A Quick Recap of Last Week in JetNation:
Jets’ Late Rally Falls Short
The Jets have lost three of their last four games, officially hitting a mid-season slump. The Thursday night game against the Bills was one in which the offense forgot to show up until late in the third quarter. It was an ugly showing from the offense who turned the ball over in three crucial moments. The Jets scored first with a field goal from newly signed kicker Randy Bullock. That was the last time they’d score until the third quarter with four minuets and thirty-nine seconds left. The defense was able to keep the Jets in the game despite multiple turnovers within their own 20 yard line. It was 22-3 by the time the Jets scored again. The Jets drove 80 yards for a touchdown, with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Brandon Marshall. Five drives later, after the defense forced the Bills to punt twice and fail a fourth down conversion, the Jets scored their second touchdown. The Jets closed the gap with a 69-yard drive finishing with a 31-yard touchdown pass from Fitzpatrick to Eric Decker making it 22-17. The valiant effort ended with another ugly showing. The Jets were handed a gift with a botched punt giving them the ball on the Bills’ 13 yard line. The drive ended with Fitzpatrick overthrowing Kellen Davis in the back of the end zone on fourth down with three minuets left. The Jets got the ball back with 24 seconds left and Fitzpatrick threw an interception on the first play to put the game on ice.
It was too little, too late for the Jets who failed to take advantage of multiple opportunities to win the game. Getting the ball on the opponent’s 13 yard line and failing to come away with points is inexcusable. It was poor execution by the offense on multiple drives, but also poor coaching by Bowles and his staff. While the defense played a relatively good game, every other phase of the team was lacking. The special teams in particular was horrendous. A fumble by Devin Smith recovered for a touchdown marked the special teams unit’s third turnover this season. It’s hard to find as many impact players as usual for this game. The players who stood out were: Muhammad Wilkerson, Eric Decker, Chris Ivory, David Harris, Demario Davis, and Brandon Marshall. Wilkerson made his impact felt on defense, and stood out more than any other player with six tackles, two sacks, and three quarterback hits. The impacts plays were: Wilkerson’s sacks, Decker’s touchdown catch, Brandon Marshall’s touchdown catch, Harris and Davis’ sacks, and Ivory’s 36-yard reception.
Rex Leaves a Winner, Muddies Waters for Jets’ Playoff Hopes
In his first appearance back at MetLife Stadium as the Bills’ head coach, Rex Ryan got his revenge. The Bills played a game in true Ryan fashion, playing gritty and sometimes ugly football. Luckily for Ryan the Jets played even uglier. This was the first of the two times the Jets and Bills will square off this season. After taking round one the Bills increased their playoff chances and hurt the Jets. Instead of making some separation with a win, the Jets now find themselves in the middle of the pack in the playoff race. As of right now the Jets are tied with the Bills for the 6th seed in the AFC, but after the loss the Bills win the tiebreaker. With a number of teams on their heels, the Jets will need to string some wins together in order to secure a spot in the playoffs.
After T.J. Barnes cleared waivers, the Jets brought him back by signing him to the practice squad. Barnes was waived to make room for safety Ronald Martin who was brought up from the practice squad. The Jets also signed former discus thrower and defensive lineman Lawrence Okoye who had previously played on the practice squad for the 49ers and Cardinals. The Jets will be using Okoye on the offensive line. It’s an interesting move seeing as Okoye has no experience playing on the offensive line, and didn’t play college or high school football. Okoye has an opposing frame though, standing at 6′ 6″ and weighing 304 pounds.
On a kick return backup running back Zac Stacy suffered a gruesome injury. Stacy was rolled up under multiple defenders after being tackled and landing awkwardly on his leg, he had to be carted off just before halftime. After further examination it was revealed that Stacy had broken his ankle on the play. Stacy had 31 carries on the season for 89 yards with one touchdown. It’s not a huge blow for the Jets, who will have Bilal Powell returning from injury soon. Stacy will be the eighth player the Jets have had to place on injured reserve this season. Other players on injured reserve include: Nick Folk, Willie Colon, Jaiquawn Jarrett, Antonio Allen, Jace Amaro, Chris Owusu, and Zach Sudfeld.
Ryan Fitzpatrick had surgery to repair the torn ligament in his left hand thumb Friday morning. As of now, the Jets are expecting Fitzpatrick to start on Sunday against the Texans. Fitzpatrick will have about 10 days to recover from the surgery. The biggest threat for a setback is the possibility of infection if he’s rushed back into action. Fitzpatrick hasn’t shown any signs of a setback since he first injured his left thumb. If Fitzpatrick isn’t able to play on Sunday it’d most likely be Geno Smith at quarterback for the Jets.
The Jets have a “mini-bye” with a 10 day break before their game against Houston on Sunday. The Jets will be hoping the break will be long enough for players to heal up and get back on the right track. More than half of the remaining games should be winnable. Five of the next seven teams the Jets face have a .500 record or worse. The Texans are sitting at a 3-5 record and will host the Jets in Houston on Sunday. It’s a game that the Jets will need to win to regain some momentum heading into the push for the playoffs.