*Updated, 6:07 p.m. ET
*It was the last game of a disappointing 2016 campaign, but the Jets wanted to ring out the old and ring in the new year with a mini-springboard performance today.
So with Bilal Powell in his arsenal but no Brandon Marshall (inactive), QB Ryan Fitzpatrick got the offense moving, while Jordan Jenkins and Sheldon Richardson executed third-quarter takeaways to provide 10 points to the offense.
The end result was the Jets' 30-10 victory over the Bills, lifting the Green & White's final record to 5-11, dropping Buffalo's to 7-9, and giving the Jets their first sweep of their AFC East rivals since 2011.
"It was real important for us," Bowles said of the win. "We all have a bad taste in our mouth that probably still won't leave, but for today, in finishing the game and the season the right way, it was a plus."
Bowles confirmed that he has been notified that he will continue with general manager Mike Maccagnan in running the Jets' football operations for a third season together in 2017.
"A lot of things have to change," the coach said. "Every season is different. Obviously, we want to be healthy and get healthy. We have to make plays in the fourth quarter. We have to get off to a better start."
Here are 11 observations as the game unfolded before an enthusiastic New Year's Day crowd at MetLife Stadium:
1. The Bilal Show
Bilal Powell showed no ill effects from his knee injury that held him out of the first two practices during the week. He burst free for 23 yards on the Jets' first play of the game and then added a 4-yard run to reach 1,000 yards from scrimmage on the nose two plays in. Powell went on to rack up 88 YFS in the first half alone and 137 for the game.
2. Mo, Mo, Mo
Muhammad Wilkerson upped his totals to 4.5 sacks for the season and 41 for his career with a shoetop trip of QB EJ Manuel on the Bills' second possession. With the ensuing short punt return to the Jets 42, the Green & White were enjoying an early field position advantage.
3. Fourth ... and Short
The Jets brought in a heavy-duty run package to go for it on fourth-and-1 at the Bills 14. But the right side got no push on the Bills line as LB Preston Brown and former Jets DL Leger Douzable brought down Powell for no gain. And the Jets' red zone drought extended to seven straight possessions without a touchdown.
4. 'Q' Up the Red Zone TD
But that's where the slump stopped. A nifty 51-yard completion from Ryan Fitzpatrick off a deft play fake to Quincy Enunwa down the right sideline sent the hosts moving right back into the red zone, and this time they capitalized with Fitz's 2-yard rollout toss to Powell with 9:28 left in the half for a 7-0 lead.
Top Photos from the Week 17 Matchup in MetLife Stadium
5. Bills Awake
The visitors finally moved the ball across midfield and into the Jets' red zone. But some good defense plus an off-line Manuel throw to Charles Clay on a busted third-down coverage held Buffalo to Dan Carpenter's 34-yard field goal and the Jets still led, 7-3, right after the two-minute warning.
6. Jets AnswerIt wasn't the TD that Bowles and Chan Gailey would want in the last 1:45 of the first half, but Fitzpatrick and the offense did drive again into the red zone and left enough time for Nick Folk's 30-yard field goal and a 10-3 lead at the intermission. It was Folk's second FG in the last two minutes of the half in the last three games and the Jets' fourth first-half two-minute score this season.
7. Jalin Gets Rollin'
Jalin Marshall, playing for the first time in five games, continued to struggle on first-half returns. But then the free agent rookie opened the second half with a decent 32-yard kickoff return and added a career-long 19-yard punt return shortly after to give the Jets their first drive start in Bills territory. The Green & White failed to capitalize, moving to fourth-and-1 at the Bills 10, then going for it and getting stoned again by the Buffalo front. But Jalin wasn't done ...
8. Taking and Receiving
The Jets didn't suffer long from their second fourth-down shortcoming. Newly acquired LB Corey Lemonier, playing in the nickel, came free and he and Jordan Jenkins crushed Manuel in the pocket. After a Bowles challenge, ref Jeff Triplette reversed the sack into a Jenkins strip sack and fumble recovery at the Bills 13. Soon after, it was Fitz to Jalin Marshall, who stretch and broke the plane for a 6-yard score, the second TD of his rookie season.
9. When It Rains...
Suddenly, the turnovers were bouncing the Jets' way. Sheldon Richardson stripped RB Jonathan Williams and recovered at the Buffalo 32. Another piercing of the red zone resulted before Folk added a 36-yarder for a 20-3 lead with one second to play in the third frame. It was the Jets' largest lead in a game since opening a 27-point margin against the Titans in Game 13 last season.
10. ... It Pours
A Cardale Jones tipped pass found Darrelle Revis' arms and the veteran CB took his first pick of the season 51 yards — his longest return since a 64-yarder vs. San Diego at MetLife in 2011 — to the Bills 3, from where the Jets settled for Folk's third FG and a 23-3 lead. And the takeaways and the scoring weren't done...
11. Buffalo Blunder
On the ensuing bouncing Folk kickoff, the Bills failed to cover the ball as it rolled into the end zone. But Doug Middleton did — and the rookie safety with a penchant for big plays in the preseason made one in the regular-season finale, falling on the loose ball for the gift TD and a 30-3 lead. It was the Green & White's first special teams TD since Antonio Allen recovered a blocked punt for a score against the Raiders in 2013, and thus ended a 50-game drought in that category.
And although it didn't tecnhically count as a takeaway since the Bills never touched the live ball, the Jets wound up with a plus-3 in the turnover margin today, another area of small progress. A late Buffalo TD did nothing to take the edge off of a win that didn't help the 2016 season but at least started the new year off on the right foot.