The New York Jets came to Orchard Park to play the Buffalo Bills last Sunday with nothing to gain from a win other than pride. Buffalo, on the other hand, had a division to clinch, needing a victory to extend their reign as AFC East champs.
Buffalo struggled to score on New York’s 32nd-ranked defense, holding just a 13-10 lead going into the fourth quarter. However, two Devin Singletary touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving, in the game’s final frame provided the cushion to allow Bills fans everywhere to breathe easier.
The Bills outgained the Jets 424-53 (not a typo), so it’s clear that Buffalo held up its end of the bargain in terms of limiting Gang Green’s top players. Many of those “top players” missed the game due to injury, as well, but Buffalo did exactly what they should have done against an overmatched opponent.
Here’s how our Jets’ players to watch fared this week.
QB Zach Wilson
Wilson was under pressure right from the start, as the Jets’ battered offensive line just couldn’t block, period. Wilson was sacked eight times on the day (yes, I know the Bills had nine sacks—more on that below!), but more distressing was his pocket presence...or lack thereof. Wilson looked completely lost, bailing backwards instead of throwing the ball away, extending plays where nothing was there, losing massive chunks of field position—basically every bad trait a young quarterback could display under pressure, he showed it. It was reminiscent of Josh Allen’s outing against the Green Bay Packers during his rookie year, where a strong defense and an excellent coordinator toyed with a rookie en route to a blowout victory. Wilson did manage a 40-yard touchdown pass to Keelan Cole Sr., but that singular play accounted for nearly all of his yardage. Wilson completed just 7-of-20 passes for 87 yards and that touchdown. He lost 79 yards on sacks, however, so he netted just eight yards passing in what was a disappointing finale to his rookie campaign.
WR Jameson Crowder
The Jets were beaten up at the receiver position, as Corey Davis, Braxton Berrios, and Elijah Moore were all out. Crowder was battling a calf injury himself, and while he did manage to play, catching his only target for a 16-yard gain, he eventually left the game due to that calf injury. On a trick-play attempt, Crowder was looking to throw, but he was tackled behind the line of scrimmage by Jordan Poyer. That play was officially listed as a sack, giving Buffalo nine sacks on the day.
LT Conor McDermott
We were wondering who would protect Wilson’s blind side, and while McDermott technically is the answer, the real answer is nobody. Nobody protected Zach Wilson on Sunday, as Buffalo’s defensive front just went to town on an awful Jets offensive line. Buffalo managed 14 sacks in the team’s final two games, and if they can continue that level of production throughout the postseason, this defense is going to be really hard to beat. The Bills had just 28 sacks in their first 15 games, but they finished the year with 42 after dropping Wilson, Matt Ryan, and yes, Jameson Crowder, a total of 14 times in two weeks.
DT John Franklin-Meyers
As expected, Quinnen Williams received most of the love from the broadcast booth, as the former No. 3 overall pick continued to have a solid year. However, the underrated Franklin-Meyers equaled him statistically yet again, as he made two tackles and landed two hits on quarterback Josh Allen in the contest. The Jets inked the big defensive lineman to a four-year, $55 million extension in October, and he has the potential to be an impact player on the Jets’ front for years to come. His presence didn’t do much to help this week, as the Bills kept Allen from being sacked and also averaged 5.2 yards per rush.
CB Bryce Hall
Hall was in coverage on a few big plays, and he held up fairly well. He was on Gabriel Davis when Buffalo failed to convert a fourth down at the end of the first quarter, a drive that led to a stretch of bad Matt Haack punts for what felt like an eternity. Hall did not break up a pass, but he did manage four tackles. He also didn’t allow a touchdown grab on the day.