The rollercoaster that has been the 2013 NFL season for the New York Jets continues in true up-down-up-down-up fashion with a trip down against the Buffalo Bills Sunday, as they were steamrolled 37-14 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. The Jets have one road win all year, an impressive 30-28 win against an Atlanta Falcons team (now 2-8) that have proven to be very unimpressive this season. If the team stays true to form, they should be on the way up, however their next game is on the road against the defending Superbowl Champion Baltimore Ravens (4-6). The Ravens are far from the team that beat the San Francisco 49ers in February, but they’ll do everything they can to keep Rex Ryan and Ed Reed from experiencing one more victory together on their field!
In order to have a chance in Baltimore, Geno Smith will need to play better than 8 of 23 for 103yds, 3INTs and 2 fumbles (1 lost). Geno took a shot to start the game that left him flat on the turf, and had Matt Simms in for the minimum one-play, before Geno gathered himself and returned to the huddle. He promptly fumbled (but recovered it) upon his return. Was he more hurt than he let on; we’ll never know. What we do know, is after the first quarter, the score was 0-0 and even though the Jets played poorly, they had the only scoring opportunity of the quarter (Nick Folk missed his first FG of the season, a 48 yard attempt into a stiff wind).
The team welcomed back Santonio Holmes (2 catches) and Jeff Cumberland (3 catches) from injury, and Kellen Winslow Jr. (1 catch) from a 4-game PED suspension by the league. Cumberland caught a TD from Simms in the fourth, while Stephen Hill (0) was shutout again. Not only does Hill look more lost than Geno, they seem to have zero chemistry. It’s not that Hill isn’t being targeted, he’s either not looking for the ball when Geno throws it, or is running a different route than Geno expects by their body language after plays. I’m not one to read too much into things like this, but I thought it said something to see Holmes standing next to Geno during pine-time in the fourth. A healthy Santonio Holmes is clearly the best receiver on this football team, and it showed Sunday. For the Jets to make that playoff push, that combination needs to flourish.
The Bills offense looked like world-beaters as they stampeded the Jets in a 37-7 2nd and 3rd quarter run which featured long bombs by EJ Manuel over the top of a lackluster secondary, and a minimal pass rush by that Prefect Swam defense! Manuel finished 20 of 28 for 245yds and 2TDs. Missing his top-two WRs due to injury, Manuel went to speedsters Marquise Goodwin (6 for 81yds & 1TD) & T.J. Graham (2 for 74yds & 1TD). Chris Ivory provided the only consistent offense the Jets could speak of, with 15 rushes for 98yds and a TD. Bilal Powell chipped in with 5 rushes for 27yds. David Nelson would’ve been satisfied with 1 catch for 12yds if it was accompanied by a win, but he was able to secure a reception right before the final two-minute warning of the contest.
HC Rex Ryan summed it up by not blaming the entire loss on Geno’s poor performance, but he did mention that “we have to protect the football at all costs,” referring to his starter’s 4 turnovers (and almost 5!). On his secondary getting torched by Manuel, he commended Dee Milliner and pondered aloud that “maybe it starts with what we’re asking our guys to do,” explaining that it could’ve been play-calling and not lousy play that cost the Jets. Ed Reed blitzed at times, but other times he trailed the play by several yards. Whether it be Rex’s record after bye weeks, or a team dinner at an arcade, Rex believes “you prepare well, and you hope when you go out there on Sunday’s, you get a win!” Let’s see how the team prepares this week, and what kind of performance they put on in Baltimore against the Ravens on Sunday.
-Joseph Haas Editor, HCoftheNYJ.com