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Spiller and defence help Bills beat Jets in season finale

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The Associated Press
12/30/2012 6:42:55 PM
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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Closing the season with a win was of little consolation to Buffalo safety Bryan Scott.

With the Bills eliminated from playoff contention long ago, Scott wasn't sure if a 28-9 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday would make a difference in determining the status of beleaguered coach Chan Gailey or any other changes that might be coming.

"The chips are going to fall where they may. Obviously, I don't know to what extent," said Scott, who scored on a 20-yard interception return. "This is one game. It's not any consolation as to what we wanted to get done this season."

Gailey was short on answers about his future.

"Let's talk about today," Gailey said, declining to say whether he's met with team owner Ralph Wilson, who was in Buffalo on Friday.

"Not a lot of jubilation," he said, referring to the mood of his players. "They were happy, but not excited."

At least they had a win to celebrate.

The Jets had nothing but pride to play for, too, and their performance did nothing in addressing questions now facing a turmoil-riddled team also bracing for an uncertain off-season.

Quarterback Mark Sanchez finished with yet another sloppy outing. Nor did he help the status of offensive co-ordinator Tony Sparano, who's expected to be released after one season. And questions remained about whether coach Rex Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum will be back.

"The future is going to be addressed at a different time," Ryan said. And yet, even Ryan had to acknowledge his disappointment.

"Six wins isn't up to anybody's expectations, for this team and certainly not mine," he said.

The Jets (6-10) closed their second season with three straight losses, and capped their worst finish since going 4-12 in 2007. They've now gone 14-18 since playing in successive AFC title games.

The Bills (6-10) snapped a three-game skid, but still finished fourth in the AFC East for a fifth straight time while extending their post-season drought to 13 years.

In three seasons under Gailey, they're 16-32 and 7-18 in their last 25 games since getting off to a surprising 5-2 start last year.

"There's going to be change, and we all know that," said Stevie Johnson, who finished with 111 yards receiving in becoming the first Bills player to surpass 1,000 yards in three straight years.

C.J. Spiller had 59 yards rushing and scored the go-ahead touchdown late in the second quarter on a 66-yard catch and run. Brad Smith scored on a 4-yard run, and Tashard Choice on 13-yard run for the Bills, who ended a six-game losing streak against the Jets.

Scott's interception was the first of two turnovers forced by a defence that had gone three games without one. And Buffalo limited the Jets' popgun attack to three field goals.

That was enough to cue the latest chorus of Sanchez's critics, and raise questions as to whether the 2009 first-round draft pick has worn out his welcome.

"We just didn't execute, and it starts with the quarterback," Sanchez said. "I have to be better. When you're inconsistent, it's tough to win in this league."

Sanchez went 17 of 35 for 205 yards, while throwing his 18th interception and also losing a fumble. That was reminiscent of his last start, two weeks ago, when he turned the ball over five times in a 14-10 loss at Tennessee.

The Jets trailed 14-9 at the half despite gaining more yards than Buffalo (204-132), getting more first downs (13-4) and holding a whopping edge in time of possession (23:15-6:45).

Sanchez was supposed to be on the bench on Sunday, and only got the start after third-stringer Greg McElroy complained of concussion-like symptoms on Thursday.

"I know I'm better than this," said Sanchez. "I'm contracted to be here. And I want to be here."

Time will tell on Sanchez, Sparano and that of backup quarterback Tim Tebow, who did little to justify the hype he received after arriving in New York in an off-season trade with Denver.

This was not the finish anyone expected of the Jets. They opened the season with a 48-24 win over the Bills, and closed it by combining for 60 points in their final five games.

This is not the finish many expected for the Bills, either. They also opened the season with aspirations of being a bona fide contender after their defence was supposed to have been improved with the addition of high-priced defensive end Mario Williams.

"The win doesn't change how the season went as far as reaching our team goals," safety George Wilson said. "But, at the end of the day, we're able to go into the off-season on a winning note.

NOTES: The Bills had the sticker "WWFD" on the back of their helmets, honouring two West Webster Fire Department firefighters who were shot and killed while responding to a fire in the Rochester, N.Y., suburb on Monday. ... Jets PK Nick Folk kicked three field goals, including a 47-yarder, and also had a 30-yard attempt blocked by DT Marcell Dareus. ... Bills PK Rian Lindell missed wide left from 50 and 46 yards.

C.J. Spiller (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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