A couple weeks removed from the 30th anniversary of the epic, Joe Pisarcik-Larry Csonka fumble that led to the development of the victory formation and launched Herm Edwards’ coaching career (note to Piarcik: Thanks! You made “You play … to win … the game!” possible!), the Meadowlands coughed up a fitting encore to ‘The Fumble’, courtesy of J.P. Losman. As a result, the Jets escaped with a season-saving, 31-27 win over Buffalo and Bills fans (as well as Dolphins and Patriots backers) were left to lick their wounds and shake their heads.
(Meet the aftermath of ‘The Fumble 2′: Last Blood.)
In case you missed it, here’s how it all went down: Buffalo had the ball and a 27-24 lead with less than two mintues left. Rather than keep the ball on the ground — where running back Marshawn Lynch had been punishing the Jets defense all game (he finished with 127 yards on 21 carries, for God’s sake) — Bills coach Dick “I’ll be looking for a new job in two weeks” Jauron decided to try and pass the ball. That might not seem insane, except for the fact that the call came on a second-and-five with the ball within Buffalo’s own 20 yard line! That’s right. Rather than call two more running plays for a likely first down, Jauron tried to pass, had his quarterback fumble and saw the return taken into the end zone.
You see where this is going. Losman dropped back, was crunched by a punishing sack from Abram Elam and let go of his third fumble of the game, which was promptly scooped up by Shaun Ellis and return to the end zone for a game-winning touchdown. Game-set-match, Jets. Someone go give Jauron tbe dunce cap and tell him to sit in the corner.
All of that caps a game which kept the Bills at a complete 0-fer against the AFC East this season. After a promising start, Buffalo will miss the playoffs because they’re currently
0-7 0-5 (yes, you got us: we’re occasionally mathematical idiots) against teams within their own division, a stunning rate of futility for a team that was a trendy sleeper to make it deep into the playoffs earlier this year.
The reincarnation of “The Fumble” also may have saved the career of Eric Mangini, the Jets coached once dubbed “the Mangenius” who has come under significant fire in the New York press as his team faded with two straight losses before this week’s matchup with the Bills. In a year in which Mangini was gifted Brett Favre and Kris Jenkins, a serious contender for defensive player of the year, his team is on the outskirts of the playoff picture, needing to win out and get help from the same Buffalo team it just beat to win the division and earn a direct spot on its own.
If that actually happens now, as unlikely as it may seem, the Jets will have two teams to thank: the Bills and the Giants. After all, there’s no way residual karma for one New York team or the other didn’t have something to do with Ellis’ return. The similarities and time line are just too eerie.