmes said. "The game plan went really smooth this week. Guys were paying attention to details. ... We put on a show."

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |