I was talking with the family before the game and I commented that the Bills could beat the Jets if they played smart and nobody got hurt. Sadly, the Bills did not get that memo, losing in an ugly performance to the New York Jets 27-20. Injuries to several key starters definitely affected the Bills in the game as did an offensive collapse. It’s one bad game folks, we all knew a few were coming, so let the rookie QB and coach take notes and learn.
Rushing Offense: D
Spiller was a nonfactor with 10 carries for 9 yards before leaving the game. Jackson had a huge 59 yard run in the first half, but like so many other Bills drives, that got stalled. Jackson finished with 7 carries for 72 yards though due to some poor blocking. Manuel had a nice 6 for 40 yards on the ground, although most of that came from running for his life. Why do the Bills carry a fullback if we do not use him to lead the runners?
Passing Offense: D-
I seriously contemplated making this an F simply based on the abhorrent pass protection the O-Line had. Manuel was sacked 8 times and knocked down/pressured double that. This resulted in Manuel overthrowing several balls, or fleeing the pocket prematurely. The only saving grace was some nice grabs by Stevie (6 for 86 yards) and a 33 TD reception to TE Scott Chandler (5 for 79 yards).
Run Defense: D+
The Bills once again gave up huge runs on the day, this time to Powell who had 149 yards on 27 carries (5.5 avg) and gave up a rushing TD to Geno Smith. Aside from that the Bills "D" did come up with several big stops including on 3rd-1 and 4th-1 in the game. LB Manny Lawson had a decent game with 14 tackles. The defense in its weakened state is really hurting with the extra playing time on the field.
Passing Defense: F
With the Bills now down 4 of their 5 best defensive backs, the Jets took full advantage. Justin Rogers was burned several times on throws giving up a 69 and 51 yard TDs to the Jets. I don’t know if the conservative game call was due to the depleted depth chart, but Pettite needed to blitz a lot more to pressure Geno Smith who was sacked 0 times! Unfortunately, Rogers’ bad outing really outweighed two nice picks by S Jim Leonhard and LB Kiko Alonzo.
Special Teams: B
The Bills had a busy day on special teams. K Dan Carpenter completed all 4 of his field goal tries, while Shawn Powell had to punt 7 times with a 51 yard average; he had 3 inside the 20 and almost had a few more too. The Bills coverage units were up to par, but Jim Leonhard could not capitalize on any punt returns, though he didn’t make any mistakes either.
The Bills-Jets curse still lives on although injuries again definitely impacted the game throughout. The Bills did do a nice job staying disciplined, though they lost some of the fire they had in the first two weeks. Marrone has to sit down with the team and possibly slow down the game plan to let E.J. Manuel think things out a little more. Ryan and the Jets capitalized big time on having a 10 day respite. Fingers crossed the Bills injured are not out long.