Posted on November 3, 2017, by Travis Pulver
When the New York Jets dumped a ton of talent during the offseason, the NFL-loving free world assumed they were trying to tank. That’s the only conceivable reason why the Jets would dump so much talent and not bring in a better quarterback than Josh McCown. But then the craziest thing happened when the season began.
They weren’t terrible. But heading into Thursday night’s game against the Buffalo Bills, no one really expected them to win the game. After all, the Jets offense was mediocre on a good day and the Bills have one of the best defenses in the NFL this season.
But the Jets had two things going for them entering the game. Their defense isn’t half bad either, and their offense is better than Buffalo’s.
That much was abundantly clear by the time the game ended Thursday night.
The Jets found they could run against the Bills and decided to lean on Matt Forte and Bilal Powell to carry the team. Between the two they combined for 151 yards and two touchdowns (both by Forte). As a team, the Jets ran for 194 yards.
Josh McCown didn’t do a ton. But he did enough completing 14 of 20 passes for 140 yards and a touchdown. He added another 13 yards and a touchdown on the ground, his third on the season (which ties him for the league lead among quarterbacks).
“I look at us, and we’re not far off,” Jets wide receiver Jermain Kearse said after the game (Newsday). “It just takes doing the little things right. Once we can correct that stuff, I really, truly believe we can flourish.”
When you have a defense that records seven sacks and forces three fumbles it certainly helps. The defense also did a great job of bottling up the Buffalo ground game holding LeSean McCoy to 25 yards on 12 carries. Tyrod Taylor had 35 yards and a touchdown on six carries. But he didn’t have a bad night through the air (29-40 for 285 yards and two touchdowns).
Buffalo was still in the game at the half. But behind 10-7, they needed to wake up in the second half and play better on both sides of the ball. But the offense continued to struggle, forcing the defense to be on the field more and get worn down.
The Jets were able to extend the lead to 24-7 in the third quarter. Matt Forte’s second touchdown of the day put the game out of reach with 11:21 left to play. A Tyrod Taylor fumble set the Jets up just five yards from the end zone.
New York tacked on a field goal before the game ended. Buffalo tried to make it interesting late in the fourth quarter with a pair of garbage touchdowns. The final score, 34-21, made the game look much more competitive than it was.
Buffalo needed to win to keep up with the New England Patriots. But are now a game behind the Patriots in the division. They will have to figure out how to protect the ball better. They can’t make the mistakes they made Thursday night and expect to beat the Saints next week.
The Jets will travel to Florida to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.