The New York Jets had 10 days to prepare for their second division game of the season against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Coming off a frustrating 13-10 loss to the Patriots on Thursday Night Football, they delivered a 27-20 victory that honestly felt it should have been bigger, no thanks to some dumb penalties. Overall, they played very well.
Offense: Rookie QB Geno Smith had his best performance in his three game career, scoring three total touchdowns while accounting for 345 total yards, adding up to an 85.8 total QBR. He threw two more interceptions, one on an under thrown deep ball and the other in a crowd. Still, he should very good poise and made some great throws to receivers who could actually catch the damn ball. Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill both hauled in touchdown passes from Geno and accumulated over 100 yards.
Indeed, the offensive line played outstanding and gave Smith plenty of time to through and didn’t get him roughed up or shaken, allowing ZERO sacks against a great Buffalo defensive line. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was Bilal Powell and his career game, 149 yards on 27 carries. Overall, the offense got over 513 yards and scored 27 points. Easily their best performance of the year.
Grade: A-, only because of the penalties and turnovers
Defense: Rex Ryan’s defense looks like a monster again. They made Bills rookie QB EJ Manuel (just 19/42) run for his life, sacking him EIGHT times. Other than a 59 yard run by Fred Jackson, they were mostly able to keep Buffalo’s running game in check; C.J. Spiller had just nine yards. Guys who played best on defense include Muhammad Wilkerson (two sacks, it looks like he’s breaking out), David Harris, rookie DT Sheldon Richardson (a sack, two tackles for a loss), Damon Harrison and DeMario Davis. With a young CB replacing Darrelle Revis, it was key for the Front Seven to contain the running game and get to the young QB and they were able to do so. Other than the penalty assisted TD drive Buffalo could not move the ball at all on Sunday.
Special Teams: The Jets could not return anything on punts or kick offs on Sunday, but Nick Folk did his job, hitting a 47 yarder and a 34 yarder in two attempts and newly acquired punter Ryan Quigley was a bit more effective than Robert Malone was last week. They have to get the return game going, though, 71 total yards on six punts and kickoffs is unacceptable.
Coaching: Rex Ryan had one of his more forgettable games despite the victory. He wasted both challenges and two timeouts in a matter of a few plays in the second half, which came back to haunt them on the game-tying drive by Buffalo, as the Bills appeared to fumble on two separate occasions. The Jets set a franchise record with a whopping 20 penalties for 168 yards (that’s more than the Giants were able to pick up in their disgusting 38-0 loss to Carolina). The penalties kept Buffalo in the game especially Kyle Wilson who was called for three flags for 25 yards which set up the Bills’ game tying TD. Wilson wasn’t pulled until the damage was done despite his already bad play. Not the best day for Rex, but I know he will take the win.
Moving Forward: The Jets take on the Titans next week in Tennessee, where they were eliminated from playoff contention last season in a disgraceful performance on Monday Night Football. It’s a winnable game, but again, they can’t take them lightly. Stopping Chris Johnson is crucial. Their defense is decent, so Geno will have to look to cut down on the turnovers. That’s how Sanchez lost it last time they were here.