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Third-quarter analysis: One rookie good, one very bad

By Jay Skurski

While one rookie continues to struggle, another has made a big play to keep the Buffalo Bills in today’s game.

Rookie linebacker Kiko Alonso perfectly read Jets quarterback Geno Smith, intercepting him and returning the ball 32 yards to the New York 13-yard line. Alonso became the first Bills rookie to intercept passes in consecutive games since Jairus Byrd in 2009. 

The Bills’ offense led by rookie quarterback EJ Manuel, however, continues to struggle horribly. After two runs by Fred Jackson on the drive set up by Alonso's interception, Manuel threw out of bounds, intended for T.J. Graham. It was a continutation of a game-long struggle for the Bills' rookie quarterback.

Fumble? Nope: The Bills’ defense thought it had forced another turnover earlier in the third quarter when the Jets’ Santonio Holmes was originally ruled to have made a catch and then fumbled. However, after a replay review, the play was ruled an incompletion.

Challenges lost: Jets coach Rex Ryan used up two challenges in the third quarter, losing them both. Ryan first challenged the spot on a New York running play, and it was upheld. Later, Ryan challenged that Bills receiver Stevie Johnson did not get both feet inbounds on a reception. The replay review showed that Johnson did make the catch.

Carpenter busy: Bills kicker Dan Carpenter added two more field goals in the third quarter, giving him four for the game. Carpenter, signed as an injury replacement for rookie Dustin Hopkins, is 6 of 7 on field goals this season.


Dan Carpenter | Dustin Hopkins | EJ Manuel | Fred Jackson | Kiko Alonso | 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 |