The Jets lost their season opener on Sunday 27-17 to the Bills in Buffalo. I think it would be fair to say the score was deceptive. This was a noncompetitive performance. The Jets were kept within striking distance by a number of fortunate breaks but were unable to take advantage of them.
Let’s talk about what happened below.
Jets Wide Receivers: Jamison Crowder broke loose for 69 yard catch and run in the third quarter that went for a touchdown. Aside from that, this game was a virtual no show from Jets receivers. Nobody could win. There wasn’t separation. When there was a contested ball in the air, they couldn’t get the job done.
Chris Herndon: Many of us were excited about the return of Herndon, but his only notable impact was a second half fumble in his own territory.
Jets Tackling: It was a defense wide issue. The Jets missed an alarming number of tackles in the game, especially on Josh Allen. Allen extended numerous plays and made something happen as a result. Allen ran for 57 yards and threw for 312, many the result of poor Jets tackling.
Pierre Desir: Desir was roasted by Stefon Diggs to the point he was benched before halftime.
Nate Hairston: Hairston came in for Desir and wasn’t much better. He was responsible in coverage for a number of key Buffalo completions.
Quinnen Williams: The Jets don’t have many talented pass rushers or cover guys. They need Williams to make an impact, but he was largely invisible outside of a pair of penalites.
Jordan Jenkins: Jenkins was limited to a single tackle and lost contain on a Buffalo touchdown.
Sam Darnold: Darnold certainly wasn’t helped by his receivers or the play calling, but he made a number of glaring errors on his own. Perhaps the circumstances led him to press, but the interception throwing across his body was exactly the type of play you’d want to see him stop making after another offseason of work and study. He took a bizarre sack later in the game on the sideline where he refused to throw the ball away. I think too much will be made out of a bad game, but this was a real stinker for Darnold.
Coaching: I know it’s impossible to quantify, but there’s no way you can tell me this team was prepared for this game. There was a Jets penalty on the opening kickoff of the season. I would be willing to give the Jets a pass for bad tackling, missed assignments, bad timing in the passing game, etc. and explain it away from the lack of the preseason. The only problem with that is we didn’t see these issues with the Bills at anywhere near the same frequency. The rest the league had to work around the lack of preseason in its preparations. Few if any teams have looked as out of place as the Jets today. This team somehow took a delay of game penalty coming out of a TV timeout. Near halftime there were repeated screen calls while short on timeouts that forced them to settle for a field goal. This was just a very discouraging coaching performance to start the season.
Marcus Maye: Maye had a Jamal Adams type stat line with 10 tackles, 2 sacks, and a forced fumble. He was one of the few bright spots.
Bless Austin: Austin didn’t give up much in coverage. That comes with a bit of a caveat. With Desir and Hairston getting lit up on the other side, the Bills didn’t have much of a reason to test Austin. He was, however, one of the few Jets defenders who could tackle. He finished with 8 and a forced fumble.
This was as bad of a start as the Jets could have had. They benefited from a pair of Josh Allen fumbles on the Jets’ side of the field, a missed Allen end zone pass with nobody near a reciever, and a pair of missed short field goals (one of which might have actually been good but was called no good). Still they weren’t competitive.
There is a short week to fix things. The defending NFC Champion 49ers are scheduled to visit next weekend.