Sep 15, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker (87) is tackled by Buffalo Bills strong safety Aaron Williams (23) after making a catch during the first half at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
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Stifled by Rex Ryan and his team a year ago, the New York Jets took wing in Buffalo and escaped with a 37-31 Thursday night win.
The New York Jets entered Thursday night’s game having lost five-straight games to their AFC East rivals from Orchard Park, New York. The Buffalo Bills swept the Green and White in 2015 by the identical score of 22-17.
That all ended thanks to the Jets’ 37-31 victory over Rex Ryan’s club. Todd Bowles’ team was impressive on offense and did just enough on defense to get their first win of the season.
Of course, a team rarely plays a perfect game. So what went right and what went wrong (if anything) with this club on the primetime stage. Moreover, what can we ultimately take away about the Jets as they move to 1-1 on the 2016 NFL season.
Sep 15, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) changes the play call during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. The Jets beat the Bills 37-31. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
What Went Right?
Hanging In There: New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick got off to a rough start on Thursday night. He fumbled once on the team’s opening series and looked erratic, to say the least. But the veteran signal-caller would settle down fairly quickly and the Buffalo secondary was ill-prepared. By the end of the first half Fitzpatrick has completed 12-of-17 passes for 211 yards and one touchdown (to Eric Decker). He finished the evening with 374 yards through the air.
Wide receivers Quincy Enunwa, Brandon Marshall, and Eric Decker each caught six passes and burned the Bills’ secondary deep on a regular basis. The latter finished with 126 yards and the aforementioned score, while Marshall (101) and Enunwa (92) put up big numbers too.
A few minutes into the game, it looked like it could be a long night for the well-traveled quarterback. Fitzpatrick had his issues with Ryan’s defense a year ago and it proved costly in the long run. Thursday night’s performance was one of retribution.
Sep 15, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) makes a tackle on Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy (25) during the second half at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
What Went Wrong?
Is This Man Still an Island?: Last week, we all saw the pictures of Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green getting the best of Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis on a post pattern. The catch was good for 54 yards and a score. Regardless of he was supposed to get help, the whispers began on whether the 10-year veteran was on the downside of his great career.
Less than 10 minutes into Thursday night’s game at Buffalo, Bills’ speedster Marquise Goodwin blew by the star defensive back for an 84-yard score (via Dan Hanzus of NFL.com)—giving his club what would be a 7-3 lead. So is anyone worried that Revis Island is about to be shut down for repairs?
“I stand in front of the world and I say: ‘Darrelle Revis is the best cornerback in this league.’ That’s what I say,” declared Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall on the NFL Network post-game show, via Darryl Slater of NJ.com. “That’s how you support a teammate. He’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer. That’s what he is.
“He’s going into Year 10. He gave up some big plays last week. But regardless of how he’s playing right now, he’s still the best. You’ll see him back to Revis Island, back to shutting guys down in a couple of weeks.”
The next couple of weeks will be interesting, to say the least. The Jets travel to Kansas City in Week 3, return to host the Seattle Seahawks and then have back-to-back road games against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals.
Sep 15, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) runs for a touchdown as Buffalo Bills strong safety Aaron Williams (23) pursues during the second half at New Era Field. The Jets beat the Bills 37-31. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
You had to like what you saw from head coach Todd Bowles and company as the Jets did what they wanted for most of the evening. They outgained their hosts by 100 total yards (493-393) and ran 21 more offensive plays (71-50) than the Bills.
While we have sang the praises of Ryan Fitzpatrick and the passing attack, you can’t ignore the steadiness of veteran running back Matt Forte. He carried a whopping 30 times for 100 yards and scored three times. Although he totaled just two catches for nine yards, the Jets were having such success throwing the ball downfield that there was no need to incorporate Forte as a receiver.
The bottom line is that the Jets went on the road, snapped a five-game losing streak to a divisional foe and now have more than a week to get ready for a trip to Kansas City—the first of four consecutive games against teams that reached the playoffs in 2015. There are some things to work out on defense, but this was a huge win for a number of reasons.