The NY Jets didn’t receive too many passing grades in their Week 1 loss to the Buffalo Bills.
The NY Jets limped their way out of the starting gate and put together an embarrassing Week 1 performance that saw them fall to the Buffalo Bills by a final score of 27-17.
But as we all know, that final score certainly doesn’t tell the whole story.
This was a game that was never close and one-sided really until the very end. The Bills whooped the Jets on both sides of the ball and if it wasn’t for some untimely self-inflicted errors and a little bit of luck, the score would have reflected that.
The offense appeared as though they hadn’t made any strides from a year ago while the defense looked like they took a step back. All the while, the coaching staff did the team no favors.
The Jets may just be 0-1, but after an ugly showing like that in Week 1, it has many already believing that the season might as well be over. And it takes a truly disastrous Week 1 performance to arrive at that conclusion so early.
There really aren’t many positives to take away from the team’s opening-day loss. A few individual players managed to shine amidst a sea of darkness, but the overall units they were a part of ultimately failed.
Nonetheless, let’s put on our grading caps and do our best to assign some grades to each facet of the team. Things could get ugly.
Next: 1. Offense
1. NY Jets’ offense
What is there really to say about the offense?
Once again, the final stats don’t look awful. The Jets finished with 254 yards which is certainly subpar, but they averaged 4.8 yards per play which was just 0.2 shy of the Bills.
Quarterback Sam Darnold finished 21-of-35 for 215 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Certainly, he’s had worse statistical performances in his career.
But like most things, context is necessary here.
The Jets scored two offensive touchdowns in Sunday’s game. One came on a garbage-time rushing score from backup running back Josh Adams when the game was already over and the other came courtesy of a 69-yard catch and run from Jamison Crowder.
But even the latter score was helped by a little luck. Crowder ran to the flats on a 3rd-and-7 catching the ball well short of the marker — a common theme throughout the afternoon — only for two Bills players to collide allowing the shifty slot receiver to take it 69 yards to the house.
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Remove those fortuitous 69 yards and his 58 yards of garbage-time stat-padding and Darnold threw for a total of 88 yards in the game.
Remove that 69-yard gain and the 86 yards the Jets managed on their final drive where the Bills had already given up and the team managed only 99 yards of offense.
That paints a better picture of what the offense looked like on Sunday. Pure incompetence at nearly every level.
There is no saving grace here. Sure, the offensive line looked slightly improved and Mekhi Becton‘s debut was promising. But it isn’t enough to save the unit from a well-deserved failing grade.
Don’t expect this to be an isolated occurrence either. This offense is abysmal.
Next: 2. Defense
2. NY Jets’ defense
Perhaps one of the more disappointing aspects of Sunday’s game was the underwhelming showing from the defense — particularly the pass defense.
The Bills abandoned the ground game early on with the duo of Devin Singletary and Zack Moss receiving just 18 carries throughout the game despite their team dominating for most of it.
Instead, Josh Allen was once again their leading rusher, but he only managed 57 yards on the ground. However, it was his career-best performance in the passing game that ultimately bested the Jets.
Allen threw for a career-high 312 yards and two touchdowns while completing 72 percent of his passes. In the air, Allen found his rhythm early beating Pierre Desir like a drum and hooking up with his top two receivers (Stefon Diggs and John Brown) for consistent positive gains.
This was exasperated by the Jets’ total lack of a pass-rush. Aside from safety Marcus Maye — who was one of the only good things about Sunday’s game — the Jets couldn’t sniff Allen with just one QB pressure from a player not named Maye on 46 dropbacks.
That isn’t going to work. There is no way a defense could be successful with that incompetent of a pass-rush.
Quinnen Williams was bodied all day and the Jets lacked any serious pressure off the edge. The only saving graces on defense were Maye who stepped into the shoes that Jamal Adams had filled and Blessuan Austin who put together a strong day.
Shout out to Harvey Langi who also made quite a few nice plays playing out of position in relief of the injured Blake Cashman.
Maye and Austin’s forced fumbles save this defensive grade from being any worse, but it was far from an ideal showing for Gregg Williams’ unit in Week 1.
Next: 3. Special teams
3. NY Jets’ special teams
The Jets got to see a lot of first-year punter Braden Mann on Sunday with the rookie booting the ball six times with a long of 58.
But while he averaged a whopping 46.3 gross yards per punt (good for top-10 in the NFL), his abysmal 34.3 net yards per punt (bottom-four in the league) were evidence of a bigger problem.
The Jets struggled with their kick coverage all day with rookie safety Ashtyn Davis overrunning the play a few times as a gunner on punts. Former Jets’ returner Andre Roberts had a nice day returning five punts for 69 yards and one kick for 31 yards.
He came close to breaking a few of those two.
Sam Ficken was perfect on the day making both of his extra points and connecting on his only field-goal attempt — a 31-yarder to end the first half.
But the return game was poor as well with both Davis and Josh Malone returning one kick apiece for 16 yards. Davis narrowly avoided a fumble on his return after attempting to hurdle the first tackler he saw — not an ideal strategy for the former Cal track star.
Altogether, it was an underwhelming day for the special teams that could have gone worse if Davis’ fumble had been ruled a turnover.
Nonetheless, Mann’s strong day and Ficken’s perfect afternoon kept the unit afloat.
Next: 4. Coaching
4. NY Jets’ coaching
There really should be no sugarcoating things here — the Jets’ coaching staff was completely outclassed by their opposition in Week 1. And that really goes for both sides of the ball.
On offense, this doesn’t need explaining. Yes, Adam Gase is dealing with inferior talent across the board, but he continues to avoid putting his players in positions to maximize their talent.
Where’s the pre-snap movement? What’s going on with the pass-protection plan? Each week last year Gase seemed ill-prepared for his opponents and he had all offseason to prepare this time around.
Instead, he’s simply asking his inferior players to line up and beat the guys in front of them. There are no bells and whistles, there’s no creativity, there is nothing of note here.
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The Jets are asking a 32-year-old Chris Hogan to line up and simply beat the guy in front of him. They’re asking Breshad Perriman to beat Tre’Davious White with no help from scheming.
That’s a recipe for failure and that’s exactly what happened in Week 1.
On defense, Gregg Williams did what he could with a lackluster pass-rush and it was encouraging to see him use Marcus Maye in the way that he did. But there were still plenty of times where he sent two or three-man rushes and the secondary got torn apart.
The Jets aren’t going to get pressure sending two or three players after the quarterback. And their secondary is going to get picked apart.
Williams is also working with inferior talent, but Josh Allen’s day was too easy on Sunday and that’ll have to change against a fantastic San Francisco 49ers’ coaching staff next week.