The New York Jets were -4 in turnover differential and still probably should have won the game. That’s the nicest thing you can say about their 22-17 loss to the Buffalo Bills.
After six seasons as Jets head coach, Rex Ryan returned Thursday night as head coach of New York’s division rival Bills. The week was full of distractions and side shows, as is usually the case when Rex Ryan is coaching in a big game.
The biggest fuss was made when Ryan named IK Enemkpali – of legally assaulting Geno Smith and breaking his jaw in training camp fame – as a captain for the coin toss. Ryan usually names former players of the opponent out for the coin toss, but as everyone knows, this was in pretty poor taste.
The game, expected to be a defensive battle, started off just so, with the Jets and Bills trading possession through most of the first quarter. The Jets finally broke through with a field goal late in the first quarter.
The Bills tied the game late in the first half with a field goal, and then took the lead on the ensuing kickoff when Devin Smith fumbled the football, which was returned for a touchdown. The score stayed at 9-3 when Dan Carpenter missed the extra point.
The Bills added another field goal just before the half, and Jets running back Zac Stacy was injured on the kick return, which killed the few remaining seconds in the second. Buffalo led 12-3 going into the third.
Things got uglier at the start of the third. The Bills opened with a touchdown, and scored a field goal off another Jets turnover. They led 22-3 with 8 minutes left in the third.
The Jets offense seemed to remember they had a game midway through the third. They came down the field easily and scored a touchdown to bring the score to 22-10, but on the next drive up the field failed to convert on fourth down on an awful playcall.
Buffalo kept trying to hand the Jets the game, but they just didn’t take it. After coming down the field to pull within 22-17, the Jets defense and special teams forced the perfect scenario to take the lead late in the fourth. With just about five minutes to play, Bills punter Colton Schmidt lost the snap. He recovered and the Jets tackled him on the 13 yard line.
The Jets failed to score. And not only did they fail to score, they called some of the most atrocious plays on third and fourth down that fans have seen in quite a few years. Play calling on offense was questionable all game.
Brandon Marshall, Chris Ivory, and Eric Decker all came up short in big spots. Ryan Fitzpatrick was inconsistent, although he was let down by poor execution in the second half. The defense struggled at times.
The game was a mess, and type of sloppy should-have-won game Jets fans have gotten used to seeing over the years.
Ryan Fitzpatrick’s final line on the day was 15/34 for 193 yards, with two interceptions, two touchdowns, and 57.6 QBR. Chris Ivory led the Jets with 18 carries for 99 yards. Eric Decker led the Jets in receptions, with six for 85 yards and one touchdown. Brandon Marshall also caught a touchdown.
David Harris led the Jets defense in tackles with nine. Demario Davis followed with eight. Both had a sack. Muhammad Wilkerson has six tackles and two sacks of Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Leonard Williams and Jamari Lattimore also had a sack each.
The Jets now have ten long days to prepare for the next game against the Houston Texans. Kickoff is at 1:00.