The Buffalo Bills paid a physical price Sunday for clinching the AFC East Division.
One Bill paid twice: cornerback Derrick Burroughs.
First, he suffered an injury to his jaw when he tried to tackle the Jets' Freeman McNeil in the first quarter. Burroughs left the game, X-rays were taken and he was cleared to play. But he didn't return until midway in the third quarter.
Then, in causing Roger Vick's fumble in overtime, Burroughs suffered an ankle injury and was hobbling badly after the game. Wayne Davis took his place.
Free safety Mark Kelso left the game late in third quarter with a concussion and never returned. Sherman Cocroft played the rest of the way.
Special teams standout Steve Tasker suffered a knee injury when a player fell on him while Tasker was making a tackle on a kick return in the second half.
Fullback Jamie Mueller suffered an ankle injury in the second half and did not return. Carl Byrum finished at fullback.
Linebacker Shane Conlan suffered a foot injury late in the game and was in extreme pain.
Sometimes when Cornelius Bennett talks, Bills coach Marv Levy listens.
After Sunday's game, Levy was going through the usual procedure of announcing who had been awarded the game balls.
"We gave one to Carlton Bailey for his kick coverage and we were about to award some more when Cornelius jumped in and said we should give balls to the whole darn team if he has to buy the bleep-bleep things himself.
"I didn't argue with that one."
The bad feelings between the teams apparently began when James Hasty made a head-high tackle on Bills quarterback Jim Kelly as he scrambled out of bounds in the first quarter. Kelly and Hasty talked after the game.
"He just apologized to me after the game," Kelly said. "He said 'You know, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hit you over there.'
"And I said, 'Hey, just play football. You'll be a lot better off. You're a good football player, just go out and play football.' Whether he takes my advice, who knows?"
Hasty came up with the only interception Kelly threw at the Jets' 2 in the first quarter.
"I put a little too much air on it and it was intercepted," Kelly said.
Bills kicker Scott Norwood said he was surprised his 47-yard field-goal attempt, which hit the crossbar near the end of the first half, didn't go between the uprights.
"I can pretty much tell if it has the distance and I was surprised it didn't," said Norwood. He was about to try a 42-yarder but tackle Will Wolford (No. 73), not Howard Ballard (No. 75) as announced by Referee Dick Hantak over his microphone, jumped the snap count. The ball was moved back five yards and the penalty probably cost the Bills three points.
Norwood has hit 28 of 32 kicks this season and has 108 points. The last Bills player to top 100 points in a season was O.J. Simpson, who had 138 in 1975.
The Bills' 229 yards rushing was a season high and their second straight game over the 200-yard mark. . . . Bennett has recovered three fumbles this season. . . . Robb Riddick, with 103 yards, went over the century mark in rushing for the third time in his career. The two previous times were in 1986 against Kansas City (118) and Pittsburgh (108).
"It's a start," Riddick said of the Bills qualifying for the playoffs for the first time since 1981.
The next goal is to wrap up home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
"We'd like to have everybody come here and fight the elements as well as we have to," Riddick said.
"It was great. People were waiting a long time. We were waiting a long time," said nose tackle Fred Smerlas of the title clincher. "I'll tell you what: There's nothing sweeter than to win in front of the home crowd. We deserved it and Buffalo deserved it. We had that welcome sign on our back for so many years it's about time we get EastDivisionit washed off."
Andre Reed of the Bills and Al Toon of the Jets, who have been among the AFC leaders in pass receptions all season, each had five catches for 56 yards in the game. Toon has 63 receptions on the season. Reed has 58.
The father of defensive end Bruce Smith remained in serious condition in Mercy Hospital's cardiac-care unit Monday after suffering an apparent heart attack.