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NFL '97 WEEK 2 | BUFFALO 28, N.Y. JETS 22

Bills Put O'Donnell on Down Cycle

September 08, 1997|From Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Don't bury the Buffalo Bills quite yet. Not when they can bury opposing quarterbacks they way they did the New York Jets' Neil O'Donnell on Sunday.

The Bills, coming off a loss at home in their opener, defeated the Jets, 28-22, using an overpowering pass rush to sack O'Donnell eight times.

It was the fifth consecutive victory on New York's home field for Buffalo (1-1) and the 17th in the last 20 meetings overall. The Jets (1-1), coming off an impressive road victory at Seattle, lost their 13th consecutive home game.

Linebacker Bryce Paup had three of the Bills' sacks.

"I rank this performance today--with the number of sacks and the pressure we had-- as the best concentrated effort," said Paup, who had an NFL-leading 17 1/2 sacks in the last season (1995) that Buffalo reached the Super Bowl. "It was just great."

Certainly it was enough to swing the game in Buffalo's favor as Paup, Bruce Smith and five other defenders all got in on the sack parade against New York's overmatched blockers.

"I don't want to blame the offensive line. Those guys feel bad about this," said O'Donnell, who had one touchdown pass after getting five last week at Seattle. "We took our shots. I am going to take my shots; we are going to take chances. But we couldn't get into our game plan."

In a game of big plays, Buffalo quarterback Todd Collins made the most with three touchdown passes, looking as effective as the man he replaced this season, Jim Kelly--the Bills' starter the previous 11 seasons.

Steve Tasker's 47-yard punt return, the longest of the 13-year veteran's career, set up Collins' 37-yard touchdown pass to Quinn Early that give the Bills a 21-13 lead in the third quarter.

Aaron Glenn fielded the ensuing kickoff, sped to the right sideline, broke through a cluster and went 96 yards for a touchdown.

The Jets then took advantage of a Buffalo mistake early in the final quarter when Chris Mohr dropped the snap and couldn't get off a punt. He was tackled at the Buffalo 27 and rookie John Hall made a 52-yard field goal to give the Jets a 22-21 lead.

The Bills then went 80 yards for the decisive score--with Collins finding fellow Michigan alum Jay Riemersma in the corner of the end zone with 6:58 to go.

"I'm glad I clipped my toenails," Riemersma joked. "I didn't know if I had my feet in bounds, but I was going to act like I did."

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