The Jets won a close game, 27-20, a game that should have been a blowout due to the dominating Jets defense for three quarters of the game. The Jets set a team record with 20 penalties for over 150 yards and somehow still won the ballgame. The offense started off hot before fizzling out in the second half. The highlight of the second half was when E.J. Manuel led his team down the field for the tie at 20, Geno Smith threw a 69 yard touchdown to Santonio Holmes to give them the lead for good. The defense held and the Jets are 2-1 on the season.
Game Ball: Santonio Holmes 5 receptions, 154 yards, 69-yard game-winning TD
Geno Smith threw for 331 yards on 16/29. He threw for two touchdowns and also ran for one on a quarterback draw. Bilal Powell ran for a career high 149 yards on 27 carries. Chris Ivory re-injured his hamstring on the first series of the game so the Jets leaned heavily on Powell to lead the run game. Alex Green, a recent waiver pickup from the Green Bay Packers chipped in with 5 carries for 14 yards. The Jets offense totaled 5 13 yards, easily the most in Rex Ryan’s tenure as a head coach.
The receivers came to play yesterday. Besides Holmes 154 yards, Stephen Hill had 3 receptions for 108 yards and a touchdown. Having Jeremy Kerley back was a plus also, catching 2 balls for only 25 yards, but one was on a key 3rd and 17 first down on the first drive of the game. The Jets had a game plan of throwing the ball down field versus the Bills. Smith threw early and often down the field, challenging a injury-riddled secondary. Once Leodis McKelvin went down, the Jets picked on 3rd year corner Justin Rogers, who gave up both long Jets touchdowns in man-to-man coverage. In future games, Smith needs to utilize his tight ends more in the pass game. Jeff Cumberland had three catches, two of them late in the game, but Kellen Winslow was only targeted once on a play that the Bills got called for pass interference. The tight ends know how to get open in this offense and Winslow’s experience along with Cumberland’s athleticism make them weapons that the Jets need to target more often.
Rex Ryan challenged a 3rd down and 1 spot after Bilal Powell was clearly stopped behind the line. It was unnecessary and impulsive. Anyone watching the game could tell that Ryan didn’t know whether to take a timeout or not, so he threw a challenge flag instead. Ultimately, he was wrong and it cost him a timeout that could’ve been useful later in the game. Vlad Ducasse, coming off easily his best game as a professional, struggled versus the Bills, committing four penalties including two false starts.
D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Austin Howard did an excellent job containing Mario Williams (4.5 sacks vs. Carolina last week) and the rest of the Bills defensive line. The Bills had zero sacks, a week after having 6 as a team. On top of containing the pass rush, the Jets rushed for 182 yards and the offensive line created big lanes for the running backs all game long.
Game Ball: Defensive Line, 4 sacks (8 total), 6 tackles for loss.
Once again the Jets defensive front seven played well. The defensive line was in the backfield all game long, causing eight sacks and forcing Manuel to tuck the ball and run four times (6 carries total for 40 yards). David Harris and Demario Davis continued their excellent play, combining for 13 tackles and 2 sacks. The secondary, in general, was good. There were two coverage blunders, one that cost the team the game-tying touchdown, but Cromartie was solid, and the safeties Antonio Allen, Dawan Landry, and Jaiquawn Jarrett played physical and had two sacks as a group.
On a negative note, the linebackers and defensive line got called for three encroachment penalties, two of them were 3rd and less than 5 yards, giving the Bills an automatic first down. Kyle Wilson, the 1st round bust from 2010, committed four penalties on four consecutive plays. Rex Ryan continued to allow him to play after the first two penalties and it almost cost them the ballgame. Wilson single-handedly led the Bills down the field for the game-tying drive. Wilson committed 45 yards worth of penalties and it would’ve been 60 if not for an offsetting penalty call. Ryan finally pulled Wilson for a series, but then put him back in the game, where he should’ve been called for another pass interference that the referees let go. Jets fans know that Ryan loves to play his favorites, Wilson included, and for that reason he deserves flak for allowing Wilson to come back into the game. Darrin Walls has been solid in the secondary and, in the little bit of time that Dee Milliner played, he blanketed receivers when he was challenged.
Jets fans would’ve loved to see Milliner or Walls play more. Kyle Wilson is not a good cornerback in this league, and if the Jets continue to play him, it will only hurt them, having to play five top quarterbacks in six weeks. After Jake Locker, who’s played well so far in 2013, the Jets have Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady, Andy Dalton,and Drew Brees before the bye. They need to get the second cornerback job straightened out before that. Rex Ryan’s emotion-based challenge on the Stevie Johnson catch along the sideline cost the Jets another timeout, as well as, their ability to challenge a play. It hurt the Jets when QB E.J. Manuel ran for a first down, was hit and fumbled. Due to the fact that the Jets wasted both of their challenges within a minute of each other, the Jets couldn’t challenge the ruling on the field. Ryan and the Jets were lucky to escape with a win, but Ryan deserves much criticism for his challenges and his teams’ discipline, or lack thereof.
Game Ball: Ellis Lankster: 2 special teams tackles, downed the ball at the 1 yard line prior to last Bills drive of the game.
Rookie Ryan Quigley was average at best, averaging 42 yards per punt, but pinned the Bills inside the 20 on only 2 of 7 punts. The last one was easily his best, having it downed at the one yard line. Nick Folk was 2/2 on field goals and 3/3 on extra points.
Kick coverage was excellent all day, led by Ellis Lankster who is becoming the Jets best special teams player. He can open field tackle on kickoffs, as well as, get down the field on punts to help down the ball. A positive to note from the punt return team is that the Jets put two defenders on each gunner this week, allowing Jeremy Kerley to return a few punts. Although, he didn’t break any big ones, it was better than the 5 or 6 fair catch average of the past.