Freeman McNeil rushed for a team-record 192 yards and two touchdowns Sunday as the New York Jets bounced back from last week’s 31-0 loss to the Raiders and beat the Buffalo Bills, 42-3.
“Freeman was playing like Superman out there,” said Jet quarterback Ken O’Brien.
Said tackle Marvin Powell: “Freeman was super. What more can you expect from him? It’s a pleasure to block for a super back like that.”
McNeil credited the return of holdouts Powell and tackle Reggie McElroy for his biggest day as a pro.
“When you mention the day I had today, I’d like the offensive line and the quarterback to be mentioned, too,” McNeil said. “They are as much the story as I am.
“With them here (Powell and McElroy), there was a renewed confidence in our total team. The older guys knew what they had to do, and had the confidence to do it. And the younger guys just picked it up from them.”
In addition to his touchdown runs of six and 13 yards in the second quarter, McNeil raced 69 yards on the first play of the second half for his longest career run from scrimmage.
He broke the Jets’ single-game rushing record of 180 yards, set by Matt Snell in 1964.
New York (1-1) also was helped by Buffalo’s inept offense, which continuously drew penalties and failed to score a touchdown for the second straight week.
The Jets intercepted four Vince Ferragamo passes, including one Kerry Glenn returned 15 yards for a touchdown in the third period.
The 39-point victory margin equaled the Jets’ biggest ever, set in 1966 against Houston.
The Bills, who did not score a touchdown last week in a 14-9 loss to San Diego, grabbed a 3-0 lead when Scott Norwood kicked a 32-yard field goal.
But the Jets broke the game open with 21 points in the second quarter as McNeil scored twice and O’Brien completed a seven-yard touchdown pass to Kurt Sohn.
Three plays following McNeil’s 69-yard run in the third quarter, O’Brien passed to Tony Paige in the end zone for a two-yard score, making it 28-3.
Glenn’s interception gave the Jets a 35-3 margin, and Paige scored from the three early in the fourth period.
O’Brien, who completed 16 of 24 passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns in just under three quarters of play, while Ferragamo, who was obtained from the Rams during the summer, was 16 of 30 for 150 yards, before being replaced by Bruce Mathison in the fourth quarter.
It was the Bills’ 10th straight road loss.