Bills vs. Jets: 10 Things We Learned from New York's 48-28 Win

Aidan MackieSenior Analyst ISeptember 9, 2012

Bills vs. Jets: 10 Things We Learned from New York's 48-28 Win

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    What a day to be a New York Jets fan. 

    After an offseason of media scrutiny, Gang Green unleashed everything on the divisional rival Buffalo Bills on Sunday. 

    The team played an almost flawless game, with the offense, defense and special teams clicking on all cylinders.

    Don't be fooled by the final stat line for the Bills offense. It was simply outmatched by the Jets defense, and only managed to be successful in garbage time. 

    Here are 10 things we learned from New York's outstanding blowout win over Buffalo in Week 1. 

Mark Sanchez Has Improved His Decision-Making

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    The Jets offense was unable to do anything all preseason long, and many blamed their struggles on quarterback Mark Sanchez

    However, the fourth-year man spurned the critics and was terrific on Sunday afternoon.

    Sanchez completed 19-of-27 pass attempts for 266 yards, along with three touchdowns and just one interception.

    The USC product made outstanding decisions all day long. He never forced throws into coverage, and his lone interception was the result of a flukey tip.

    Sanchez was able to avoid the Bills pass rush by completing short passes, allowing his athletic receivers to move the ball upfield.

    Sanchez also made terrific throws on deep balls to Stephen Hill and Santonio Holmes.

    The much-maligned quarterback could not have begun his season on a better note, and he has instilled confidence in both the coaching staff and fans alike.

Special Teams Is a Major Strength

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    Special teams has been one of New York's best units in recent years, and Sunday we learned they still boast an elite special teams unit. 

    Jeremy Kerley brought a punt 68 yards back to the house, and Joe McKnight also had a solid return on his only opportunity of the day. 

    Nick Folk didn't make a mistake on two chip shots and several extra points, and new punter Robert Malone was also outstanding. 

    Special teams coach Mike Westhoff has once again put together an elite unit. 

    With dangerous returners such as Kerley and McKnight, as well as a solid kicking duo, New York's special teams will be one of its strengths this year. 

The Pass Rush Still Needs Work

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    As dominant as the Jets were, the pass rush was unable to make much of an impact.

    Although they did record quarterback hits and pressure Ryan Fitzpatrick at times, the defense could not record a single sack against Buffalo.

    After a terrific preseason, Quinton Coples had a disappointing regular-season debut. He only recorded one tackle and was also charged with a roughing-the-passer penalty in the fourth quarter.

    Muhammad Wilkerson also had a subpar performance, and Aaron Maybin was nearly invisible.

    Although LaRon Landry and Calvin Pace were solid in pass-rushing roles, the unit was a disappointment as a whole.

    When the team faces elite quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Philip Rivers later this year, they need to get more pressure in the pocket. 

The Secondary Makes Plays

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    While the Jets front seven wasn't spectacular, the secondary was unbelievable. 

    Cornerbacks Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson all had interceptions, and Cromartie brought his pick to the house. 

    Newly acquired safeties LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell also made a massive impact, as Landry forced a fumble and Bell recovered it and brought it back for a solid return.

    Winning the turnover battle is always a good recipe for success, and it showed on Sunday.

    If New York's secondary can continue to make plays, there is no reason to not expect the Jets defense being the best in the league this season.

Tony Sparano's Play-Calling Is Daring and Creative

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    Tony Sparano was under heavy criticism in the preseason for his bland and vanilla play-calling, but on Sunday, it was anything but that. 

    Sparano constantly lined up the offense in different formations, and he attacked the Bills defense in a variety of ways. 

    The offensive coordinator called short passes to avoid Buffalo's ferocious pass rush, and it paid dividends.

    When the Bills began to pick up on the short completions, Sparano wasn't afraid to attack the team's youthful secondary deep as well.  

    Sparano also used Tim Tebow in various roles, including as a Wildcat quarterback and a wide receiver.

    It is a breath of fresh air to see New York's offense being so creative after experiencing a Brian Schottenheimer playbook the last few years. 

The Jets Don't Need to Rely on Tim Tebow to Be Successful

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    Tim Tebow was on the field quite a lot for Gang Green, but he didn't make much of an impact. 

    The former Broncos quarterback rushed the ball five times for just 12 yards out of the Wildcat. He did not attempt a pass. 

    Other than an onside-kick recovery late in the fourth, Tebow's presence wasn't felt. 

    Despite his lack of an impact, Gang Green's offense cruised. 

    Sanchez was phenomenal passing the ball, and the rushing game was pretty solid. 

    While many predicted that the Jets need Tebow to be successful on offense, Sunday proved otherwise. 

The Team Has Its Swagger Back

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    The problems and bickering in New York's locker room were widely reported this offseason. Many fans and analysts thought the locker-room chaos would prevent the Jets from being successful. 

    However, Gang Green seemed like a strong unit on Sunday. 

    From the beginning, the team boasted confidence on both sides of the ball. 

    The team did not have a single penalty in the first half, showing its discipline on the field. 

    Rex Ryan and the coaching staff seemed to have complete control over their roster, and a blowout win was the result. 

The Offensive Line Is Back to Its Pre-2011 Form

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    After being one of the finest units in the NFL for several seasons, the Jets offensive line took a huge step back last year. 

    On Sunday, it looked like the unit had reverted back to its elite self. 

    The line did not allow a single sack; heck, they didn't even allow a quarterback hit. 

    A Bills pass rush that boasts the likes of Mario Williams and Mark Anderson was simply outmatched by the Jets blockers. 

    Austin Howard proved to be a tremendous upgrade over Wayne Hunter at right tackle, as he kept Super Mario quiet all game long. 

    The unit also managed to push back the Bills front seven on rushing plays. 

    Offensive line was one of the major question marks for the Jets heading into the season, but it seemed to be a strength on Sunday. 

The Jets Receiving Corps Is Not a Weakness

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    The lack of star power on New York's receiving corps was a heavy topic point for Jets haters this offseason. 

    Many said the unit would be an Achilles' heel for Mark Sanchez. 

    However, the corps was terrific on Sunday. 

    Rookie Stephen Hill had a field day. He recorded five catches for 89 yards and two touchdowns in his NFL debut. 

    While he struggled with drops, Hill's combination of size and speed was too much for the Bills' inexperienced secondary.

    Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley also had solid outings, and backup tight end Jeff Cumberland was also a factor.

    New York's wideouts are some of the most athletic in the entire league.

    They could be too much for the majority of opposing secondaries to handle.  

The Defense Needs Sione Pouha on the Field

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    On a negative note, the Jets defense was torched for 7.5 yards a rush by the Bills' running backs. 

    C.J. Spiller has a career day, exploding for 169 yards and a touchdown on just 14 carries. 

    New York's struggles against the run can be highly attributed to the absence of Sione Pouha. 

    Pouha is arguably the best nose tackle in the game, and he is among the league's finest run-stuffers. 

    The 33-year-old's presence is extremely important throughout the regular season, especially against teams with explosive running games. 

    Jets fans are hoping Pouha is back in pads next week in a critical game against the Steelers

BONUS: Quick Preview of Next Week

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    The 1-0 Jets head to Pittsburgh next Sunday in a crucial AFC matchup with the Steelers next week.

    New York will be looking to avenge its devastating loss to Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship a couple years back. 

    Although Pittsburgh has yet to hit the field this season, there are some big questions about the team's age on defense and offensive line. 

    If Sanchez can continue making terrific decisions and the defense can get any kind of pass rush, I expect New York to squeak out a critical road win.

    Prediction: Jets 24, Steelers 17