Jets: Strong second half closes out Bills
The Jets (5-3) took care of business on Sunday, getting their first road win, 27-11, at Buffalo.
What went right …
1. Getting Physical
In their first game after the bye week, the Jets didn’t shy away from physical play, running the ball fairly well and making their hits count. Head coach Rex Ryan said that they put pads on this past Wednesday to emphasize tackling and getting back into the rhythm of hitting. It worked. The Jets defense showed little rust and forced Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to be unsettled throughout the game. Case in point: With a minute left in the first half, Aaron Maybin came off the edge and forced Fitzpatrick into a bad throw that was intercepted by linebacker David Harris. Not to be outdone, the offensive line dominated the Bills, out-muscling them at the point of attack and opening holes for the running game.
2. Getting Greene Going
It was not the 112-yard effort from Week 7, but it was another solid effort from Shonn Greene, who had a lot of downhill sledding. His 76 yards on 19 carries helped open things up for Mark Sanchez to orchestrate three Jets scoring drives and build a significant edge in time of possession. He got dinged up in the fourth quarter, but it was hard running from Greene all afternoon long, who didn’t have a run longer than 10 yards.
3. Fourth & Strong
On the second play of the fourth quarter, with the Jets holding a 20-3 lead and with the ball on the Jets’ 16-yard line, the Bills faced a fourth and inches. Buffalo turned to their monkey maker, running back Fred Jackson, who was supposed to follow his lead blocker and plow right through the tackles. Instead, Bart Scott went around the edge and tackled Jackson at the knees for a turnover on downs. The Bills’ loss of possession turned into a Jets scoring drive. New York methodically worked their way down the field and a one-yard John Conner touchdown staked them to an impressive 27-3 lead.
What went wrong …
1. Sloppy Sanchez
Mark Sanchez ruined what would have been an otherwise solid afternoon with some easily avoidable blunders. On their first possession, the Jets took possession on their own six-yard line and marched down the field to Buffalo’s seven-yard line. But on second-and-7, Sanchez dropped back to pass and inexplicably threw right at Jairus Byrd. Sanchez also had a poor fumble on a snap late in the second quarter, turning the ball over in Buffalo territory. While he was 20-for-28 for 230 yards and a touchdown, those unsettling moments made the first half too close.
2. Killer Penalties
Undisciplined, sloppy play marred the afternoon and consistently stifled Jets drives. In the second quarter, tight end Matt Mulligan was called for a false start and then, three plays later, had a holding penalty away from the play. Mulligan’s gaffe negated what would have been a 41-yard gain by Greene. They had nine penalties for 60 yards — most in the first half.
3. Injury Bug
In the second quarter, tight end Dustin Keller tried to go the extra yard by hurdling a Bills defender. Instead, he was upended and landed on his head. Concerned that he might have a concussion, Keller was held out until the third quarter. Then the defensive line started getting stung with injuries. With defensive end Mike DeVito out and both Marcus Dixon and Sione Pouha leaving the game with injuries, the Jets were as thin as an Olsen twin along their defensive front. Greene also left the game early with what looked like a knee injury and did not return.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.