Grading the Bills
RUNNING GAME: A
The top-10 rushing attack from the past few seasons emerged Sunday as the Bills rushed a whopping 46 times for 212 yards and two touchdowns. LeSean McCoy finally had room to run, and took advantage with 113 yards on 26 carries. With Chris Ivory out of the lineup because of injury, Marcus Murphy took over as the No. 2 running back and had a nice game, gaining 69 yards on 14 carries. Receiver Isaiah McKenzie picked up 32 yards on a combination of jet sweeps and end arounds. Give credit to the offensive line as a whole for creating running room for McCoy and the rest of the backs.
PASSING GAME: A
Matt Barkley played one of the best games a Bills quarterback has played in recent years. He finished 14 of 25 for 232 yards and two touchdowns – which would have been three had Zay Jones not fumbled at the 1-yard line. Barkley was composed, accurate and decisive about where he was going with the football. Jones had a career day with eight catches for 93 yards and a touchdown. Undrafted rookie Robert Foster had three catches for 105 yards. Kelvin Benjamin and Terrelle Pryor each were held without a catch on three targets, but it hardly mattered.
RUN DEFENSE: A-
Tremaine Edmunds returned from a one-week absence because of a concussion and finished with a team-leading eight tackles. Defensive end Jerry Hughes had a tackle for loss. Shaq Lawson continues to fill in for the injured Trent Murphy admirably. The Bills held the Jets to 17 yards on eight rushes in the first half before the defense was content to give up a few yards in the second half to keep the clock moving.
PASS DEFENSE: A
Cornerback Tre’Davious White locked down the Jets’ Quincy Enunwa, holding him to four catches for 18 yards. Matt Milano had a fantastic interception in the first half, tracking the ball and picking it off in front of running back Trenton Cannon. Safety Micah Hyde got his first interception of the season in the second half. Hughes got one of the Bills’ three sacks, with the others coming from Lawson and safety Jordan Poyer. The Bills got eight hits on Josh McCown, a sign that even if they didn’t all end up in sacks, they were applying significant pressure. Jordan Phillips and Lawson had passes defensed on batted balls at the line of scrimmage, as did Hughes and Kyle Williams.
SPECIAL TEAMS: A
Isaiah McKenzie provided a spark on the return teams, taking his kickoff back 33 yards and gaining 42 yards on four punt returns. Kicker Stephen Hauschka continues to be one of the best in the NFL, drilling a 54-yard field goal in the second quarter and adding a 31-yarder late. Punter Colton Schmidt didn’t have great hang time. His four punts went for 174 yards, but the net average was just 34.8 yards because one of them went for a touchback. The fake punt executed by tight end Logan Thomas was nicely done.
Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll went deep into the play book, pulling out a tackle-eligible play that resulted in a 7-yard touchdown catch by Dion Dawkins. Special-teams coordinator Danny Crossman called for the fake punt at the perfect time. Coach Sean McDermott has stressed winning the line of scrimmage and not turning the ball over. His team did both Sunday. Penalties weren’t much of an issue, with just four for 30 yards. One of those was on an illegal shift against the offense that erased a first-down run on a fourth-and-1 play, but that was the only misstep.
Grading the Jets
RUNNING GAME: D-
Starter Isaiah Crowell had an 18-yard run, as well as a touchdown. That’s good. His other six carries went for 1 yard. That’s bad. Backups Elijah McGuire and Trenton Cannon combined for 10 carries and 60 yards, but most of that came when the game was out of reach. Quarterback Josh McCown wasn’t a factor in the running game, carrying just once for 4 yards.
PASSING GAME: F
McCown’s first start of the season came in place of injured rookie Sam Darnold. He looked rusty, going 17 of 34 for just 135 yards and two interceptions, a quarterback rating of 35.8. Without injured receiver Robby Anderson, the Jets lacked any sort of deep threat. Their longest completion to a wide receiver was 11 yards. Even with Anderson, the Jets don’t have a very impressive group of receivers.
RUN DEFENSE: F
Plain and simple, the Jets were dominated at the line of scrimmage. McCoy was often to the second level of the defense before anyone could even get a hand on him. Linebackers Avery Williamson and Darron Lee shared the team lead with 11 tackles each. Lee, however, failed to stop McCoy at the goal line. “The defense was giving up way too many rushing yards,” defensive tackle Leonard Williams. That sums it up nicely.
PASS DEFENSE: F
Cornerback Trumaine Johnson, the Jets’ big free-agent pickup, got smoked by Foster for a 47-yard gain on the game’s first play from scrimmage. It didn’t get much better from there. The pass rush was a nonfactor, with just one sack of Barkley and five quarterback hits. The lone bright spot was veteran cornerback Morris Claiborne, who had four passes defensed.
SPECIAL TEAMS: D
Kicker Jason Myers hit a 55-yard field goal at the end of the first half to break up the shutout. Return man Andre Roberts did a nice job, picking up 15 yards on his lone punt return and 132 yards on five kickoff returns, with a long of 36 yards. Punter Lachlan Edwards averaged 36.1 net yards on seven punts. The Jets’ punt coverage was below average. Getting fooled on the fake punt was a bad look and significantly hurts the overall grade.
Here’s what kind of day it was for the Jets. They had three players called for holding – on the same play! Talk in New York will be about whether the Jets should make a coaching change during their bye week. Even if that doesn’t happen, faith in Todd Bowles has evaporated. “Nobody’s quit on anybody,” receiver Jermaine Kearse said. That the question had to be asked in the first place is the bigger concern. “We didn’t coach well in any aspect of the game,” Bowles said. That’s accurate – and damning.
Story topics: Brian Daboll/ Danny Crossman/ Isaiah McKenzie/ Jordan Phillips/ Jordan Poyer/ Kelvin Benjamin/ Kyle Williams/ LeSean McCoy/ Marcus Murphy/ Matt Barkley/ Matt Milano/ Micah Hyde/ Robert Foster/ Sean McDermott/ Shaq Lawson/ Terrelle Pryor/ Tre'davious White/ Zay Jones