The Jets beat the Buffalo Bills 27-20 behind a good day from Geno, a great day from Powell and a dominant day for the defense. There was sloppiness with 20 penalties but a win is a win. Here is the good, the bad and the ugly:
1) Geno Smith - The Jets young signal caller had a good day today throwing for over 300 yards for the first time in his career as well as having his first multi-touchdown game. Along with his own touchdown run Smith accounted for all three scores for the Jets. He finished 16/29 for 331 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He was getting the ball out quicker and was more decisive today. Geno led a 12 play touchdown drive to start the game going 3-3 on 3rd down on that drive including his first of many deep balls. After his first interception, which Jim Leonhard baited him into throwing to Santonio Holmes in double coverage, he came right back and threw a 51 yard bomb to Stephen Hill for the touchdown. Things seemed to be coming apart in the late 3rd/early 4th quarter after an interception, where linebacker Kiko Alonso stepped in front of a slant route, and a cavalcade of defensive penalties allowed the Bills to tie the score but Smith came right back with a 69 yard pass to Santonio Holmes for the touchdown and the win. Smith showed poise and mental toughness. This game is just a glimpse at what Smith can become. There will be ups and downs but the Jets may have themselves a quarterback.
2) Bilal Powell - Powell had a career game today running for 149 yards on 26 carries. Powell took advantage of the zone blocking scheme, often cutting back and breaking into the secondary for 12-20 yard gains. There were not a lot of big holes especially in the middle of the line but Powell was able to find a crack and exploit it. Powell used read option plays along with Wildcat runs to give the defense different looks as well. With Ivory injuring himself again the team will have to ride Powell and if he plays like today Ivory won’t have a big role when he returns.
3) Holmes and Hill - The Jets got breakout games from both Stephen Hill and Santonio Holmes this week. Hill had 3 catches for 108 yards and a touchdown. Hill had a 45 yard catch on the first drive and a 51 yard catch for a touchdown and is finally rounding into the deep threat the Jets need. Holmes had 5 catches for 154 yards and a 69 yard game-winning touchdown. Santonio looked like player he was at the start of last year and is the playmaker the Jets desperately need. Holmes playing well opens up the field for Hill and Kerley and will influence Winslow’s effectiveness down the road.
4) The offensive line - The offensive line only allowed 2 hits on Geno Smith and no sacks. Powell had 149 yards and the offense had 513 total yards. Austin Howard completely shut down Mario Williams again and D’Brickashaw Ferguson played well also. Both Ducasse and Colon struggled with penalties. Ducasse had 4 penalties, including a personal foul and two consecutive penalties that short circuited a drive, while Colon had a couple of penalties as well including a holding penalty.
5) Defensive dominance - The Jets made EJ Manuel’s first road start a nightmare hitting him 16 times and sacking him eight times. The key to this onslaught was the return of Quinton Coples who not only had good pressure most of the night but drew some double teams that freed up Muhammad Wilkerson and the rest of the pass rushers. Wilkerson had 2 sacks and a forced fumble. David Harris, Demario Davis, Sheldon Richardson, Calvin Pace, Dawan Landry and Antonio Allen had the other sacks. They held CJ Spiller to 9 yards on 10 carries and Fred Jackson had 6 rushes for 13 yards discounting a fluky 59 yard run where he hid behind the line on a 3rd and 1. This team is much faster and much more disciplined with setting the edge. Demario Davis was terrific stopping the run and blitzing although he did get beat a couple of times in coverage by tight end Scott Chandler. Manuel finished 19/42 for 243 yards and a touchdown. He also lost a fumble but was saved by some referee incompetence as they called him down. The Jets could not challenge the play because Rex foolishly wasted the team’s two allowed challenges previously.