Jets vs. Bills: New York's Biggest Winners and Losers from Week 17
Here are the last winners and losers from the 2013 season.
Loser: Mark Sanchez
In what could have been Mark Sanchez's last start as a New York Jet, he laid another egg.
His 55.1 rating is ugly enough, but even many of his completions came on screens and garbage-time plays. But once again, the biggest stat on Sanchez's line came in the turnover column, as Sanchez threw a pick-six and lost another fumble.
He did make a nice throw to Jeremy Kerley deep down the sideline, but he missed plenty of throws and could not capitalize on excellent field position, even with a solid running game backing him up.
How the Jets handle Sanchez's contract from here remains to be seen, but they simply cannot go into next season with him as the unquestioned starter.
Winner: Shonn Greene
Over the last month or so, Shonn Greene has put together a string of quality games, which will undoubtedly increase the market value for the future free agent.
The Bills defense is hardly a stout unit against the run, but when given room, Greene can be a tough runner to bring down. Seventy-four yards on 19 carries are not exactly eye-popping numbers, but where there is no threat of a pass, It's hard to carry an offense alone.
However, the Jets must be careful when deciding whether or not to re-sign Greene. It is hardly a coincidence that his best performances are coming when he is so close to free agency. Giving him a big contract might make him complacent.
Loser: Mike Westhoff
In what was his last game on the sidelines as the Jets special teams coach, Westhoff probably cannot wait to retire at this point.
The Jets actually had two field goals blocked (one still went through the uprights) and lost two fumbles on kick returns that the Jets were lucky enough to recover.
Usually, special teams are a strength for the Jets, but they have cost the team dearly this season. It might be best for Westhoff's blood pressure to retire now.
Winner: Braylon Edwards
Edwards only had three catches, but they were all very impressive and only make us wonder why the Jets never retained him after the 2010 season.
He did get called for a bonehead penalty for taking off his helmet, but he did a lot more good than bad keeping drives alive.
Despite only being on the team for two weeks, Edwards has been the Jets' best perimeter receiver and is making a strong case to be re-signed by the team after the season.
Loser: Tony Sparano
Reports came out earlier in the day that Sparano would be fired after the season, and he did little to convince the Jets otherwise.
He used Tim Tebow on one play for no apparent reason. He did not use any man-coverage beaters to get guys open. Sanchez was not sharp, but he did not give him any help from a schematic standpoint.
Rex Ryan thought Sparano was a running game and Wildcat genius. As it turns out, Sparano was neither, and the team paid a dear price.
Winner: Offensive Line
This unit has taken plenty of heat over the last week for allowing 11 sacks to the Chargers, but in truth, it has played rather well this season.
It did not allow a single sack all game and bulldozed some huge lanes in the run game for Greene and Powell. Sanchez had plenty of time on most of his dropbacks.
Many assume that Austin Howard needs to be replaced, but he has played very well this season, and the Jets should consider investing in him long-term. The real question will be at the guard position, where both Brandon Moore and Matt Slauson are free agents.
Loser: 3rd-Down Defense
Headed into this game, the Jets were one of the toughest defenses in the league on third down. However, they let up a handful of key completions to Steve Johnson that kept scoring drives alive and prevented any hope for a Jets comeback.
Cromartie did a decent job on Steve Johnson, but when he did let up completions, they came at key moments in the game.
They stopped the Bills on eight of 15 third downs, which, by most standards, is acceptable, but this was an off day for the Jets defense.
Winner: Bilal Powell
Like Greene, Powell took advantage of solid blocking by the offensive line and showed excellent burst through the hole.
He averaged 4.7 yards per carry, and he also took a long check-down for a 25-yard completion that was called back on a holding call.
If the Jets decide to move on from Shonn Greene after the season, Powell’s performance may be a big reason why.
Loser: Clyde Gates
Not only did Gates not record a single receiving stat, but he suffered another head injury just a week after coming back from a serious concussion.
Blessed with elite speed, Gates flashed some potential this year, but recurring injuries may ultimately end his career in the NFL. With heightened awareness around brain injuries, teams will be hesitant to invest in a player with a long history of concussions because of their nature to happen more frequently with each injury.
Winner: Nick Folk
Folk has been the only beneficiary of the Jets' poor play in the red zone, as he accounted for all nine of the Jets' points.
In what has been a dreary season, Folk has been a bright spot. He is 18-of-23 on the season with a long of 54. Folk had a rough start to his Jet career in 2010, but has since turned into one of the best and most consistent kickers in the league.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!