Matt Barkley stunningly sparked Buffalo’s bumbling offense with two touchdown passes, including one to offensive tackle Dion Dawkins. LeSean McCoy broke out of a season-long slump with 113 yards rushing and a pair of TD runs, and the Bills embarrassed the New York Jets 41-10 on Sunday.
Barkley made his first start in nearly two years, and looked the best of any of the four quarterbacks the Bills (3-7) have trotted out this season. The 28-year-old journeyman was 15 of 25 for 232 yards while helping Buffalo snap a four-game losing streak as the Bills put up 451 yards of total offense.
Barkley got the nod from coach Sean McDermott ahead of the ineffective Nathan Peterman despite having just two weeks of practice with the Bills since signing on Oct. 30. Rookie Josh Allen has missed four straight games with a sprained right elbow, and Derek Anderson is sidelined with a concussion. Barkley’s last start came in the 2016 season finale for Chicago.
Meanwhile, the hot seat under coach Todd Bowles has reached a boiling point as the Jets (3-7) got completely manhandled by a team that entered with a league-low 96 points and had two touchdowns in its previous four games.
The Jets have a bye-week break and the future of Bowles, in his fourth season, is in serious doubt.
New York started 39-year-old Josh McCown in place of injured rookie Sam Darnold, but he couldn’t prevent the Jets from their fourth straight loss in front of a frustrated fan base that booed lustily throughout.
McCown was 17 of 34 for 135 yards with two interceptions.
Barkley certainly didn’t look like a guy with any rust, launching a 47-yard pass to Robert Foster on the Bills’ first offensive play. Foster, just promoted from the practice squad, beat top Jets cornerback Trumaine Johnson, who had missed the previous five games with an injured quadriceps.
On the next play, Barkley handed off to McCoy, who scored his first touchdown of the season with a 28-yard run that gave Buffalo a 7-0 lead 49 seconds in.
Barkley and the Bills took a 14-0 lead midway through the opening quarter on a fluky play. On third-and-7 from the 11, Zay Jones caught a pass and took it 10 yards before fumbling as he reached the goal line. Tight end Jason Croom recovered in the end zone for a touchdown that was upheld by video review.
The 14-play, 73-play drive was prolonged by a fake punt on fourth-and-6 from the Bills 47 when the ball was snapped directly to tight end Logan Thomas, a quarterback at Virginia Tech. Thomas then completed a 19-yard pass to Foster for the first down.
The 14 points matched the Bills’ combined total from their previous four games.
The Bills outgained the Jets 186-1 after one quarter, and added to their lead less than two minutes into the second quarter on Stephen Hauschka’s 54-yard field goal that made it 17-0.
If there was any doubt as to where this game was headed, the Bills added in some trickery — and embarrassment for the Jets — on their next drive.
Dawkins lined up as an eligible receiver on first-and-goal from the 7. Barkley, of course, found the 6-foot-5, 320-pound lineman wide open for a touchdown.
The Jets had another brutal sequence on their next possession, when they had three — yes, three — holding penalties called on one play. Then McCown, facing a blitz, threw the ball up down the left sideline and Matt Milano picked it off.
Seven plays later, McCoy ran it in from the 1 — moments after it was ruled he was down there and had a TD reversed — to put Buffalo up 31-0.
The Jets ended the Bills’ shutout bid on the final play of the opening half on Jason Myers’ 55-yard field goal.
Buffalo outgained New York 313-68 in total yardage through the first two quarters.
Isaiah Crowell ended the Jets’ drought of 22 straight offensive possessions without a touchdown by running 5 yards for a score midway through the third quarter to make it 31-10.
Jones caught an 8-yard TD pass from Barkley late in the third quarter.
THE REAL McCOY
McCoy surpassed 500 career points, and vaulted into 26th place on the career yards rushing list by moving ahead of Marshawn Lynch (10,379), Eddie George (10,441) and Tiki Barber (10,449). McCoy also topped 100 yards rushing for the first time since gaining 156 in a 13-7 overtime win over Indianapolis on Dec. 10.
Bill CB Taron Johnson left in the third quarter with a shoulder injury and didn’t return. … Milano left to be evaluated for a head injury in the fourth quarter.
Bills: Bye. Home vs. Jacksonville on Nov. 25.
Jets: Bye. Home vs. New England on Nov. 25.
Source: The Associated Press