Initial Reaction – One Mistake Too Many, Jets Lose Heartbreaker to Bills

Joe Caporoso with initial reaction to the New York Jets 22-17 loss to the Buffalo Bills

The New York Jets lost a painful one tonight to Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills, 22-17. This was a frustrating, sloppy game that the Jets had every chance to win in the second half and did not. They now sit at 5-4 and right in the middle of a muddled AFC Wild-Card Race. Let’s sift through the crap pile…

Devin Smith wasn’t a kick returner in college. Yet, he returned a kick tonight, foolishly chose to take the ball out of the end-zone despite it being kicked 5 yards deep into it, fumbled and handed the Bills 6 points. The Jets lost by 5 points tonight. Chris Ivory had the football ripped out of his hands, directly leading to 3 points. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw an interception into double coverage on 3rd and 18, directly leading to 3 points. You cannot make this many mistakes in a single game and expect to win, against anybody.

Yet, somehow the Jets found themselves down 22-17 with the ball inside the 5 yard line in the final minutes of the game. After being stuffed on 2nd down when trying to run the ball, they ran a short screen to Eric Decker which was sniffed out. (The Jets ran about 16 pass plays short of the first down marker or endzone in critical spots tonight). Then on fourth down, there appeared to be a miscommunication that led to a pass being attempted to a wide open Kellen Davis, who wasn’t even looking for the football. Game Over. An attempted comeback from being down 22-3 went down the drain, despite the Jets having a final attempt for a hail mary drive that ended with an interception.

This was the worst game of the year so far for Ryan Fitzpatrick (15/34, 193 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs) and for Brandon Marshall (3 catches, 23 yards, TD and a few drops). Eric Decker also had a critical drop but did finish with 6 catches for 85 yards and a touchdown. Chris Ivory got back on track with 99 yards on only 18 carries (and 36 receiving yards) but did have the previously mentioned fumble.

Defensively, the Jets struggled to stop the run, allowing LeSean McCoy to rack up 112 yards and 5.9 yards per carry. Karlos Williams cooked Demario Davis for a receiving touchdown, as Davis continues to be a weak link on this defense. Outside of an ugly drive to start the third quarter, the Jets defense played relatively well tonight led by Muhammad Wilkerson who had 2 sacks and spearheaded the charge of keeping Tyrod Taylor contained (158 yards passing, 12 yards rushing). Both Marcus Williams and Rontez Miles played well in extended roles. Buffalo scored 22 points tonight. 6 came from Devin Smith. 6 came directly off Jets turnovers in their own territory.

Chan Gailey was not at his best tonight, struggling to find a rhythm with play calls and making more than a few head scratching decisions with route design based on down and distance situations. Many are questioning Todd Bowles decision to go for a touchdown and the lead in the final few minutes but I’d rather see him coach aggressive, than conservative like he did last week. Why settle for two potential field goal attempts with a brand new kicker, playing for his first time in MetLife Stadium in November? You had 3 plays from the 5 yard line, you need to find a way to score a touchdown. Hindsight is 20/20, if Davis looks for the football (damn you, Kellen Davis), he is being praised for playing for the win.

Overall, the loss sucks because Rex just won his personal Super Bowl in MetLife Stadium and the Jets lost a winnable game to a .500 divisional rival. However, before you cancel the season remember the Jets are 5-4, the Bills are 5-4 (and going to New England next week), the Steelers are 5-4 (and have a hurt QB) and the Raiders are 4-4 (and hosting a good Minnesota team). The Jets have 10 days to get healthy before playing a beatable Houston team. Are the Jets a “good” team? I’m not so sure but they may be good enough to be 6-4 and leading the AFC Wild Card race 10 days from now.

…Kellen Davis. Damnit.

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the EVP of Content at Whistle Sports