The New York Jets season ended in excruciating fashion today with a 22-17 loss to the Buffalo Bills, which knocked them out of the AFC Playoffs despite a 10-6 record. The Jets couldn’t overcome a sluggish start thanks to three second half interceptions from Ryan Fitzpatrick and porous third down defense. Today was a team wide failure. All three phases and the coaching staff laid an egg, as many coaches and players who have put together very good to great seasons picked an awful time to have a bad day at the office.
As a rookie Head Coach, Todd Bowles did strong work assembling a staff, navigating a mid-season crisis and getting this team to ten wins. Yet, today the Jets played undisciplined, didn’t adjust to Sammy Watkins shredding Darrelle Revis and couldn’t manage the clock properly, namely at the end of the first half. He also didn’t have a good answer post-game as to why Chris Ivory was so criminally underused compared to an ineffective Stevan Ridley. Offensive Coordinator Chan Gailey needs to be accountable for Ivory’s lack of touches as well and struggled with his red-zone playcalling, after it being an area of strength for the Jets all year.Ryan Fitzpatrick quickly became a fan favorite this season by bringing competent play to a position that has sorely lacked it. Yet, today he showed why he has been a journeyman for his entire career and the team has to be cautious about exactly how much money they invest him. He finished 16/37 for 181 yards with 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, including a back breaking 2nd down interception in the end-zone, with the Jets down 19-17 and well in field goal range in the 4th quarter. He then ended two separate game winning drive attempts with an interception.
The Jets stumbled earlier in the second half on a red-zone opportunity thanks to a Quincy Enunwa drop and inexplicably dialing up a Ridley handoff and two targets for Enunwa after recovering a fumble that set them up at the Bills 20 yard line. The Jets formula for success this year has generally been funneling the ball to Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and Chris Ivory but they got away from it too often at times today, particularly when it came Ivory. It was baffling to watch.
Defensively, the Jets couldn’t get off the field on third down and their “money” players did not show up. Darrelle Revis was beat up and down the field by Sammy Watkins and the coaching staff did not adjust to give him help. The Jets defensive line got no pressure on Tyrod Taylor and could not contain him running the football. To make matters worse, Muhammad Wilkerson suffered a broken leg in the fourth quarter further complicating his upcoming negotiations with the Jets as both sides work to figure out some type of resolution. The Jets looked slow in the front seven, missed tackles and were flagged for penalties at the worst possible time.
The special teams contributed their usual negativity. A Ryan Quigley shanked punt directly led to the Bills first touchdown. Their coverage was spotty all day and they were unable to ever flip field position with a big return. Randy Bullock missed a first half field goal attempt as well.Overall, it leaves a bad taste in the mouth of what was largely an enjoyable and entertaining season. All it takes is one loss to wipe away the memories of a five game winning streak. This team is headed in the right direction after four rudderless, redundant years from 2011-2014 but it impossible not to be wildly disappointed with missing the opportunity to compete in this year’s AFC playoff field.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com