ORCHARD PARK, NY – Nick Folk lined up to kick a 48-yard field goal. The Jets were looking to strike first on their way to their sixth victory of the season. But as the ball sailed towards the uprights, it veered way off to the right thanks to a strong gust of wind. It was an ominous sign that we probably should’ve taken more seriously at the time.
It was like a giant hand came down and swatted the ball away. Like the universe was working to keep the Jets off the board, the loss already predetermined. The same way it seems the universe is bending over backwards to get the Giants back into the playoff race. In what seemed like only a few moments the Jets went from in control, to trailing 17-0. They eventually lost 37-14.
Destiny is certainly a cheap way to explain a loss, but it seems easier to get your head around than how a team can look so good one week, and putrid the next. Despite their record, the Bills aren’t a bad team. They’re not exactly the ’85 Bears either. Being shutout in the first half is embarrassing.
With the loss the Jets home/road split is becoming more pronounced. Their lone victory on the road was against a Falcons team that is in the running for the top pick in this year’s draft. That’s also the only game on the road that Geno Smith didn’t turn the ball over. He’s had at least two turnovers in every other contest. After torching a depleted Bills secondary in week 3, a healthy group returned the favor. Smith only completed eight of his passes, while throwing three picks. The only touchdown he threw was a pick-six
But Smith isn’t alone in his struggles. The defense continues to give up big plays. The storyline at the start of the game was how inexperienced the Bills receivers were, but they certainly took advantage of a suspect Jets secondary. Sure Dee Milliner gets a lot of the attention, but Antonio Cromartie has been inconsistent too. The Jets needed him to follow up on his strong performance last season, but he’s struggled.
The “Sons of Anarchy” continue to play well, and the Jets once again kept a team to less than 100 yards rushing (The Bills had 68 yards for 1.8 ypc), but they only sacked Manuel once and the team failed to get a single turnover.
But even knowing all that, the worst sign is the way the Jets react in these games. It seems when the game starts going bad they let things spiral. Simply put, when it rains it pours with this team. The only real fight they showed was right after halftime. Smith engineered a touchdown drive that cut the deficit to 20-7. 13 points is certainly a manageable comeback. But just as quickly the Jets lost the momentum. The Jets only have one comeback after trailing by double digits, and a defensive score spurred that.
For all the bad, there were positives. There was the run defense that was already mentioned, and the run offense was pretty good as well. The Jets ran for 133 yards with 4.6 ypc. A 69-yard run by Chris Ivory near the end of the game certainly helped those numbers, but the rushing attack wasn’t dormant outside of that play.
It’ll be a rough week, but with the way things have been going it’d be far from a shock to see the Jets get back in the win column next week.
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