Bills vs Jets: Instant Grades & Analysis for the Jets Week 1 Game
The 48 points marks an opening-day record for the Jets.
Mark Sanchez asserted himself as the unquestioned No. 1 quarterback and the Jets featured numerous weapons across the offense.
Besides some shaky defense, this was as perfect an opening day as anyone could ask for as the Jets turned in one of the top performances in the NFL this weekend while the Bills return to Buffalo with their tails between their legs.
Mark Sanchez: A
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OVERALL GAME GRADE: A
Sanchez answered every critic in the country and showed that he has taken a huge leap forward in maturity and ability, for one game anyway. Sanchez took shots down the field, had a number of beautifully thrown balls and didn't let the specter of Tim Tebow bother him one bit.
With the Jets trying to mil the clock, there wasn't much for Sanchez to do in the fourth quarter.
Another efficient quarter for Sanchez. His job is to now milk the clock, while still keeping long drives alive. He hooked up with Stephen Hill on a nice flea-flicker and made long throws when he needed. Still a nearly flawless performance
Sanchez hooked up with Stephen Hill on the first play of the second quarter for a beautiful 33-yard touchdown to extend the Jets' lead to 14-0. Sanchez has looked decisive and confident throughout the game and gained confidence as the quarter went on.
Sanchez could have made a better throw to a wide-open Jeremy Kerley on 3rd-and-6 at the two-minute warning, but that's nitpicking.
After Yeremiah Bell's fumble recovery, Sanchez operated a terrific hurry-up offense to tack on a late field goal.
The best part about Sanchez's performance is that he has shown no interruption in momentum when he comes out of the game for Tebow.
Aside from his ill-advised interception, Sanchez has looked sharp. His touchdown pass to Jeremy Kerley was absolutely beautiful and he hit some nice passes to Jeff Cumberland and Kerley. If he limits his mistakes, all should be good.
Sanchez has played nice with Tebow, showing good chemistry in playing the two-quarterback system. He does get graded down slightly due to the interception and for missing a wide-open Santonio Holmes at the 10-yard-line just before the touchdown.
Sanchez is currently 6-9 for 67 yards with the touchdown and interception.
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OVERALL GAME GRADE: A
So each of the four-quarter grades don't average out to an A, but that A+ in the third quarter holds a lot of weight. Sanchez was tremendous from the start and Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill each had strong games. The offensive line was incredible all game as Sanchez didn't hit the ground once. The team had no problem getting the ball in the end zone, so the media will have to find something else to complain about.
The only complaints came on Sanchez's early interception and they really didn't have much of a running game.
The offense was asked to salt away a 41-14 lead, but couldn't put together any significant drives in the early part of the fourth quarter. However, when the Bills got within 13 points late, they marched right down the field and finished the Bills for good.
The Jets didn't go into their typical conservative shell as they kept their foot on the throats of the Bills. When was the last time you saw a flea-flicker called by the Jets while they were up 27 points? The key here in the second half is to chew up the clock and to put up some more points, even if they are in the form of field goals.
The running game has been about average and will need to get better in games that are against better opponents. Tebow came in on a 1st-and-10 and gained three yards. He still hasn't done much.
23 points in the second quarter is an easy A+.
The story of the offense for this game has been the team's offensive line. Austin Howard continued to make Mario Williams a non-factor. Sanchez has been sharp, the receivers have had no problems getting open and if this unit continues to avoid mistakes, they will be as tough to deal with as Rex Ryan has said they would.
Thee team put together an absolutely beautiful, time-consuming drive late in the second quarter. They converted three third-downs on their way to a 24-7 halftime lead.
The final drive consumed 7:09 over 15 plays and 73 yards.
It's funny what happens when the team actually runs the full offense. The team was driving well before the Sanchez picked and then marched down the field systematically for the first score of the year. Austin Howard has done a fantastic job on Mario Williams and the line has been great in both the running and passing games.
Holmes and Kerley have done a nice job getting open and Stephen Hill hasn't dropped a pass yet.
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OVERALL GAME GRADE: C
The defense did a good job to create turnovers, but this was a sloppy performance at best. They allowed too many big plays to an average offense and allowed the Bills to get back into the game after being given a 41-14 lead.
The defense generated little-to-no pressure on Ryan Fitzpatrick and showed poor fundamentals tackling on some plays. C.J. Spiller torched the defense for 169 yards on just 14 carries.
This was supposed to be the team's best unit, but it was the weak link here by far.
The Jets' defense lost it's intensity in the fourth quarter as it appeared they rested on their laurels with a 41-14 lead. They allowed a couple of easy Bills' scores and some big plays to let the Bills back into the game. The Jets' lead was whittled down to just 13 with 5:58 left.
Antonio Cromartie set the tone early that the Bills were not going to get themselves back in this game. His interception return for a touchdown extended the Jets' lead to 34-7 and ended the game for all intents and purposes.
LaRon Landry continued his hard-hitting ways. He has been outstanding since he got here and if he stays healthy will find himself in the Pro Bowl.
The team gave up it's second 5-yard run to C.J. Spiller, which was spurred by a key block by Ryan Fitzpatrick on Yeremiah Bell. It looked like Kenrick Ellis was tackled in the backfield when he was about to stop Spiller for a loss on the play.
If the Jets could have kept that zero on the scoreboard into halftime, it would have been huge psychologically for both teams. C.J. Spiller ran through an area vacated by Antonio Cromartie, who inexplicably ran in the opposite direction of the play. LaRon Landry and Bart Scott took poor angles on the play.
Two plays before Spiller's touchdown, the Bills converted a 3rd-and-4 on a Stevie Johnson reception in front of Darrelle Revis.
The unit redeemed itself with the late fumble recovery and return. A note to Yeremiah Bell though, please secure the ball during a run back and that better be the last lateral we see on a return.
Bryan Thomas missed the second quarter with a hamstring injury.
Ryan Fitzpatrick seems to have learned his lesson in trying to throw at Darrelle Revis. Revis made Fitzpatrick look silly by baiting him to target Stevie Johnson, only to step in front for the easy pick. Kyle Wilson quelled what looked to be a decent Bills drive with a pick of his own. Calvin Pace had a nice stop in the backfield early as the defense has been as strong as advertised.
Special Teams A-
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OVERALL GAME GRADE: A+
In Mike Westhoff's final season, the Jets had a nearly perfect game on special teams. Jeremy Kerley had a huge play early with his 68-yard punt return for a touchdown and they didn't look back from there.
Kick coverage was good all day, Folk had 12 points on his own and Robert Malone did well on both of his punts.
Robert Malone finally made his debut as the Jets' new punter and averaged 51.5 yards on two punts. Nobody was going to miss T.J. Conley anyway, but he is even a more distant memory after those punts. All coverage remained good and Folk hit another extra point.
Nothing really to speak of here. Nick Folk hit his extra points and the coverage was fine.
Jeremy Kerley had the Jets' first punt-return touchdown since 2002. He went 68 yards, untouched, right through the middle of the Bills' punt coverage. If the Jets don't suffer any second-half hiccups, that will be looked at as the play that broke the game open. All coverage units and Nick Folk have done their job as well.
Folk hit 25 and 39-yard field goals to extend the Jets' lead to 27-7 then nailed a touchback on the subsequent kicks.
Joe McKnight ran the opening kickoff to the 19-yard line and Nick Folk nailed his only kickoff for a touchback. Nothing to complain about here.
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OVERALL GAME GRADE: A+
The Jets team was as prepared as can be and the Bills really didn't stand a chance right from the start. The Jets offensive play calling was diverse and aggressive and the Bills had no idea what was coming. Rex Ryan and Tony Sparano pushed every right button all game long. For at least one week, it seems he was right all offseason while most of the rest of the country was wrong.
The team went a touch conservative, especially on defense at the start of the quarter, allowing the Bills back in the game. The play calling picked back up though as Sparano made a nice aggressive deep-pass call with the Bills playing the run. Mark Sanchez hooked up with Santonio Holmes for a big gainer on the play.
Loved the flea-flicker call up by 27 points. The whole world has Tony Sparano pegged as an ultra-conservative play-caller, but he has been anything but that. The Jets have done a tremendous job in mixing conservative plays with shots down the field. They are not satisfied with 41 points, which is a huge difference from years past.
The Jets continued to totally outmatch the Bills in all aspects of the game. Through the first 30 plays, the Jets had an incredible balance of 15 passing plays and 15 running plays. The one point of contention could be that Sparano removed a red-hot Sanchez inside 10-yard-line in favor of Tebow, who ended up losing yards the next play.
Ryan made the right decision to review the spot on Jeremy Kerley's 3rd-down reception, even though the referees didn't reverse the call.
The decision to take the field goal instead of going for it on 4th-and-1 was the right move.
The Jets have absolutely unleashed their total package on offense and the Bills have no idea what is coming. Tony Sparano's play calling has been creative and unpredictable and the team is clearly up for the game. The decision to keep the team's offense vanilla during the preseason is paying huge dividends as the Bills are being clearly outmatched.