In game that wasn’t as nearly as close as the 27-17 final score would suggest, the Jets showed up completely unprepared in just about every facet of the game to kick off their 2020 season. If not for some missed kicks by the Bills, this would’ve been a much, much uglier score. How did the grade out?
Third year quarterback Sam Darnold looked lost for much of the day. He faced plenty of pressure, but even when he had time he was frequently off target. His day was epitomized by an ugly interception on an ill-advised toss toward the middle of the field with defenders in pursuit. Darnold also failed to get rid of the ball under pressure late in the game, running out of bounds to take a loss of yards. Several rookie mistakes for Darnold in what was expected to be a season of growth.
Running Backs: F
Jets starting running backs averaged a paltry 3.1 yards per carry with LeVeon Bell and Frank Gore picking up just 38 yards on 12 carries. Backup running back Josh Adams scored a garbage time TD for a bit of late window dressing.
Wide Receivers: C
Jamison Crowder made the offensive play of the day, taking a screen pass 69-yards for a touchdown. Outside of that there were drops and miscommunication throughout the day. Crowder had a pair of drops and Chris Hogan was completely invisible. Crowder’s one big play is the only thing that stops this group from picking up an “F” as well.
Tight Ends: F
Chris Herndon was expected to be a focal part of the Jets offense but saw just a pair of targets before garbage time. On one of those targets, Herndon caught a quick screen pass before being hit and fumbling the ball away to the Bills. Ryan Griffin and Trevon Wesco were shut out on the stat sheet.
Offensive Line: F
The new group allowed too much pressure up the middle while providing little to no running room for the backs. Rookie tackle Mekhi Becton gave up a single sack but it was due largely to coverage on that particular play. He did have a holding call against him but was decent for the most part. If not for Darnold’s ability to escape pressure, this would have likely been a 7 or 8 sack day for the Bills defense.
Defensive Line: C
The Jets D-Line shut down the Bills top running backs, holding Devin Singletary and Zach Moss to 41 yards on 18 carries (2.2 YPC) but generated little pressure against Josh Allen who was able to get outside and pick up several big gains with his legs. Second-year player Quinnen Williams had just 3 assists. Kyle Phillips and Foley Fatukasi each picked up a tackle for loss.
The Jets edge defenders couldn’t contain Josh Allen who exploited the group time and again and they chipped in on several of the defense’s seven penalties. Lack of discipline and miscommunication was ugly.
This was an ugly all-around effort as Josh Allen became the first Bills quarterback to throw for over 300 yards since Tyrod Taylor did it in 2016. Pierre Desir was awful early and found himself riding the pine in place of Nate Hairston. However, it was Marcus Maye and Bless Austin prevent this group from picking up an F. Maye had a pair of sacks and a forced fumble while Austin provided strong coverage and big time hits throughout.
Special Teams: B
Braden Mann looked as good as advertised and Sam Ficken hit his only field goal attempt. When all is said and done, Mann may be the most important player on the roster in 2020.
Adam Gase said after the game that the Jets have “a lot to work on” and “a lot to fix”. No kidding. There were clearly miscommunications throughout and this may be as bad as Darnold has looked as a pro. He has had worse games statistically, but his inability to connect with receivers when he had time was alarming. After acknowledging his failure to get Le’Veon Bell involved in the passing game, Bell saw just a couple of targets in the first half before hurting his hamstring and missing the rest of the day. Arguably the most embarrassing moment of the game came when the offense was flagged for a delay of game following a kickoff return in a stadium that had no fans to drown out the offensive calls.