New York Jets Instant Impact: Breaking Down the Big Week 1 Win over Buffalo
What a complete and thorough butt-whipping! The Jets' 48-28 win has a majority of the country eating crow, not just because of the offensive output, but because every single negative thing said about the team turned out to be completely wrong.
The wide receivers and offensive line were outstanding, and Mark Sanchez played an incredible game. The Bills' heads were spinning trying to keep up with alleged "ultra-conservative" play-caller Tony Sparano, and Ryan Fitzpatrick was completely befuddled by the Jets' defense.
The Bills' status as preseason darlings of the AFC East didn't last long. Jets' haters across the country have been eager to pick the Bills as a team on the rise, despite the fact that they lost eight of their final nine games in 2011 and all four of their preseason games this year in much uglier fashion than the Jets. That pick is now out the window, at least for one week.
With the Jets facing a difficult early-season schedule, this win against an AFC East foe was crucial not only in the standings, but also to help instill confidence in Jets fans, the team and their coaching staff. The win was the Jets' sixth straight against the Bills.
Did Mario Williams even play in this game?
Champ of the Game: Mark Sanchez
Sanchez was absolutely brilliant in a huge flip-off to all of his haters. After dealing with a seven-month period of everyone telling him he can't succeed in this system, Sanchez turned in one of the best performances by any NFL quarterback this weekend. He finished 19-for-27 for 266 yards and three touchdowns.
Who was the player of the game?
He started the game with decisive precision, methodically leading the team to a 27-7 halftime lead. Sanchez was 15-for-22 for 184 yards and two touchdowns at the half.
Most important, though, was the maturity he showed. Sanchez bounced back from an early bonehead interception and also showed no disruption in his flow any time he came off the field for Tim Tebow. Bravo!
Chump of the Game: Tim Tebow
Tebow had some early chances in the running game but failed to do anything. He didn't fool anyone on any of his running plays, and about the only good thing that happened was that he didn't fumble. Give him credit for recovering the Bills' attempts at a fourth-quarter on-sides kick.
Defensive Star: LaRon Landry
Landry led the team with six tackles and was as-advertised as a big-hitter at safety. His forced fumble led to an important tack-on field goal at the end of the first half, and his hit on Fred Jackson knocked the Bills' starting running back out of the game.
It was a decent all-around effort by the defense, as Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie played well too, but Landry stood out.
Mark Sanchez Approval Rating:
Offensive Star: Stephen Hill
Hill had two touchdowns in his NFL debut and, more importantly, had no drops. He ran a terrific route on his 33-yard second-quarter touchdown and contorted his body to extend the ball over the pilon on a third-quarter touchdown. He finished with five catches for 89 yards and two touchdowns.
Kudos should be given to Austin Howard as well. Mario Williams had as many tackles as the pretzel vendor in section 313. Howard worked on Williams without a lot of backup help to boot.
Special Teams Star: Jeremy Kerley
Think Kerley is out of Rex Ryan's doghouse? Kerley not only played well on offense, but his 68-yard punt return touchdown was the team's first in 10 years. Kerley went untouched through the middle of the field for the team's first punt-return touchdown since Santana Moss in 2002.
What was your favorite play of the game?
Darrelle Revis left the field in the middle of the fourth quarter after being kicked in the back of the head by Bart Scott while he was making a shoe-string tackle. It was reported after the game that Revis was fine.
Bryan Thomas left the game early with a slight hamstring injury.
Turning Point of the Game
Antonio Cromartie's pick-six at the start of the second half sealed the Bills' fate. If the Bills could have put some points on the board on the team's first drive, they could have maybe lingered around for a while.
Instead, Cromartie's interception finished the Bills for good and demoralized Fitzpatrick even further.
Revis Island Report
Revis baited Ryan Fitzpatrick into attempting a pass to Stevie Johnson on the Bills first drive, then stepped in front for the easy interception. I wonder if Fitzpatrick has learned his lesson.
On a 3rd-and-13, Fitzpatrick hit Johnson for a 12-yard gain. Landry came up for the tackle to stop Johnson from converting.
Johnson converted a 3rd-and-4 on Revis with a nice timing play with Fitzpatrick. Two plays later, C.J. Spiller ran for a 56-yard touchdown.
Fitzpatrick looked Revis' way halfway through the third quarter, but the pass was completed out of bounds.
Fitzpatrick continued to try to prove a point by throwing at Revis with the Bills down 41-14. Revis made back-to-back great pass defenses in the fourth quarter before leaving with a possible concussion.
The Rookie Report
On the first play after Fred Jackson's injury, Quinton Coples stoned Spiller for a loss on 2nd-and-3. Coples was later flagged for a late hit on Fitzpatrick.
Stephen Hill turned in the best performance by all rookies. Hill caught his first NFL touchdown and showed sure hands on all passes thrown his way.
Hill made a tremendous adjustment on a flea-flicker early in the third quarter for a nice 22-yard gain.
Best Coaching Move
The coaching staff gets an A+ and a five gold stars for this game. The Jets were thoroughly prepared, while the Bills simply had no clue as to what was going to happen next to them.
The staff didn't face any major coaching decisions as the game was out of hand early, but their decision to take the field goal instead of going for it on 4th-and-1 at the end of the first half was the right call. The chip-shot field goal made it a three-score game, and then they were able to tack on another field goal before the half.
If the Jets went for it and failed, it would have given the Bills some momentum.
NFL Personality Tweet of the Game: Kris Jenkins
@krisjenkins77: Cromartie pick 6. That game is over!!!!! Stick a fork in some Bison Meat the Bills are DONE!!!
Joe Namath's Tweet of the Game
No action from Namath on Twitter today as he was at the stadium to participate in the Curtis Martin jersey retirement ceremony.
Why does Ryan Fitzpatrick keep throwing at Darrelle Revis?
Great Quote From the Booth
Rich Gannon, after Fitzpatrick tried to force two fourth-quarter passes to Johnson despite tight coverage:
This is just a good example of Ryan Fitzpatrick being stubborn. If I'm Ryan Fitzpatrick, I'm gonna look for work elsewhere. I'm staying away from Revis, who has played really, really well today against Stevie Johnson.
The Refs Blew This One
Sanchez's first-quarter attempt at a flip pass to Jeff Cumberland resulted in an interception and stopped some good early momentum for the team. The play went to a review, and it appeared that Bryan Scott's foot came down on the sideline.
The play should have been overturned, but the ruling stood. CBS announcer Marv Albert appeared to think the play should have been reversed as well.
Did You Notice?
According to the Jets' Twitter feed, the last time the Jets wore all-white uniforms against the Bills at home was a 22-17 win in 1994.
Brandon Moore moves past Guy Bingham to seventh place on the Jets all-time games played list for offensive linemen.
The Jets chose to announce their defensive starters before the game, including Coples.
Sanchez, Aarron Maybin, Nick Bellore, Kenrick Ellis and Ellis Lankster were game captains.
Tebow lined up at tight end on the game's first play to start the season.
Rookie Stephon Gilmore threw Sanchez to the ground the first time he lined up as wide receiver.
Bills cornerback Leodis McKelvin wasn't fooled one bit on Kerley's touchdown reception. He didn't bite on a double-move, but Sanchez put the ball in a perfect spot.
Nearly the entire bench stormed Kerley after the touchdown to celebrate. Think they felt a huge weight lifted? The Jets were the first team to 14 points this Sunday.
LaRon Landry made a fantastic tackle on Stevie Johnson to assure that he wouldn't convert a 3rd-and-13 early in the second quarter.
Antonio Cromartie had a terrible read on Spiller's 56-yard touchdown run. Bart Scott and Landry both had shots at him as well.
Joe Namath, Don Maynard, Ray Mickens, Victor Green and Fred Baxter joined Martin for his jersey retirement ceremony.
CBS color man Rich Gannon was all over the place in his analysis on the Jets' quarterback situation. At times he said it was working great, while other times he ripped the idea of it.
Cromartie should have been flagged for a penalty on his interception return for a touchdown for going to the ground on a front flip into the end zone.
Kenrick Ellis could have had Spiller stopped in the backfield on his 51-yard third-quarter run, but he appeared to be tackled while trying to make the play. Fitzpatrick got out ahead of the play and threw a key block on Bell.
The Jets' first punt came with 14:23 left in the fourth quarter.
Rex Ryan laughed off being knocked down on a sideline pass to Bills' tight end Scott Chandler. It's easy to do when you are up by 27 points.
What This Means Now
The Jets can get the media off their back for a week or until they find something else to nitpick about.
The Jets looked like one of the sharpest teams in the NFL this weekend and it appears the Bills are in line for another losing season. If the Bills are really this bad, the Jets could have one of the top-two spots in the AFC East locked up pretty early.
The Jets now have a leg up on what will probably end up being a fight for second place behind the Patriots. With a brutal early schedule, this was a huge win for the Jets as games with the Texans, 49ers and Patriots loom over the next five weeks.
The media will now have to find something else to complain about as the Jets offense showed its potential, finally utilizing its entire playbook.
It's the first trip back to Pittsburgh for the Jets since their AFC Championship game loss in 2011. Kickoff is set for 4:25 p.m. ET.
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