The New York Jets are never going to make it easy, but they handled business tonight in Buffalo with a 37-31 victory. This was a roller coaster of a game but the team stabilized on both sides of the ball midway through the third quarter and ran an inferior Bills team off the field. All divisional wins are important, especially ones on the road during a short week. This was a big win for the Jets and one they can take plenty of learnings from in the next ten days while they prepare for the Kansas City Chiefs. Let’s quickly break it down…
Offensively, the Jets put on a show. Outside of a Jalin Marshall fumble returned for a touchdown and an early redzone sputter, they were basically unstoppable. Ryan Fitzpatrick played arguably his best game since coming here, racking up 374 yards passing while going 24/34 with a TD. The Jets triplets (yes, they are triplets now) lit up an overmatched Bills secondary. Brandon Marshall overcame what looked to be a scary knee injury and compiled 101 yards on 6 catches, Eric Decker led the way with 128 yards and another touchdown and Quincy “Voltron’ Enunwa set the tone early with a monster first half, finishing with 92 yards on 6 catches. There is not a more improved player on the Jets roster than Enunwa and he has become a huge alternative option to Marshall and Decker.
Outside of that, Jalin Marshall bounced back from his fumble for 3 big receptions for 45 yards, including a critical late game third down conversion. Matt Forte remained the Jets sole workhorse, taking 30 carries for 100 yards and 3 touchdowns. This is not a running back by committee as the Jets have surprisingly opted not to use Bilal Powell at all on early downs. He had only 1 carry tonight.
James Carpenter left in the second quarter with an injury but backup Wesley Johnson filled in admirably for him and was supported by another strong game from Brian Winters, Nick Mangold, Ryan Clady and the Jets right tackle platoon. This unit has overachieved the first two weeks against two quality defensive lines.
Defensively…good lord the deep passes. Darrelle Revis was beat by Marquise Goodwin for a 84 yard touchdown. Greg ‘Freakin Salas caught a 71 yard touchdown on a busted play and they allowed a garbage time touchdown when in prevent defense. The inability to stop the big passing play is something that has to be cleaned up before teams like Pittsburgh, Arizona and Seattle appear on the schedule.
As bright spots, rookie Darron Lee was all over the field and will likely now inherit a bigger role with Erin Henderson injured. Marcus Williams had a huge second half interception and the defensive line generally bottled up LeSean McCoy. They also came up with a big stop on a 4th and 1 after Rex Ryan foolishly wasted a time out to fake a second consecutive EJ Manuel quarterback sneak.
Todd Bowles still has plenty to clean up, namely how the Jets defend the deep passing game and when he chooses to go for two, along with a few other game management decisions. Yet, he is young in his career with potential to grow, learn and get better.
Across the sideline Rex Ryan and his team are a train wreck of mediocrity and Jets fans should be grateful he is no longer the coach. He is now 26-43 in his last 69 games and hired his brother, who is statistically one of the worst defensive coordinators in NFL history…it showed tonight as the Bills defense has went from one of the league’s best under Jim Schwartz to the steaming pile of trash it is now.
It is always better to learn from a win, than a loss. The Jets get that chance the next 10 days. Everybody root for Miami on Sunday and then on to Kansas City…
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com