On Sunday the New York Jets beat the Buffalo Bills 28-24 at MetLife Stadium. The win moves Gang Green to 6-5, and keeps the team in contention for a playoff berth. Here are some of my notes from the game, which is one the Jets could have very easily lost due to their sloppy performance.
Offensive line- The New York Jets offensive line played very well on Sunday opening holes for the running game (138 rushing yards) and keeping a relatively clean pocket for quarterback Mark Sanchez. Head coach Rex Ryan stated that this was the best performance by the offensive line in a long time, but considering that Buffalo does not have a legit pass rusher I would not start throwing bouquets around.
Gutty Greene- Running back Shonn Greene was tremendous on Sunday playing through injured ribs and tallying 78 yards. Greene was often slow getting up after contact, but continued his physical style of play the entire game.
Dustin Keller- Jets tight end Dustin Keller had a solid game on Sunday as he had 4 catches for 61 yards and 2 touchdowns. Keller’s size and athletic ability gives opposing linebackers and safeties fits and it remains mind boggling why the Jets do not get him involved in the offense more often.
Plaxico Burress- Another big game for Plaxico Burress ( 4 catches, 54 yards, 1 td) as he made a circus like catch in the fourth quarter that probably saved the game for Gang Green. Burress does an excellent job using his athletic ability and body size to make extraordinaire catches.
Shaky Sanchez- This game was a tale of two halves for quarterback Mark Sanchez (17/35, 180 4 tds). In the first half of the game Mark Sanchez was awful, making terrible reads and throws. Sanchez looked like a beaten quarterback in the pocket and played with zero confidence. In the second half Mark got some of his mojo back and made some big throws with the game on the line, including a game winning touchdown to Santonio Holmes.
At some point I would love to know what quarterback coach Matt Cavanaugh and Mark Sanchez work on during the week. Sanchez continues to make the same mistakes with bad reads and errant throws. If I were an opposing defense I would stack the box and force Mark Sanchez to beat me.
Pass defense- The New York Jets defense did not play all that well on Sunday, especially against the pass. Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was routinely finding open receivers which means there was either coverage or communication issues. And covering the tight end was once again an issue as Steve Chandler beat the Jets for 6 catches and 50 yards.
With the game on the line the Bills best wide receiver Steve Johnson was inexcusably left wide open twice, but luckily for the Jets he dropped both passes.
Mayhem Maybin- Linebacker Aaron Maybin had another strong game against his former team tallying 2 sacks while generating a consistent pass rush. Maybin’s explosive nature is something that this defense desperately needed.
Revis challenged- Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick traveled to Revis Island on Sunday and came back with a pretty good vacation. Fitzpatrick hit wide receiver Steve Johnson several times with slant patterns in front of the All-Pro corner, including for a touchdown. It will be interesting to see if teams will try the same approach going forward against Darrelle.
Defensive line- The New York Jets defensive line led by Sione Pouha and Muhammad Wilkerson had another solid game, especially against the run. The defensive line controlled the line of scrimmage all but neutralizing the Bills running game.
A win is a win in the NFL, but this is a game the New York Jets very easily could have lost. Mark Sanchez was shaky at best on Sunday and the defense is very lucky that Steve Johnson dropped a couple of passes late in the game. If Gang Green wants to make any type of run at a post season berth they need to clean up their mistakes and play at a higher level. The Jets margin for error has been eliminated, especially with teams like the Bengals, Broncos, and Titans continuing to win.