Prior to the matchup between the New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills, we heard a lot about the rookie QBs leading both teams. We all know AFC East division-rival Buffalo had a chance to select Geno Smith, but elected to go with EJ Manuel out of Florida State with the sixteenth overall pick. The New York Jets selected Geno Smith with their first pick in the second round, thirty-ninth overall. In EJ’s last game, he led the Bills to a narrow victory over the Carolina Panthers with a brilliantly thrown touchdown pass to Stevie Johnson. In his last game, Geno Smith and the Jets lost one they could’ve won over the New England Patriots. Geno’s three second-half INTs didn’t help. Geno and EJ met for the first time as pros this Sunday.
EJ Manuel, who also rushed 6 times for 40 yards, went 19 of 42 for 243 yards passing, and one fourth quarter TD pass to TE Scott Chandler. That, plus the two-point conversion he threw to Stevie Johnson, knotted the game at twenty with a little more than ten minutes left. Not to be outdone at home, Geno Smith goes 16 of 29 for 331 yards with 2 INTs and 2 TDs, one of which was a 69-yard bomb to Santonio Holmes up the right sideline. That TD pass, which included an incredible catch-and-run by Santonio, gave the Jets a 27-20 victory, and their first divisional win. Holmes caught 5 passes for 154 yards, while Stephen Hill grabbed another 5 for 108 yards.
While everyone had their eyes on the two QBs and the passing game, Bilal Powell rumbled for a career-high 149 yards on 27 carries. The Bills had no answer for him, as he showed patience while waiting for his blocks to develop. Other than a long 59-yard run by Fred Jackson, the New York Jets held the Bills in-check on the ground. Jackson finished with 72 yards, while C.J. Spiller only tallied 9 yards on 10 carries. One of the reasons the Jets have stiffened up the run defense… the insertion of DL Damon Harrison, the second-year man out of William Penn. Harrison Is using all of his 6-4 and 350lbs to clog the middle, and aggressively pursue the opponents run game. It seems like he’s in on every tackle inside the box. We all remember how bad the Jets were at tackling, especially at the LB position. LBs will have less chances to miss tackles if the RB isn’t getting past the line of scrimmage.
Quinton Coples (2 tackles) made his return from injury on Sunday, and saw his first regular-season action. Mo Wilkerson continues to dominate the inside with 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble and 4 tackles. Wilkerson, Harrison, Coples, Demario Davis (5 tackles, 1 sack), Calvin Pace (4 tackles), Sheldon Richardson (3 tackles, 1 sack), David Harris (4 tackles, 1 sack), Dawan Landry (3 tackles, 1 sack), Antonio Allen (1 tackle, 1 sack) helped keep a very skilled Bills team in check. Antonio Cromartie kept Stevie Johnson out of the end zone (2pt conversion withstanding) and tallied 5 tackles, and forced a fumble as well.
It sounds like the defense had an excellent game, but they contributed to the team-record 20 penalties called on the Jets. 20 penalties… 168 yards!! Kyle Wilson, who may have been flagged for a ticky-tack 15-yarder, was pulled for a bit in the fourth when it was clear Stevie Johnson had gotten to him. Darrin Walls, a third-year man out of Notre Dame, came in and held his own while Wilson cooled his jets. Rex applauded his team afterwards for the effort and the win, but he took “full responsibility” for the team getting called for so many penalties. In defense of the defense, EJ seemed to be rocking in his stance which appeared to draw them offsides. As for lining up in the neutral zone, pass-interference, and the like… they’re in Rex’s capable hands with that one. He’ll have until Sunday to get his players focused, as the team travels west to Tennessee for another clash with the Titans. Next stop... Tennessee!!! By the way, it’s the furthest west the New York Jets will travel this season.
-Joseph Haas Editor, HCoftheNYJ.com