It might be time to accept that the Jets will only play ugly games this season, but they survived their own disciplinary issues to hold off the Buffalo Bills, 27-20, in Week 03 to improve to 2-1.
By the end of the first half, it looked like the Jets were going to cruise to an easy victory. They led 17-6 at the half, opening the game with a touchdown drive capped by rookie quarterback Geno Smith running eight yards up the middle into the end zone and converting another score later in the half on a perfectly thrown ball to Stephen Hill for a 51 yard touchdown pass.
Even with Smith throwing an interception in his own end and a few miscues, the Jets defense held the Bills to field goals.
The second half is when things began to unravel. After two bad challenges from Rex Ryan and the Jets coaching staff, the Bills only touchdown of the game came during a comically sloppy series from the Jets defense. The Jets managed to negate two fumble recoveries and Kyle Wilson might have surpassed Clyde Gates on Jets fans’ “Most Hated” list. Wilson committed a number of fouls that cost the Jets multiple stops.
He was finally pulled, but it was too late. The Bills scored a TD and converted the two point attempt to tie the game at 20-20.
Although he threw another interception earlier in the half, on the drive after Buffalo’s touchdown, Smith bounced back to complete a 69 yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes, taking back the lead for good, 27-20, early in the fourth.
The Jets offense had some bugs – including a miscommunication between Smith and center Nick Mangold which resulted in Bilal Powell chasing the ball deep into the backfield – but looked better today.
Chris Ivory left the game with an injury in the first quarter, and Powell hauled the load for the Jets, with 27 carries for 149 yards. Stephen Hill and Santonio Holmes both had 100 yard receiving games. Holmes had five receptions for 154 yards and Hill had three receptions for 108 yards.
Geno Smith finished the game 16 of 29 for 331 yards with two touchdowns, two interceptions, and a QB rating of 89.9.
The Jets defense, aside from the drive in which Kyle Wilson personally helped the Bills score their lone touchdown, held firm today. They bailed the offense out on all their miscues, and knocked Bills rookie quarterback EJ Manuel off his feet good and hard, dialing up the pressure and recording eight sacks. Buffalo had allowed one sack in the previous two games.
The Jets were sloppy today – sloppier than we’ve seen them all season and sloppier than we’ve seen them in years – committing a team record of 20 penalties for 168 yards. That is obviously something that has to change if the Jets want to continue winning. They won’t be playing the Bills every week.
The Jets visit Tennessee next Sunday for Week 04. Kickoff is at 4:05.