Elam, starting in place of injured safety Eric Smith, returned an interception thrown by Trent Edwards 92 yards for a touchdown, sparking a 26-17 win over the bumbling Buffalo Bills in a key midseason division matchup on Sunday.
The Jets (5-3) have won four of five and have caught the Bills in the division standings. Buffalo (5-3) has lost three of four and lost all the momentum it had generated following a 4-0 start.
Favre wasn’t exactly perfect a week after he threw three interceptions before securing a 28-24 win over Kansas City. Against Buffalo, he forced a throw to the left sideline and was intercepted by Jabari Greer, who returned it 42 yards for a touchdown that cut the Jets’ lead to 23-17 with under 11 minutes left.
Favre, though, responded by efficiently producing a 14-play, 65-yard drive that ate up nearly 9 minutes and ended with Jay Feely hitting a 31-yard field goal.
Kris Jenkins had two sacks, as the Jets got to Edwards five times.
Feely hit four of five attempts, while Thomas Jones also scored on a 7-yard run. Favre finished 19-of-28 for 201 yards.
The Bills are unraveling under Edwards, who has looked nothing like the poised quarterback that was among the NFL’s top-rated passers in the first month of the season.
Edwards went 24-of-35 for 289 with a touchdown, two interceptions and a fumble. It was Edwards’ first two turnovers that led to the Jets scoring 10 points and taking the lead for good.
Elam’s interception turned the tide—putting New York ahead 13-7—as time ran out in the first quarter. Facing third-and-goal from the 14, Edwards’ pass was easily intercepted as he attempted to force a pass through double-coverage to Roscoe Parrish.
Elam jumped the route and ran up the right sideline, barely making it into the end zone ahead of Bills running back Marshawn Lynch. Edwards’ fumble, when he was sacked by Darrelle Revis midway though the first quarter, didn’t help either, setting up Feely’s 26-yard field goal.
The Bills’ miscues made it easy for a Jets offense that spent a good portion of the first half on the sideline.
Buffalo controlled the ball for a stretch of 15:08, but was outscored 7-0 on Elam’s interception return. The Bills’ next drive ended when Fred Jackson was stuffed for no gain on a fourth-and-1 at the Jets 8.
During the two drives, Buffalo marched the ball 114 yards on 27 plays, but came away with no points.
The Bills were without three starters, including top pass rusher Aaron Schobel (left foot), who missed his third straight game. The Jets were minus leading tackler David Harris, who hurt his groin last week.