Despite a three game losing streak and facing a team widely considered a “playoff contender” the New York Jets dominated the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium tonight in a game that was not as close as the score indicated. This was a throwback 2009/2010 style Jets win, where they were carried on the backs of a dominant defensive effort and special teams performance, complemented by a power running game. They are now 4-5 on the season and remain on the outskirts of the wild card discussion in the AFC as they head into November.
There is always chatter about the potential of the Jets defensive line but tonight we saw the results on the field. Led by Muhammad Wilkerson who was back in his 2015 form, the Jets defensive front demolished Buffalo’s offensive line en route to 7 sacks. Outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins had the best game of his career, finishing with a pair of sacks, a forced fumble and a tackle for a loss. Leonard Williams also got on the board with his first sack (half sack) of the season, 5 total tackles and a tackle for a loss. Buffalo never had a chance on multiple plays thanks to the push the Jets were getting upfront. The defense also forced three turnovers, including rookie Marcus Maye ripping the ball out of tight end Nick O’Leary’s hands leading to a fumble recovered by Jamal Adams.
On special teams, the Jets won the field position battle all night thanks to another strong game from second year punter Lachlan Edwards. Chandler Catanzaro made his only kick of the night and they avoided any major mistakes like last week versus Atlanta.
Offensively, it was all about the running game. Matt Forte had his best game of the season finishing with 77 yards on 14 carries with 2 touchdowns. Bilal Powell added 74 yards on 9 carries. Josh McCown had his third rushing touchdown of the season on a 10 yard scramble in the first quarter. He had a quiet night throwing the football (14/20, 140 yards) but avoided turnovers and dropped in a perfect vertical route to Robby Anderson for his third touchdown in three weeks. Anderson paced the Jets with 48 receiving yards and continues to be their top playmaker on offense.
Despite his inconsistencies, Todd Bowles has now coached circles around NFL media darlings Adam Gase and Sean McDermott on separate occasions. The Jets are showing up every single week for him and have either won or played highly competitive football in every game since week 2. Barring some type of meltdown, it is likely both the GM and HC will be back next year and it is also likely McCown will remain the quarterback for the rest of the season.
The Jets get a struggling Tampa Bay team next week before their bye week and their schedule pivots to four highly challenging matchups. With 10 days to prepare, they have a good chance to be .500 in late November. Considering this roster, that is impressive work from this coaching staff. Tonight was also a good night for the front office and Mike Maccagnan, as we saw the potential of Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye, Darron Lee, Leonard Williams and Jordan Jenkins all playing well together.
A good night in MetLife Stadium for a young Jets team, who now has two dominant home wins over divisional rivals in their building.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com