Bills vs. Jets: Week 10 special teams grades
By Justin Fried
The New York Jets special teams unit was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise awful 41-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills. What grade did the unit ultimately earn?
While the New York Jets special teams unit was by no means perfect in the team’s embarrassing 41-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills, the unit was the only facet of the team to produce any sense of positivity.
As the old saying goes, “in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man reigned as king.”
But for the sake of optimism in a week filled with pessimism, let’s first focus on the positives.
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Kicker Jason Myers continued his fantastic season by connecting on his only field goal attempt, a 55-yarder as time expired in the first half to give the Jets their first points of the game going into the second half. Myers has been an incredible find for the team and he remains one of the most consistent performers on the Jets week in and week out.
With his most recent performance, Myers has tied the NFL record for the most field goals made from 55 yards or more in a season with four. With six games remaining in the year and given the Jets struggles on offense, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get a couple more opportunities to break that record and give him a spot in the NFL record books.
That’s certainly something Jets fans couldn’t have envisioned going into the 2018 season.
Elsewhere, return man Andre Roberts quietly had himself a very nice afternoon returning five kicks for 132 yards and one punt for 15 yards. He didn’t necessarily have any huge returns to skew those numbers either so it was altogether a really solid day for the veteran return man.
Roberts and the entire return team have been able to give the Jets consistent returns throughout much of the year and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the former Atlanta Falcon contend for a Pro Bowl spot come January.
At the same time, however, it wasn’t a picture-perfect outing for the Jets special teams unit.
The embarrassment of the game, unfortunately, spilled over into special teams as the Bills ran a fake punt on 4th-and-6 midway through the first quarter completely catching the Jets punt coverage team off guard. Buffalo brought former Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas into the game as the upback which probably should have had the team on high alert.
After all, wide receiver Andre Holmes was the upback for the team’s first punt making it even more suspicious to make the change midgame to a former collegiate quarterback of all things. Still, the change went undetected and the Bills were able to pull off the fake punt successfully.
These are the type of mental lapses that plagued the Jets special teams unit last season and have continued to plague the entire team this year. While the unit has been significantly better than in past seasons, this was undoubtedly a bad look for special teams coordinator Brant Boyer and his crew.
Punter Lachlan Edwards added to the Jets mishaps by shanking his final two punts of the afternoon for 30 and 26 yards respectively. The Sam Houston State product had had a very solid day to that point booming multiple punts for over 50 yards before his late-game errors.
Edwards struggled with shanked kicks early on in his career before eventually refining his game in recent years. Perhaps it was simply a product of overuse, never a good look for a team, or maybe the Jets misfortunes spread to Edwards like a sickening disease. Whichever may be the case, the Jets will hope to correct the issue and see Edwards punting more like his early kicks than his later ones.
At the end of the day, the Jets special teams unit was unquestionably the most efficient and successful of the three units on the team, although that’s not saying very much. Regardless, the Bills fake punt and Edwards’ shanking issues bring the final grade down significantly.