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Bills 17 Jets 16: A Rotten Start

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NFL: Buffalo Bills at New York Jets Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets lost their opening game of 2019 today to the Buffalo Bills. Buffalo came into MetLife Stadium and surprised the Jets 17-16. The Jets led the game 16-0 with under 4:00 to go in the third quarter and 16-3 entering the final period. However, a late surge pushed New York into the loss column for the first time this season.

What went wrong? Plenty and we will discuss it below.

The Bad

Sam Darnold: Really outside of a spectacular two point conversion Darnold was off all day. Some of his reads were shaky. He was flustered by pressure in the pocket. He was missing throws he should have hit. Darnold finished 28 of 41 for only 175 yards and a touchdown. The Jets almost survived an inefficient performance, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Adam Gase: Gase’s tenure calling plays in Miami was full of problems. His plays too frequently featured dinks and dunks to the slot receiver. There wasn’t much creativity. He stuck with his preferred personnel even though the talent and the situation dictated changing.

Through one week, we saw many of the same flaws. Jamison Crowder played a solid game, but he should never get 41% of the targets within a game. In a game where Jets receivers were having difficulty getting separation against Buffalo corners, we didn’t see many packages featuring both Le’Veon Bell and Ty Montgomery. At the end of the game with the Jets needing to move the ball in a hurry, we did see standard 11 personnel featuring non-receiving threat Ryan Griffin at tight end.

These were but a few of the issues I had with Gase’s playcalling.

Darryl Roberts: During the spring Mike Maccagnan decided that Roberts playing like 3 good games in a 4 year career meant that Roberts was starting material. One week into 2019, that seems like a shaky choice. The corners was repeatedly picked on and committed multiple penalties. One penalty wiped out a Marcus Maye interception. Another came as he was surrendering the game-losing touchdown in coverage.

Trumaine Johnson: This was not an auspicious start for hopes of a Johnson bounceback campaign. He couldn’t keep up with Buffalo’s speedy receiver.p More than once he was beaten so badly for a reception that he wasn’t even in the camera’s view as the catch was being made.

Kaare Vedvik: The Jets’ kicking woes have continued into the regular season. Vedvik was sent out for a 45 yard field goal try and an extra point. He missed both. His tenure with the Jets will likely end after one game. Adam Gase so lacked faith in Vedvik that he went for a two after a touchdown even though there was nothing in the score to dictate that decision.

Thomas Hennessy: There is so much focus on the shaky kicking situation that Hennessy will probably escape blame even though his bad snap on the 45 yard field goal attempt likely contributed to the miss.

Lachlan Edwards: Edwards’ hold of the kick didn’t help matters either.

Offensive Line: It showed that this unit played zero preseason snaps together. There were penalties, breakdowns, and missed assignments galore.

Synergy Between Darnold and the Offensive Line: Just from eyeballing the game, a fair number of the pressures came because the Jets were set up in the wrong protection presnap. The Bills seemed to be consistently a step ahead of Darnold and the offensive line.

Robby Anderson: This will be a tad controversial because he got open deep a couple of times, and Darnold missed him. Does he belong in the bad? I would argue so. Why? On one of the deep balls I think he plausibly could have made the catch had he made a better effort to high point the ball. Additionally, the deep ball is fickle. They tend to be difficult to complete even when the receiver is open. To consistently fill up the stat sheet, receivers have to run other routes effectively. It felt like Anderson had issues getting separation consistently.

Quincy Enunwa: It isn’t a good sign when Josh Bellamy has a more productive day.

The Good

C.J. Mosley: Simply put Mosley needs to consistently play like a superstar to justify the contract the Jets gave him. In Week 1 he played like a superstar. He had 5 tackles, 2 passes defensed, a pick six, and a fumble recovery before leaving with an injury. I’m not sure his absence is an excuse for the full defensive collapse that followed, but it surely played some sort of role.

Jamison Crowder: While short passes to him were too heavy a part of the gameplan, Crowder’s 14 catches did include a number of drive-extenders on key downs.

Le’Veon Bell: Bell’s stats were relatively pedestrian, but he did put up the only offensive touchdown of the game. He also did a good job turning plays where he was contacted after 1-2 yards into 5-6 yard gains. Had the Jets been successful on the final drive, an effort he gave to convert a fourth and 1 after being met in the backfield by defenders would have gone down as a key play.

Neville Hewitt: Hewitt is a big question mark stepping into a starting role, but he played a really nice game with 8 tackles, an interception, and a pair of hits.

Marcus Maye: Maye was a Roberts penalty and a drop away from a pair of interceptions.

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This was an ugly way to start the season. The Jets now have a long week to think about what went wrong. The only silver lining is that next Monday’s game against the Browns might not be as daunting as it originally looked.