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New York Jets Defensive Report Card: Week 1 vs. Buffalo Bills

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 8: Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills fumbles under pressure from Jordan Jenkins #48 of the New York Jets during their game at MetLife Stadium on September 8, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 8: Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills fumbles under pressure from Jordan Jenkins #48 of the New York Jets during their game at MetLife Stadium on September 8, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
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(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

The New York Jets lost to the Buffalo Bills in heartbreaking fashion to start off their season 0-1. Here are letter grades for each unit on their defense.

There’s no such thing as New York Jets football without mentioning blowing fourth-quarter leads. Adam Gase and company fell to the Buffalo Bills in their season opener in demoralizing fashion, finishing with a final score of 17-16.

The Jets were up 16-0 late in the third quarter, and everything fell apart on both sides of the ball. The Bills put up 17 unanswered points all in the final 19 minutes of the game and walked out of MetLife Stadium having stolen a win from Gang Green.

The Jets defense had its ups and downs, but for the most part, they had a very good game. They forced four turnovers, one of which being a pick-six by C.J. Mosley. The loss on Sunday was entirely on the offense. The defense did their part to secure a win, but the offense couldn’t provide.

How did each unit do? Individual grades for each defensive unit’s Week 1 performance:

Next: Defensive line

Defensive Line

Grade: C+

The Jets’ defensive line looked no different than it was last year. The group had an average night, but nothing spectacular. Steve McClendon did recover a fumble on the opening drive, which was forced by Jordan Jenkins on a strip-sack. Other than that, the defensive line was relatively quiet in Sunday’s game.

Henry Anderson had a good game, hitting Josh Allen three times. That was the theme for all Jets defensive linemen on Sunday. The team hit Allen nine times but only sacked him once. Leonard Williams was the only other defensive linemen to get to Allen, hitting him once.

One of the most disappointing players from Sunday’s game was Quinnen Williams. Williams was nowhere to be found, not recording a single stat in his career debut. He went down with an ankle injury in the fourth quarter, which appears to be minor. Williams rotated snaps with McClendon and failed to make his presence felt in his debut.

The Jets defense needs to pride itself on getting to the quarterback this season. On Sunday, they didn’t do that. The Bills showed the Jets that if you give a quarterback time to throw the football, at least one cornerback will be beat. Hopefully, they can apply more pressure to Baker Mayfield next week on Monday.

Next: Linebackers

Linebackers

Grade: A-

The Jets’ linebacking core made plays left and right on Sunday. They’re clearly the strongest and deepest unit on the team and it isn’t even close. Even without Avery Williamson, they still looked near flawless until C.J. Mosley went down.

When Mosley came out of the game with a groin injury, the entire defense fell apart. The Bills immediately began to walk all over the Jets’ defense, especially Devin Singletary. Singletary rushed for 70 yards on just four attempts, most of them coming after Mosley was injured. This defense needs Mosley, and it showed on Sunday.

With Mosley, however, the Jets were lockdown. Mosley made a great play swatting a pass to prevent a touchdown, chasing down the receiver and knocking the ball down to save what would have been a touchdown. Some people argued that the Jets overpaid Mosley, but on Sunday he looked like he was worth every single penny.

Neville Hewitt also played well and appears to be the full-time starter in place of Williamson. He picked off a pass from Allen that was tipped in the air by fellow linebacker Harvey Langi. Jordan Jenkins made a big play as well, making a strip-sack on Allen in the opening drive.

The linebackers are the only group keeping the Jets defense intact. It was very clear that without Mosley on the field, the Jets defense simply wasn’t good. The group will have to keep its high level of play if the Jets want to hide their deficiencies at cornerback.

Next: Secondary

Secondary

Grade: D+

So, it turns out, contrary to Mike Maccagnan’s belief, that cornerbacks are an important position to have. The Jets’ corners had yet another bad game, getting beat left and right. The cornerback position might be the spot that kills the Jets’ entire defense in 2019. Things need to change.

Trumaine Johnson had a terrible game. He was getting burnt all game long and didn’t make any plays at all. Darryl Roberts also struggled, and Brian Poole got hurt at one point in the game. Arthur Maulet was his replacement, which is truly terrifying to think about.

Roberts arguably lost the Jets the game in the fourth quarter when he allowed John Brown to catch a 38-yard touchdown pass to take the lead. He took a terrible angle to the ball, making what should’ve been an easy incompletion into a game-winning touchdown pass. He and Johnson need to pick up their game if the Jets seriously want to compete in football games this season.

Marcus Maye had a very good game. He locked up all game long and easily could’ve walked away with two interceptions. One interception was called back due to a holding call on Roberts, and he also dropped a would-be interception later in the game. Nonetheless, Maye had a great game, looking like who he was before all the injuries occurred.

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Overall, the Jets defense had a good game. When you force four turnovers and score a defensive touchdown and safety, your team is absolutely supposed to win that football game. The Jets offense was an atrocity on Sunday, and missing a PAT and a field goal doesn’t help either. If the defense can play like this all year long, the wins will come with time.

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