Sunday, September 22, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Jets 27, Bills 20
By Rich Cimini
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A few thoughts on the New York Jets' 27-20 victory over the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium:
What it means: The Jets (2-1) are lucky because they played an embarrassingly sloppy game, setting a team record with 20 penalties for 168 yards. Cornerback Kyle Wilson lost his composure in spectacular fashion, committing three penalties on one drive. They blew a 20-6 lead and tried to give it away. In the end, the Jets overcame the penalties and questionable replay challenges by Rex Ryan. In between the flags, they played enough good offense and enough good defense to prevail over the Bills (1-2). The Jets managed a 300-yard passer (Geno Smith), a 100-yard rusher (Bilal Powell) and two 100-yard receivers (Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill). They produced the most yards (513) in the Ryan era. The defense recorded eight sacks. Ryan should take this game tape and burn it. This marked the second straight game his team lost its poise.
Stock watch: Smith outplayed EJ Manuel in the battle of rookie quarterbacks, but Smith was up and down. At times, he was fantastic, especially on deep throws -- 51- and 69-yard scoring passes. The Jets run a West Coast offense, but Marty Mornhinweg likes to incorporate a vertical element, and that was on display. On the downside, Smith suffered his third straight multiturnover day, this time with two interceptions. His total increased to six, way too many for the Jets to compete against the better teams in the league. But say this for Smith: He kept slinging, undaunted by the adversity. He rose up in the fourth quarter and made a great throw to Holmes for the game-winning score.
Revenge of the receivers: The Jets' maligned receiving corps, which embarrassed itself last week with a six-drop nightmare, regained some dignity with a big game against the Bills' depleted secondary. History tells us the Bills are the ideal tonic for the Jets' ills (see last season's opener). Hill and Holmes combined for eight catches for 262 yards, including a 51-yard touchdown by Hill -- the first scoring reception by a Jets wideout in 270 pass attempts, dating to last Nov. 18.
Teacher schools pupil: The Jets executed Ryan's defense a whole lot better than the Bills ran their version of the system under former Ryan protege Mike Pettine. Constantly battling poor field position, the Jets defense neutralized the Bills' playmakers. Running back C.J. Spiller and receiver Stevie Johnson combined for only 87 yards. Ryan mixed pressure and coverage, which confused Manuel, who was sacked eight times and was out of sync all day. Spiller left with an injury.
What's next: The Jets hit the road to face the Tennessee Titans (2-1) at the scene of last season's Monday night meltdown that resulted in Mark Sanchez's benching.