The Jets began their 2020 season where the 2019 season ended – at Buffalo. The team, however, didn't leave Orchard Park, NY, with the same result as last season, falling to the Bills 27-17. Below is a closer look at the snap count and how playing time was distributed.
Seven Jets were on the field for all 56 snaps, five of whom made their debut for the Green & White: QB Sam Darnold, LT Mekhi Becton, LG Alex Lewis, C Connor McGovern, RG Greg Van Roten, RT George Fant and WR Breshad Perriman. The revamped offensive line started five new players compared to Week 1 of 2019, and the group allowed three sacks against the Bills in its first game as a unit. Perriman finished his first game as a Jet with 3 catches for 17 yards on 5 targets.
Le'Veon Bell received the heaviest workload among the running backs -- he was on the field for 32 snaps (57%) even though he missed the second half because of a hamstring injury sustained in the closing moments of the first half. Bell beat Bills LB AJ Klein on a wheel route and Klein grabbed Bell, who twisted awkwardly and fell to the turf while grabbing his hamstring. Klein was flagged for pass interference that set up a 31-yard field goal from Sam Ficken, but Bell likely would have scored a TD had he not been impeded and the pass had been completed. Veteran Frank Gore received 14 snaps (25%) in one of his old stomping grounds and had 6 rushes for 24 yards for an average of 4.0 yards per carry. Josh Adams, whom the Jets elevated from the practice squad Saturday, was in for 13 snaps (23%) and had 2 rushes for 8 yards including a 2-yard touchdown with 57 seconds remaining in the game.
Three wide receivers saw the field Sunday – Perriman, Chris Hogan and Jamison Crowder. Hogan, who played for the Bills from 2012-15, was in on 51 snaps (91%) and was targeted 4 times and had 1 reception for 0 yards. Crowder, who took 48 snaps (86%), led the Jets with 7 receptions for 115 yards and 1 touchdown, a 69-yard catch and run in the third quarter.
Chris Herndon led the tight ends with 40 snaps (71%) followed by Ryan Griffin with 18 (32%) and Trevon Wesco with 8 (14%). Herndon, who played his first meaningful snaps since 2018 after a lost sophomore season, finished with 37 yards on 6 receptions, 4 that came in the offense's final drive.
See Best Images from the Season-Opening Matchup in Buffalo
Linebacker Neville Hewitt and safety Marcus Maye were the only two defenders to play all 87 snaps Sunday. Maye was all over the field in the season opener, leading the Jets with 10 tackles, 2 pass defenses and 2 sacks. He also forced a fumble on QB Josh Allen on the Bills' opening drive that was recovered by fellow S Bradley McDougald, who played in 86 snaps (99%). Cornerbacks Brian Poole and Bless Austin each also played on 86 snaps. Austin forced Allen's second fumble and Poole sacked Allen in the third quarter for one of his 9 tackles.
Quinnen Williams received the most snaps on the defensive line with 50 (57%) and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams spread the reps pretty evenly. Kyle Phillips received the second most with 41 (47%) followed by Nathan Shepherd with 34 (39%), Henry Anderson with 32 (37%), Folorunso Fatukasi with 31 (36%) and Steve McLendon with 31 (36%). The defense ranked No. 2 in the NFL last season against the run in large part because of the DL. On Sunday, the group held Bills RBs Devin Singletary and Zack Moss to 44 yards on 18 carries (2.4 avg). Allen, however, was successful on the ground in the first half with 46 yards and 1 touchdown. but was held to 11 yards in the final two quarters.
Other than Hewitt, who finished with 7 tackles and 1 PD, Harvey Langi led the LBs with 83 snaps (95%), had 6 tackles and 1 PD. Blake Cashman started at inside linebacker on Sunday, but took only 3 snaps before sustaining a groin injury. Tarell Basham, who recovered from his training camp ankle injury, played in 47 snaps (54%) and had 1 tackle for loss. Jordan Willis saw action in 35 snaps (40%) followed by Jordan Jenkins with 31 (36%) and Frankie Luvu with 21 (24%).
Pierre Desir started Sunday's game and took 35 snaps (40%), but was benched for Nate Hairston, who saw the field on 51 snaps (59%) and had 5 tackles for 1 TFL. Desir was called for holding and pass interference on back-to-back Bills scoring drives.
Luvu, who led the Jets with 14 special teams tackles last season, and Arthur Maulet led the team with 23 special teams snaps (88%) on Sunday. Daniel Brown was next with 19 (73%) followed by Langi, Ashtyn Davis and Matthias Farley, who all took 16 snaps (62%). Rookie P Braden Mann took 9 snaps and had 6 punts for 278 yards (46.3 avg), including a 58-yard boot.