(The Sports Xchange) - Rex Ryan’s Buffalo Bills made sure the New York Jets would not make the playoffs without him.
The Bills built an early lead and thwarted the Jets’ comeback effort with three fourth-quarter interceptions to win 22-17 on Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for the Jets (10-6). Combined with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ win in Cleveland, it prevented New York from making the playoffs for the first time since 2010, the second of Ryan’s six seasons coaching the Jets.
“I got a lot of friends over there and I want them to be successful,” Ryan said. “But not at my expense.”
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor completed 18 of 28 passes and led the Bills in rushing with 52 yards and a touchdown.
Rookie running back Karlos Williams also rushed for a touchdown, and kicker Dan Carpenter made all three of his field-goal attempts as the Bills won their second straight game since being eliminated from playoff contention.
Wide receiver Sammy Watkins eluded Jets’ cornerback Darrelle Revis to make a career-high 11 receptions for 136 yards.
Buffalo dominated time of possession with a season-high 39:13 to the Jets’ season-low 20:47. The Bills were 9-for-20 on third downs and converted two fourth downs against a Jets defense that entered the game ranked third in the NFL in third-down defense. Meanwhile, the Jets were 3-for-11 on third down.
“We knew this was going to be a fight and they were going to give us their best shot,” Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. “We weren’t going to be able to walk on the field and have them bow down to us.”
Said linebacker Calvin Pace: “We just picked a bad time to have a bad game. It’s not gonna feel good sitting at home with 10 wins.”
The Bills finished 8-8 in Ryan’s first season, with two wins over the Jets. They were 9-7 last season under coach Doug Marrone. This is the first time the Bills have had consecutive seasons at .500 or better during their 16-season playoff drought.
“There’s a lot of teams that’ll mail it in,” Ryan said. “But this team certainly wasn’t one of them, despite all the negative criticism.”
Fitzpatrick had his worst performance of the season in his first game in Buffalo since he was the Bills’ starter in 2012. Fitzpatrick completed 16 of 37 passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns, but was intercepted on all three of the Jets’ fourth quarter possessions.
“It’s the hardest and most difficult end to a season I have ever had,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s not because of where it was, but because of what was at stake.
“All you can ask for in this game is an opportunity and as poorly as we played in the first quarter, as slow as we were going there, we picked it up and had an opportunity in the end to win the game.
“We weren’t able to pull it off and my heart hurts bad right now for all those guys in the locker room.”
Bills center Eric Wood tried to console his former quarterback on the field after the game.
“It’s such a mixture of emotions at that moment,” Wood said. “He’s one of my best friends. I want success for Fitz. I don’t want it at the expense of the Buffalo Bills in our stadium.”
Editing by Andrew Both