The Jets lost a one-sided affair on Sunday at MetLife Stadium, dropping a 45-17 contest to the AFC East-leading Buffalo Bills. S Sharrod Neasman recorded his first career INT, rookie RB Michael Carter had his fourth rushing TD, WR Elijah Moore registered his fourth TD in four games and fellow rookie Michael Carter II had a fumble recovery. But it wasn't nearly enough as the visitors had 5 takeaways (4 interceptions, 1 fumble recovery) and turned a close game into a runaway in the third quarter. With the loss, the Jets fell to 2-7 overall and 0-3 in the AFC East while the Bills improved to 6-3 and 3-0 in the division.
White Endures a Tough Day
Mike White, making his third consecutive start in place of injured rookie QB Zach Wilson, scuffled all afternoon against one of the NFL's elite defenses. Entering the contest completing 72.7% of his passes with 5 TDs and 4 INTs, White was victimized by 4 INTs. His first three picks led to 17 points as a 10-3 game late in the second quarter got away from the Jets in third.
"We couldn't get into a rhythm," White said. "Just executing across the board, starting with me, I have to take care of the football, go out, execute the plays and get us out of bad situations. That's what it boils down to."
He added, "I think I was a little too aggressive in some spots, but I have to learn from it. I'll be damned if I let this game beat me twice. I'm going to watch the film, we all are. We're all going to learn from my mistakes, we're going to get better from it and that's the only thing you can do in a situation like this. Learn from it, embrace it and don't let it beat you twice."
Joe Flacco, who was active for his first game with the Jets this season, entered with 4:53 remaining after White was sacked by DE Efe Obada and then nailed hard by DE A.J. Epenesa on his way to the turf. White finished 24 of 44 for 251 yards.
Rookie Zach Wilson, the No. 2 overall selection in April's Draft who sustained a PCL strain vs. the Patriots on Oct. 24, missed his third consecutive game and watched from the sideline in street clothes. Wilson did get some work in during pregame warm-ups, going through passing drills.
"I know we worked him out pretty hard this morning, so we'll see how that went," Robert Saleh told reporters after the game. "He's getting better every day, so we'll see where he's at from an injury standpoint before we make any decisions."
Tango With the Big Buffalo
Josh Allen, who completed 15 of 21 for 187 yards in the first half, had scoring passes to RB Matt Breida (15 yards) and WR Stefon Diggs (12 yards) as the visitors built a double-digit lead at halftime. DE Shaq Lawson and DT Quinnen Williams shared a third-down sack of Allen in the first quarter in plus territory and S Jarrod Wilson, lining up in his 80th NFL game, recorded his first career sack when he rushed unimpeded on a blitz during the second quarter.
"This isn't a lack of effort thing," DT Sheldon Rankins said. "Guys are continuing to study hard, making sure they're locked in to their assignments, to the game plan. But for some reason, it's not coming together when we need it to. We'll continue to fix, finetune and get back to the drawing board. We'll get this thing rolling, it's just been rough so far."
Forcing punts on the Bills' third and fourth possessions, the Jets defense couldn't hold late in the closing minutes of the half. Diggs did most of the damage, first beating Brandin Echols on a double move for a 57-yard gain down the sideline and then hauling in his TD on Javelin Guidry, who was inserted into the lineup when Echols hobbled to the sideline with a quad injury.
The Bills buried the Jets with a 21-point third-quarter barrage, scoring on TD runs from WR Isaiah McKenzie (8 yards), Breida (15 yards) and RB Zach Moss (1 yard). Buffalo had 139 yards on the ground, averaging 5.8 yards a carry. Allen passed for 366 yards in the road win.
"Clearly it's not good enough," Saleh said of the defense's performance. "Ever since that Tennessee game, it hasn't been good enough. [Against] Atlanta, we played alright. Ever since that bye week, not nearly as good as where we want it to be. We have eight games left and from coaches to players, we have to find a way to get better every day. Otherwise, you're selling yourself short."
See Best Images from the Game at MetLife Stadium
Offense Met with Resistance
Something had to give. The Jets had been the NFL's best offense the past two weeks, averaging 32 points and 498.5 yards a game while totaling 8 TDs in games against the Bengals and the Colts. But the Bills countered with a defense that ranked No.1 in a number of major categories.
The Bills came out swinging from the outset. After forcing a three-and-out on the Jets' first possession, White was intercepted the next time he had the ball as Obada deflected a pass that was intercepted by nickel CB Taron Johnson. That turnover set up a Tyler Bass 29-yard field goal, making the score 10-0.
The Jets punted on three of their first four possessions. Then right before halftime, trailing by 17-3, White connected on a deep pass to Corey Davis for 29 yards. That explosive play would have had the Jets in scoring territory, but star safety Micah Hyde ripped the ball from Davis' grasp and recovered for the visitors.
"When you're playing a team of Buffalo's caliber and we have the self-inflicted wounds that we had -- five turnovers -- you're going to put up a number like that," Saleh said. "You're going to give up points, you're not going to score very many and it's going to look ugly. Right there at 10-3, you have a chance to get it to 10-6 worse-case scenario.
"I know Corey is grinding, trying to gain more yards, trying to fight, so it's not from a lack of effort or concentration. He's trying to fight for yards and credit them, they got the ball out. Come out in the second half and not be able to get something going is frustrating."
Earlier in the second quarter, the Jets were turned away on a fourth-and-1 when the clock expired and they were penalized for a delay of game.
Matt Ammendola provided the Jets their first-half points as his 48-yard field goal ended a possession that saw chunk plays from White to TE Ryan Griffin (21 yards) and also followed a lateral throwback that ultimately resulted in an 18-yard toss to WR Keelan Cole.
Carter, who totaled 82 yards (39 rush, 43 receiving), got in from 1-yard out early in the fourth to make the score 38-10. Moore maintained his hot streak with the game's final minutes, hauling in a 15-yard TD from Flacco. It was the second-rounder's fourth TD in four games and third receiving TD in the past two contests.
The Jets inactives were QB Zach Wilson, RB La'Mical Perine, OL Isaiah Williams, DL Tim Ward, DT Jonathan Marshall and S Elijah Riley. … RB Tevin Coleman (hamstring) was back in the lineup for the first time since Week 5 and gained 29 yards on 4 carries and averaged 21.5 yards on 4 kickoff returns … CB Brandin Echols (5 tackles) exited the game with a thigh injury and Javelin Guidry (2 tackles) took his place in the lineup.… C.J. Mosleyled the defense with 7 tackles. … Bryce Hall exited in the fourth quarter and his replacement, Isaiah Dunn, helped create a turnover the next play. Hall returned the next series. … S Ashtyn Davis forced a fumble on RB Matt Breida and Michael Carter II recovered in the second half. … FB Nick Bawden got his first snaps as a Jet along with DE Ronnie Blair. DE Hamilcar Rashed, an undrafted free agent, was also active for his first NFL game.