After a turbulent off-season, the New York Jets began their 2017 campaign against the Buffalo Bills in front of a raucous audience at New Era Field. The Jets fell behind early, and never quite recovered en route to losing by a final score of 21-12. The team proved not to be the “dumpster fire” many expected – at least not yet – but were nonetheless outplayed on both sides of the football. Here are the most glaring New York Jets takeaways from their week one loss to the Buffalo Bills.
New York Jets Week One Takeaways
1) Rushing Disparity
The Buffalo Bills rushed the ball 42 times for a grand total of 190 yards. The New York Jets ran the football on 15 different occasions, totaling just 38 yards. The numbers speak for themselves. LeSean McCoy torched the Jets from start to finish, finishing the day with a whopping 155 yards of total offense.
Mike Tolbert chipped in as well, as his bruising style proved to be a nice complement to McCoy. At first glance, the problems stopping the rush seemed to stem from a consistent failure to set the edge. Fatigue certainly served as a factor as well, especially as the game wore on. For a team who’s only strength in 2016 was its stout run defense, The Jets opened 2017 with a disappointing performance.
On the flip side of the ball, Bilal Powell and Matt Forte never quite found their rhythm. The brunt of the blame falls on the offensive line. Although the unit protected Josh McCown well, its run blocking was largely problematic. The Bills defensive lineman won the battle all day, stuffing the run on seemingly every attempt. The Jets certainly don’t have the pieces in place to overcome a nonexistent rushing attack, and it showed on Sunday.
2) Offense Struggles
When analyzing the New York Jets offense, it’s important to not allow shockingly low expectations to sway reality. The unit was anticipated to be among the league’s worst. By that standard, Sunday’s game was a decent performance. But at the standard by which pro offenses that aren’t the Jets are measured, it was a poor showing: 12 points and just 214 yards of total offense.
The aforementioned inability to run the football doomed the team, and the issue was only exacerbated by a lackluster passing offense. John Morton‘s offense – a classic West Coast scheme – attacks the field horizontally. When the team fails to run the ball effectively on first and second down, the offense isn’t design to recoup ten yards in just one play. It doesn’t get any easier for the unit, as they’ll have to go toe to toe with a dynamic Oakland Raider offense attack on Sunday.
3) Porous Defense
The New York Jets defense is the anchor of this football team. It has to be. On Sunday, it was not. The unit allowed 408 total yards, including a whopping 18 plays of 10 yards or more. After the offense scored a touchdown to pull the team within two, the defense allowed an 88 yard touchdown drive that ended any real shot the Jets had at pulling out a victory.
There were, however, a few performances of note from the mediocre showing. Juston Burris was perhaps the Jets brightest star of the afternoon. The second year player made perhaps the play of the game, a goal-line interception that should have been returned for a touchdown, if not for an ill-fated collision with Marcus Maye. He followed the pick with stout defense all afternoon, playing well in pass coverage. At this point, Burris has to start across from Morris Claiborne. Not only is he younger than Buster Skrine, but he’s better. A lot better. Leonard Williams played like the pro bowler he is, and Jamal Adams flashed in his debut. Overall, though, a disappointing performance to begin the season. The Jets will try to right the ship next week against the Raiders.