With Chris Ivory gone, the Jets signed running back Matt Forte to a three-year deal in the offseason.
After Thursday’s performance, fans can now officially put Ivory in the back of their minds as Forte put on a show in one of the most fiercest rivalries in the NFL.
The 30-year-old scored three touchdowns and ran for 100 yards in the Jets’ 37-31 road victory at New Era Field. Forte also became the 13th player in Jets history to score three rushing touchdowns in a game.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick finally solved Rex Ryan’s defense as he lit up the Bills secondary for 374 yards and a touchdown Thursday night.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) September 16, 2016
The victory was that much sweeter for Fitzpatrick for not only beating a former team, but also overcoming the tough memories of last year’s season finale where the Jets were eliminated from playoff contention in a 22-17 loss at Buffalo. In that game, Fitzpatrick threw three interceptions on final three possessions of the game in the loss.
“I think it means a little bit more than a regular game because this was my life for four years being here,” Fitzpatrick told reporters after spending 2009-12 with the Bills. “But I’m more excited about our team and the way we responded in the second half.”
The Jets (1-1) bounced back from a season-opening loss to Cincinnati and snapped a five-game skid against their rivals.
Meanwhile, the Bills (0-2) are still winless as the hot seat continues to get warmer for Ryan who is in his second season as coach of the Bills after being fired by the Jets.
Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor looked like his old self after a bad opening week against the Baltimore Ravens. Taylor completed 18 of 30 passes for 297 yards and three touchdowns. Marquise Goodwin and Greg Salas were on the receiving end of several big passing plays. Goodwin scored on an 84-yard pass and Salas took one in from 71 yards.
Hall of Fame: The Bills honored Bruce Smith — the NFL career sacks leader and Hall of Famer — by retiring his jersey (No. 78) during halftime Thursday.
“I don’t know if I’m worthy or lucky enough for all this,” Smith told reporters before the game. Smith now joins Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly (No. 12), as the only players to have their numbers retired in Bills history.