Defense Bends but Doesn't Break
The Jets defense kept the Bills out of the end zone in Sunday's 18-10 loss. The Bills had six field goals on eight attempts, but they also did not punt. Buffalo had 422 yards on offense and QB Josh Allen threw for 307 yards while completing 69.8% of his passes (30 of 43) while running for 61 yards. The defense, however, did a good job on third down, holding Buffalo to 3 of 11 (27%).
"We did a good job," said LB Neville Hewitt, who tied for the team lead with 13 tackles. "There's always going to be things we can clean up, but we kept them out of the end zone and made them kick field goals. If you make a team kick field goals, that's going to give your team the best chance to win games, so we improved on that today."
He added: "Just continue to build off it like the second half of the Miami game we played dominant. And then today we played pretty good. There's always going to be things we can clean up and we go watch the film and learn from our mistakes. Those little things we made mistakes on, clean them up next week and that's going to give us another chance to keep on improving every week."
The Bills' first trip inside the red zone came early in the second quarter, but OLB Tarell Basham stripped the ball from QB Josh Allen's hands and DL John Franklin-Myers recovered. The Jets offense then orchestrated a 7-play, 80-yard drive to take a 10-3 lead. The defense allowed one more field goal in the first half, with 2 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
The defense came up with two big fourth-quarter stands to give the offense a chance to put points on the board. Late in the fourth quarter with the Bills up, 12-10, the Jets defense held in the red zone again as DL Quinnen Williams sacked Allen for a 5-yard loss. The Bills extended their lead to 15-10 and the Jets' defense stopped the Bills again on their second-to-last possession as Allen tried to get a first down and run the clock out, but Henry Anderson and Folorunso Fatukasi stopped him short at the two-minute warning.
"It's tough, but at the end of the day we have to keep giving the ball back to the offense as much as possible and hope they put something on the board whether it's a touchdown or field goal." said LB Avery Williamson, who also had 13 tackles.
See Best Images from the Week 7 Game at MetLife Stadium Against Buffalo
Sam Back in the Saddle
Sam Darnold started hot but couldn't find a rhythm in the second half. He was 11 of 15 (73.3 completion %) through two quarters and finished 12 of 23 (52.2%) and 2 interceptions, one which came on the offense's final possession.
"I have to go back and watch the film because when I watched the beginning of the game, I felt like he was seeing things well, he was getting the ball out quickly, he was in a great rhythm," head coach Adam Gase said. "Then in the second half, it just seemed like we didn't have a lot of plays. I really need to watch the film to see big-picture wise of what it is and what happened. It's hard for me to look at the numbers because it didn't feel that way when I was looking at the first half thinking back on it."
Darnold added: "It was great to get back out there, especially that first half. I felt like we got in a rhythm. Obviously we have to execute a little bit better, hopefully put some more points up on the board. Besides the late second quarter turnover that I had, I felt like I played pretty well in that first half.
Darnold's other interception came late in the second quarter, which set up a field goal that cut the Jets' lead 10-6 heading into halftime. He tried to go to WR Jeff Smith with multiple defenders in the area and CB Dane Jackson came down with the pick.
"I should've moved on in the progression," Darnold said. "I tried to force one in there, it just didnt work out for me."
One of Darnold's best throws of the season came in the first quarter when he hit Braxton Berrios, who started for Jamison Crowder (groin) in the slot, on the sideline to convert on third-and-20. Four plays later, however, RB La'Mical Perine was stuffed on fourth-and-1 on Buffalo's 18-yard line.
After getting out to a 10-0 lead, the offense sputtered and couldn't find any success in the second half. The Jets had only two first downs in its five possessions -- one of which came on a penalty on the offense's final drive, and totaled just 4 yards in the second half (190 total).
"We just have to look at the second half and learn from it," said Darnold, who was sacked six times. "I know it's not necessarily what people want to hear, but that's just how it is. We have to continue to get better week after week and look at ourselves in the mirror and figure out what we're doing wrong and how we can get better."
The Jets rookie class was impressive on Sunday. Second-round pick Denzel Mims, who was activated Saturday from injured reserve (hamstring), received his first NFL start and tied for the team lead with 4 catches for 42 yards, including two first-down receptions. He also had a nice block on Pro Bowl CB Tre'Davious White when fellow rookie Perine found the end zone for his first career TD run to put the Jets up, 10-3, in the second quarter.
"Early, it looked like there was some good stuff there," Gase said. "He showed up, he made some plays, made some catches. You can tell his length is real, you can feel him. He uses his body to his advantage. I'm sure there are going to be a lot of things we're going to want to correct."
Mims added: "It felt good just getting out there and getting my feet wet and just be there with my teammates and make some plays. It felt amazing. I felt like I had a pretty decent first game, I can do a lot more stuff and I can improve a lot, but I'm going to fix my mistakes."
He also had a nice block on Pro Bowl CB Tre'Davious White when fellow rookie Perine found the end zone for his first career TD run to put the Jets up, 10-3, in the second quarter. Perine finished with 39 yards on 11 carries and had 2 receptions for 16 yards.
Rookie LT Mekhi Becton returned to the lineup after missing two games with a shoulder injury and helped pave the way for Perine and Frank Gore, who ran for 60 yards on 11 attempts.