McGahee, Bills deal serious blow to Jets' playoff hopes

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Erik Coleman knew the New York Jets
had just blown a great opportunity to improve their playoff
chances, so he couldn't hide his frustration.

"This is a big hiccup right here," the Jets safety said
softly. "We'll see what kind of team we are. We'll see if we
bounce back."

Three big plays by the Buffalo Bills put a huge crimp in the
Jets' postseason plans Sunday. Willis McGahee scored on a 57-yard
run, Lee Evans had a 77-yard TD catch and Nate Clements returned an
interception 58 yards for a score in the Bills' 31-13 victory.

"It definitely hurts to get beat like that at home," Coleman
said. "It hurts to get beat like that anytime, but especially at

Buffalo (6-7) looked more like the playoff contender than the
Jets (7-6), winning for the third time in four games.

"The season is not over," Bills quarterback J.P. Losman said.
"We have a long way to go. If we keep winning, you never know what
will happen at the end."

It was the third time in Bills history, and first since Sept.
24, 1989, at Houston, that they had three plays of over 50 yards in
a game. It was also the first time since 1965 that the Bills had a
rushing TD and passing score of over 50 yards in a game.

"It wasn't the plan to come out and pound them," Losman said.
"The plan was to come out firing, come out throwing. The way the
game went, getting on top early and taking the crowd out of it, we
just had to go with it."

McGahee, who playfully told Jets linebacker Jonathan Vilma
during the week that he couldn't be stopped, had 125 yards and a
touchdown on 16 carries -- despite missing the second quarter
because he was sick on the bench. He has gained 100 or more yards
in each of his last five games against New York.

"Willis was really sick," coach Dick Jauron said. "I don't
know why. It's not very often, in an NFL game, you see a player
sitting on the bench eating a sandwich. We had to get some food in
him. He came back and obviously played really well."

The Jets, who began a season-ending stretch of four games
against teams under .500, failed to take advantage of AFC
East-leading New England's 21-0 loss to Miami. New York remained
two games behind the Patriots -- and just a game ahead of the
surging Bills and Dolphins.

"Today was almost like a step back," linebacker Victor Hobson
said. "Especially with the way we've been playing and the way we
know we can play and the way we expect to come out and play."

Chad Pennington, coming off perhaps the best two-game stretch of
his career, made two costly mistakes in this one. With the Bills
leading 14-10 late in the third quarter, Pennington's high throw
was tipped by Jerricho Cotchery and landed in Clements' hands. The
Bills cornerback easily took it into the end zone for a 21-10 lead
with 1:47 left.

"The ball just came out high, and it was indicative of the
whole day: out of rhythm," Pennington said. "There's no excuse
for it. I've just got to find a way to fix it."

The Bills took advantage of another Jets turnover late in the
third quarter when Aaron Schobel hit Pennington from behind and
caused a fumble that Ryan Denney recovered. Four plays later,
Losman found a wide-open Robert Royal, who high-stepped into the
end zone for a 28-13 lead with 1:58 left.

That sent many of the fans at the Meadowlands for the exits and
the Jets' postseason hopes into turmoil.

The Bills' biggest play gave them a lead they wouldn't
relinquish. With Buffalo facing a third-and-3 on their 23 late in
the first half, Losman pump-faked while Evans put a move on
cornerback David Barrett. Losman then unloaded a long pass down the
left sideline that fell into the hands of Evans, who easily ran
into the end zone to give the Bills a 14-10 lead with 4:47

Losman was 10-of-15 for 157 yards and two touchdowns, while
Pennington was 22-of-35 for 182 yards and one touchdown and two

McGahee put the Bills up with his impressive run with 4:22 left
in the opening quarter. McGahee took the ball up the middle,
bounced to the left and sprinted into the end zone 57 yards for the
longest scoring run of his career. It was the first first-quarter
touchdown the Jets allowed in eight games.

"I know there was a crease," Hobson said, "and he found it."

The Jets came right back on their next possession, tying it on a
10-yard catch by Laveranues Coles.

Game notes
Mike Nugent had field goals of 30 and 38 yards for the
Jets, while Rian Lindell kicked a 34-yarder for the Bills. ... The
last time the Bills had rushing and passing TDs of 50 yards or
more, Wray Carlton had an 80-yard TD run and Bo Roberson caught a
74-yard pass from Daryle Lamonica on Dec. 5, 1965, at Houston. ...
Bills LB Takeo Spikes left with an ankle injury in the second
quarter, but returned for the start of the second half.


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