ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – The Buffalo Bills won’t be able to keep Kelly Holcomb a secret much longer.

Getting his second straight start in place of J.P. Losman, the veteran backup had two touchdown passes in leading the Bills to a 27-17 win over the New York Jets on Sunday.

Willis McGahee had a career-high 143 yards rushing and a score, while receivers Eric Moulds and Jonathan Smith also scored touchdowns for Buffalo (3-3). The Bills defense had five sacks and forced three turnovers, including Terrence McGee’s interception in the end zone with 3 minutes remaining.

Holcomb finished 18-of-26 for 172 yards, winning his second straight game after the Bills lost three straight under Losman, who struggled in starting the first four games this season.

Bills coach Mike Mularkey has tried to keep opponents off-balance by not announcing his starting quarterback the last two weeks. Holcomb, however, earned his second start after going 20-of-26 for 169 yards in Buffalo’s win over Miami last weekend.

Against the Jets, Holcomb also threw two interceptions, including a costly one that allowed the Jets to cut the lead to 24-17 late in the third quarter.

But he was efficient when it mattered, turning around what had been a sputtering offense. The 27 points are a season-high for Buffalo, and McGahee’s 1-yard plunge 9 minutes into the third quarter was the team’s first second-half touchdown of the season.

Curtis Martin led the Jets with a season-high 148 yards rushing and caught two passes for 3 yards, becoming the seventh player to gain 17,000 yards from scrimmage with a 41-yard run in the third quarter.

Martin, who was averaging 57 yards rushing a game, also had 49-yard gain, his longest since Dec. 14, 2003.

The Jets (2-4) have lost five straight road games dating to last season.

Vinny Testaverde was inconsistent making his second start since the quarterback-depleted Jets signed the 19-year veteran last month. He finished 12-of-26 for 161 yards and two interceptions, and scored on a 1-yard plunge. It was the 14th rushing touchdown of his career.

The game turned at the beginning of the second half with Buffalo ahead 17-10.

The Jets were threatening at the Buffalo 20 and Testaverde had time in the pocket. But he made a bad read, throwing an interception directly into the hands of linebacker Angelo Crowell.

The Bills responded with a 10-play, 82-yard drive, capped by McGahee’s 1-yard plunge.

The Jets pulled to within seven points on Testaverde’s score, but Holcomb sealed the win by marching Buffalo 56 yards on 10 plays – eating up nearly 6 minutes of the clock – to set up Rian Lindell’s 38-yard field goal with 6 minutes remaining. The best play was Holcomb hitting tight end Mark Campbell for a 24-yard reception to convert second-and-14.

Lindell also hit a 50-yarder, his longest in two-plus seasons with Buffalo.

AP-ES-10-16-05 1936EDT


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