The New York Jets improved to 2-1 with an ugly 27-20 win over the Buffalo Bills. The game saw the Jets look good on both sides of the ball, but they still turned the ball over twice and incurred a team record 20 penalties for 168 yards. The Jets should have run away with this game, but they continually shot themselves in the foot and allowed the Bills to nearly steal a win.
Starting with the obvious, the penalty situation was an absolute disaster. There were many different types of penalties called on many different players, and the general abundance of mistakes was hugely concerning. The biggest culprit was Kyle Wilson, who was called for three penalties on the Bills’ game tying drive in the fourth quarter.
The Bills picked up several first downs via penalty on that drive, and it is highly unlikely they would have been able to tie the game without the help they received from Jet penalties. The Jets were too eager to start their pass rush, and they were called for offsides on several occasions.
When they did get the ball back, the Jets continued to hurt themselves with mental mistakes on penalties, including a false start on Stephen Hill. There is no excuse for a wide receiver to false start on a run play at the end of the game, and these are the types of issues that the Jets cannot afford to have happen.
The penalties were not the only mental mistakes the Jets made. Geno Smith threw two interceptions, and both were the result of poor decisions. On the first, Smith threw into a double team deep down the middle, and the ball never had a chance of being completed. On the second, Smith just never saw linebacker Kiko Alonso jumping a slant route, and he hit Alonso right in the chest.
Smith is a rookie who is still developing, and these are the type of mistakes that he needs to learn from. If Smith can start to fix simple problems such as these and protect the ball, the Jets will be in much better shape offensively.
The final area of mental mistakes was coaching decisions. Rex Ryan made two very ill-advised challenges, and both plays were clearly going to be ruled against the Jets. His decision to throw the flag in each of these situations was inexplicable, and it came back to haunt the Jets.
On the Bills’ game tying drive EJ Manuel fumbled but was ruled down. Had the Jets still had a challenge, they could have thrown the flag and almost certainly would have won, effectively ending the game. Instead, Manuel went on to tie game thanks in large part to the aforementioned penalties.
The Jets are simply not good enough to overcome this many mistakes against opposition that is better than Buffalo, and they have to clean up these areas before their next game. The Jets were lucky to escape with this win, and they will likely not be so fortunate if they continue to make these types of mistakes in the future.