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DETROIT – The Buffalo Bills' impromptu trip to Detroit went about as well as they could have hoped.
The Bills routed the New York Jets 38-3 on Monday night, and the news from back in Buffalo was generally encouraging. The team now fully expects to host Cleveland next weekend at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
"The best thing that I said, and I told this to the players, and I've been dying to say it: I just want to go home," coach Doug Marrone said. "It's been a long, long week."
All the snow in the Buffalo area forced the Bills to head to Michigan for their "home" game against New York. They practiced at the Detroit Lions' facility and weren't sure what to expect when they showed up at Ford Field for the game, but there were plenty of Buffalo fans in the crowd of 56,044 — and the Bills looked inspired from the start.
The highlight might have come in the second quarter, when Scott Chandler caught a touchdown pass and then mimicked a shoveling motion in the end zone. If the city of Buffalo's resolve has been tested the last week, the Bills wanted to do their part to set an example.
"We want to be a representation of the city of Buffalo," Chandler said. "Hopefully we can continue to just persevere and be tough and win these games, because we know that the people back there in Buffalo, they're tough and they're going to be rising from this last week."
There was some concern that next weekend's game against the Browns might have to be moved, too, but Bills president Russ Brandon said before Monday's game that he expects Ralph Wilson Stadium to be ready.
Buffalo (6-5) has not made the playoffs since the 1999 season, but the Bills are only a game out of a wild card in the AFC.
Buffalo's Robert Woods had nine catches for a career-high 118 yards, including a stellar, one-handed catch along the sideline in the second quarter.
"After I made the one-handed catch, (quarterback Kyle Orton) came up to me and said, 'I'm coming to you every time pretty much, and find the holes in the defense,'" Woods said.
It was another forgettable performance for the Jets (2-9) in a season that shows no signs of turning around.
Here are a few things we learned from perhaps Buffalo's best performance of the season:
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT. OR NOT: If ever there were a game that called into question the benefit of extra preparation, this was it. The Jets were coming off an open date. The Bills hadn't played in a while either — their previous game was a Thursday night contest Nov. 13 — but the snow wreaked havoc with Buffalo's practice schedule. The Bills practiced last Monday, then couldn't take the field again until they arrived in the Detroit area Friday.
Yet it was the Jets who looked out of sorts throughout the game.
"These are professional football teams, and those guys weren't going to get out of shape in two days," New York coach Rex Ryan said. "We didn't think we were coming into this game with an advantage."
FINISHING DRIVES: The Bills entered with only 14 touchdowns on 36 drives inside an opponent's 20-yard line — a 38.9 percent success rate that ranked as the NFL's worst. Against the Jets, they scored touchdowns on all three trips to the red zone.
SMITH RETURNS: When the Jets lost 43-23 to the Bills last month, Ryan replaced Geno Smith with Michael Vick at quarterback. On Monday, Vick was pulled in the third quarter and replaced by Smith. Ryan said he noticed Vick was hobbling a bit.
"He was taking a lot of hits, so I wanted to give Geno a chance," Ryan said.
Vick went 7 of 19 for 76 yards. Smith was 10 of 12 for 89 yards, although the outcome was pretty well decided by the time he came in.
PASS RUSH: When the Bills beat the Lions in Detroit in early October, they carried defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz off the field. Schwartz was Detroit's coach last year before being fired.
His defense made quite an impression again Monday, finishing with seven sacks and an interception.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Buffalo scored a touchdown on a blocked punt, and its kickoff coverage was outstanding, holding the Jets to an average of 15 yards per return. New York started at its own 15 or worse after five Buffalo kickoffs.
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