The New York Jets entered Orchard Park, NY needing a win against the Buffalo Bills for the second time this season. They left Western New York battered and bruised, and without that elusive second win over the Bills. It was a 20-12 defeat that felt like it should have been worse; however, the Jets are a tough squad with a great defense, and they were able to hang around long enough to give themselves a chance.
Ultimately, the Bills were able to come away with a win because they limited New York’s top players. Here’s how our five Jets to watch fared on Sunday.
QB Mike White
After three starts, it’s clear that White is the quarterback who best operates the Jets’ offense. He throws the ball on time, he’s accurate, and he’s as tough as they come. White may not have Zach Wilson’s mobility, but he has intangibles that Wilson must lack. The team has rallied around him, and while Sunday was his second consecutive start without a passing touchdown, he managed to avoid throwing an interception in horrendous weather. White completed 61% of his passes (27-of-44) for 268 yards on the day. Most impressively, he finished the game after taking two hard hits — one from Ed Oliver that knocked the wind out of him, and a second from Matt Milano that would have had Brian writing my obituary today if it had happened to me. Milano hit White the way linebackers used to hit quarterbacks “back in the day,” and White managed to gut out the rest of the game after going to the locker room for treatment. While he was clearly compromised, that man has serious moxie. He won me over on Sunday, that’s for sure.
RB Zonovan Knight
The big, speedy running back was a problem in the third quarter. He rushed six times in that period for 33 yards and a touchdown, a 13-yard scamper that had everything you don’t want to see in a defensive play: bad tackling, bad angles, and bad adjustments after taking those bad angles. It was a gas. Other than the third quarter, though, the Bills were able to contain New York’s run game, and Knight in particular, since he was the main back in the contest. He ran it 11 times for 38 yards in the other three quarters. Knight totaled 71 yards and that touchdown on the day, adding two catches for six yards as a receiver.
WR Garrett Wilson
Man, this kid is good. Wilson is physical, he runs crisp routes, and he has great hands. Whether he was matched up on every team’s favorite target of late, Dane Jackson, or Tre’Davious White, Wilson was able to find space and success in the blustery Western New York weather. He was targeted seven times, and he hauled in six catches for 68 yards on the day. On one of those catches, he was absolutely smoked by safety Jordan Poyer on the sideline. I thought that Poyer should have been flagged for a late hit, but the officials didn’t throw the laundry. I’ll let Skarekrow determine whether the play was actually penalty worthy, though.
DL John Franklin-Meyers
After the veteran had a big game in the first meeting, he was far less effective on Sunday. Franklin-Meyers had just two tackles on the day, and he didn’t register a pressure or a quarterback hit this time around. The only time I noticed him was on quarterback Josh Allen’s five-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, and I only noticed him because left tackle Dion Dawkins knocked him into next week with an authoritative block. Check that video out if you love offensive linemen being bad men. It was a rough day for Dawkins overall, but he lit up Franklin-Meyers on that particular rep.
CB D.J. Reed
Well, throwing the ball in the sloppy weather against this Jets secondary wasn’t a great idea, and it especially didn’t go well when they attacked the corners outside. Reed is a really good player, and he made five tackles on the afternoon. He didn’t break up a pass, but he did well in covering both Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis. Allen threw for just 147 yards overall, his lowest total of the season and his lowest total since Week 17 last year against the Atlanta Falcons — where he managed just 120 yards and three interceptions in Buffalo’s 29-15 win.