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First-quarter analysis: Defense can't get off the field

By Jay Skurski

The Buffalo Bills’ defense couldn’t get off the field to start today’s game against the New York Jets.

Rookie quarterback Geno Smith led the Jets’ offense on an 80-yard touchdown drive on the first possession of the game, converting third downs of 7, 17 and 3 yards along the way. Smith finished the drive with an 8-yard touchdown run on a quarterback keeper up the middle. He got a boost over the goal line by Bills middle linebacker Kiko Alonso, who made a poor play by pushing the Jets’ quarterback into the end zone.

Later in the quarter, the Jets converted a third-and-13 situation.

Injury concern I: Bills cornerback Leodis McKelvin suffered a hamstring injury on the Jets’ first possession and is out for the game. In his place, the Bills used Nickell Robey on the outside during New York’s first possession, then moved safety Aaron Williams to cornerback on the Jets’ second drive. Williams, of course, moved to safety from cornerback during the offseason.

Injury concern II: Bills receiver Stevie Johnson appeared to land awkwardly on his right hand or wrist on a second-down play on Buffalo’s first drive. Johnson stayed in the game, and was the target of an EJ Manuel throw on third down that fell incomplete.  Johnson was back on the field for the Bills’ next possession, but was not targeted and the Bills went three and out.

Action Jackson: Fred Jackson gave the Buffalo a badly needed spark on the final play of the first quarter. Jackson looked like he was going to be stopped for a loss on third and 1, but then bounced his run to the right side and found a hole, going 59 yards to the New York 21-yard line.


Aaron Williams | Fred Jackson | Kiko Alonso | Leodis McKelvin | Nickell Robey | Stevie Johnson
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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 |