The Jets had hopes of returning to MetLife Stadium and getting back on track against the Buffalo Bills, in last place in the AFC East, with the 32nd-ranked offense in many categories, and starting their fourth quarterback of the season in Matt Barkley.
But the Jets had issues of their own. Veteran QB Josh McCown was starting for rookie Sam Darnold, sidelined with a foot strain, and the long injury list at other positions was taking its toll. And if the home side was looking past the Bills, that would have been a mistake, as the Vikings back in Week 3 could have told them.
Buffalo moved to a touchdown on the first two plays of the game and didn't look back, building a 31-3 halftime lead. Then the Bills were content to play the Jets relatively even in the final 30 minutes and take a 41-10 victory back to Western New York. In the game the Jets were outgained by 451 yards to 199 and had no takeaways for the fourth straight game.
With the loss, the Jets fell to 3-7 with their fourth straight defeat while the Bills ended their four-game skid and rose to 3-7. The Jets head into their bye week trying to get people healthier, then will stay at home for their first meeting of the season with New England on Nov. 25.
Here are eight takeaways in roughly chronological order from today's game:
1. Rough Start
The Jets defense got caught by the Bills and Barkley on the game's first two plays. First Barkley off play action hit just-signed WR Robert Foster down the right side over just-returned-to-action CB Trumaine Johnson for 47 yards. On the next play RB LeSean McCoy took the misdirection handoff off an open right side for 28 yards and the opening score. They didn't look like the 32nd-ranked offense in the NFL on that drive.
2. Way the Ball Bounces
Late in the first quarter, the Bills were moving again, with a big assist from a fake-punt completion from upback Logan Thomas to the aforementioned Foster on fourth-and-6 for 15 yards. It appeared the drive into the Jets' red zone was going to end well for the home side when LB Avery Williamson separated WR Zay Jones from the ball short of the goal line. Only problem: Buffalo TE Jason Croom was there in the end zone to pounce on the ball for the visitors' second score and a 14-0 lead.
Snapshots from the AFC East Matchup at MetLife Stadium
3. Herd Keeps Thundering
The Bills, known lovingly up in Western New York as the Herd, put together three more scoring drives in the second quarter, two for TDs. The first TD drive went 64 yards in nine plays and ended with a Barkley pass to a wide-open third TE, starting LT Dion Dawkins who was announced as eligible for the play. He shrugged off LB Jeremiah Attaochu and was open for the 7-yard toss and a 24-0 lead with 7:58 to go in the first half. Then Buffalo marched on its next drive to McCoy's second TD, from a foot out, for a 31-0 margin with 42 seconds left. McCoy finished with 26 carries for 113 yards, the fourth 100-yard game of his career against the Jets.
4. Offensive Doldrums
The offense had nothing on the first four possessions — four 3-and-outs, 9 yards of offense, McCown 2-for-7 for 13 yards, one sack and two passes batted down behind the line. Finally on Series No. 5, McCown found Isaiah Crowell on a screen and he maneuvered 18 yards for the Jets' initial first down of the day. That drive moved past midfield but resulted in McCown's interception under heavy blitz pressure.
5. Long-Distance Myers
The Green & White's sixth series produced their first points. With two seconds left in the half, Jason Myers came on for a 55-yard field goal, which he nailed. That made it three times Myers has tied the franchise home distance record after he hit 55-yarders vs. Miami and Minnesota. Nick Folk, Jay Feely and Pat Leahy all also had 55-yarders at home, and Feely was on the sidelines reporting for CBS today. Needless to say, the field goal was a brief moment of positive in a half that otherwise went all Buffalo's way for a 31-3 lead at the break.
6. Cro Gotta Fly
The offense finally found success on its second possession of the second half in finding cracks in the Buffalo D's tough front seven for four first downs. The final chain mover was Isaiah Crowell's inside-out cut to the left pylon with no Buffalo defender close enough to stop him from a 5-yard TD run, his sixth rushing score of the season. That sliced the Jets' deficit to 31-10.
7. Green Bubble Popped
Any hopes of a Monday Night Miracle-ish comeback, with Laveranues Coles in the stands to watch it, were punctured on a third-and-20 43-yard level-3 longball from Barkley to Foster, who grabbed the pass on the sideline at the Jets 18 over the defense of Morris Claiborne. The Bills then converted another third down on the NFL's No. 2 third-down defense when Barkley dropped back and had time to thread an 8-yard scoring dart to Zay Jones tumbling in the back middle of the end zone. That made it 38-10 with 0:33 left in the third frame.
8. Quiet Endgame
McCown got the offense across midfield in the first part of the final period, only to throw his second interception of the day, to S Micah Hyde. The second half produced better yardage procurement for the Jets but not much more in points as the Green & White had one TD three punts and the pick. Stephen Hauschka's second field goal, from 31 yards, made it 41-10 with 2:44 to play. One more series for the offense ended on a Trenton Cannon dropped fourth down pass and this one was in the books.