DETROIT — A move to Motown did wonders for the Buffalo Bills’ offence.
The NFL moved Buffalo’s game with the New York Jets from Ralph Wilson Stadium to Ford Field Monday after more than six feet of snow fell in parts of New York.
“The last time I saw my house, it was solid white,” Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams said.
Despite a short practice week, Buffalo scored its most lopsided win of the season as the Bills rolled to a 38-3 win over the Jets before a crowd of 56,044 at Ford Field and moved back into the AFC wild card picture at 6-5 on the season.
“Offensively, we played as well as we have in a while,” Bills quarterback Kyle Orton said.
While the crowd was under the capacity of 65,000 at Ford Field, it was more than any game the Bills drew in any of the eight games they played at Rogers Centre in Toronto.
The crowd also bettered the 45,910 that Ford Field drew in 2010 when the Minnesota Vikings had to move their game with the New York Giants to Detroit after the Metrodome roof collapsed.
Detroit’s previous experience in hosting that event was partly the reason it was chosen to host Monday’s game over centres like Toronto, Washington and Pittsburgh.
“We appreciate (Detroit) having us,” Bills running back Boobie Dixon said. “I had fun and I think the other guys had fun. Now we can get out of here.”
Detroit is just 445 km from Buffalo through Canada and 577 km through the United States.
While 500 free tickets were snapped up by local fans for the game, there were plenty of fans sporting Bills’ blue in the stands that made the drive from New York and they got plenty to cheer about.
“We knew people from Buffalo would be here,” Dixon said. “They told us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram that they were going to be here. They really love us. They’ve been great all year and we knew they would get here.”
Buffalo used a short punt to score on its opening possession, which ended a streak of 21 straight drives without a score.
Orton found Robert Woods at the back of the end zone for a seven-yard touchdown. The second-year receiver had a big game with nine catches for 118 yards.
“He put it where only I could make the catch,” Woods said of Orton’s throw. “It was a busy week sitting at home and wondering if we were even going to play a game.”
The Jets’ only offence came on a 27-yard field goal from Nick Folk to cut the Bills lead to 7-3. Orton threw his second scoring pass of the half in the final minute. He hit tight end Scott Chandler with a 19-yard touchdown pass with 43 seconds left in the second quarter to put the Bills up 14-3 at the half.
“It felt like a home game for us,” Dixon said. “We kept the crowd in it and that helped.”
The Bills blew the game open in the third quarter. Dan Carpenter hit a 53-yard field goal to extend the lead to 17-3.
Jets punter Ryan Quigley had his punt blocked by Dixon and Manny Lawson recovered the ball in the end zone to put the Bills up 24-3.
Running back Fred Jackson followed with a five-yard score to put the Bills up 31-3 after three quarters.
“The win’s a great time for the City of Buffalo,” Woods said. “This one’s for them, for the City of Buffalo.”
Jackson’s score was set up by a Buffalo interception by Aaron Williams and Jets quarterback Michael Vick was shaken up after making the tackle.
Vick left the game shortly thereafter and was just seven-for-19 for 76 yards with the interception while being sacked five times.
“We’ve got some good pass rushers and kind of got the ball rolling a bit,” said Williams, who helped the Buffalo defence hold the Jets to 190 yards in total offence while recording seven sacks and the interception. “When we start feeling it, start getting the ball rolling a bit, we can have nights like that.”