The Buffalo Bills lost their fourth consecutive game, this time to the New York Jets by a score of 28 to 24. But while the Bills did endure defeat, they seemed to be piecing together areas that they struggled in their blowout losses (passing and pass defense) in a much more sound all-around effort. At 5-6 the Bills will have an incredibly long way to go to reach the playoffs in pretty much winning the rest of their games... In the interim though, the rookies and depth players will get a chance to show their skills and prepare for next week.
Run Offense: D
Fred Jackson gone hurts. C.J. Spiller had an okay game especially when given holes and running towards the outside. However, Spiller got caught more than once at the line and finished with 19 carries for 55 yards (less than 3 yards a carry). Sadly the other running backs did not fare much better with White getting one carry for 2 yards and Tashawn Choice averaging -4 yards on 2 carries. Fitz meanwhile scrambled for 34 yards on 5 runs.
Pass Offense: A-
In spite of all the criticism that Ryan Fitzpatrick has endured in the last month, he put together a really strong performance completing 26 of 39 passes (67%) for 264 yards and 3 TDs. Fitz showed no fear against a top-notch secondary and almost came away with the win save for a dropped pass by Stevie Johnson. Before the Stevie bashing begins though, he had a really strong game paired up against pro-bowl corner Revis with 8 catches for 75 yards and a TD. The big surprise in the game was Bard Smith, operating out of the slot against Cromartie, with 4 catches for 77 yards including a big TD grab. David Nelson also had a TD on the day. TE Scott Chandler was used effectively throughout the day.
Blocking Offense: D
Three sacks on the day (two by a certain guy that will remain unnamed, but did not deserve them in the least). The line had its ups and downs with newly ordained center Kraig Urbik manning the middle well. Erik Pears had his worse outing of the year (in my opinion until Ron can verify hopefully).
Run Defense: D+
The only reason why the grade is not an "F" is not because the Bills held the Jets to 138 yards on the ground but as they gave up no rushing TDs. However the Bills largely struggled to contain Greene who averaged 6 yards a carry. The biggest problem was giving up runs on the outside. Even though Spencer Johnson was in the right spot several times, he simply lacks the speed or agility to make the plays necessary on the outside and should be moved to defensive endwhere there is a depth issue do to Troup under-performing and Dareus having to stay at nose tackle.
Pass Defense: B-
While the Bills pass defense was a lot sharper than it had been in the last few games, the secondary struggled to prevent touchdowns. On one hand the Bills held Sanchez to completing under 50% of his passes, but on the other gave up 4 touchdowns. Drayton Florence blew a few covers on Plexico but otherwise had a strong game posting an interception (that later set up a score) and deflected two passes. Jairus Byrd, Justin Rogers and Aaron Williams each had a pass broken up with Williams' occurring in the end zone. Searcy had an up and down game starting again for George Wilson against TE Keller.
Pass Rush Defense: F
Practically the only time the Bills touched Sanchez was when Dareus drew a penalty for a late hit. It's beyond clear that the Bills need a stud pass rusher in the draft.
Special Teams: B-
So the botched kick-off by Rayner really hurt the Bills. On the flip side, Rayner did prevent potential kick return TD and nailed a 53 yard field goal. Brian Moorman punted several times nailing three inside the 20 yard line with one ending up at the 2. Leodis McKelvin was quiet in the return department, but recovered a fumble on a Jets' fair catch before leaving injured from an unflagged late hit.
Despite a shortened holiday week, Chan Gailey made major improvements in dealing with injuries. Good play-calling was offset by a few miscues.