Entering this season, it was well known that the offensive line was the strength of the New York Jets’ offense and that they would have to play at a very high level for the Jets to be successful. The line got the season off to a rough start in Week 1, but they have improved steadily, and they had a fantastic game in the Week 3 win over the Buffalo Bills.
The Jets didn’t allow a single sack, and they gave quarterback Geno Smith the time he needed to survey the field and connect on deep routes. In the run game, they paved the way for Bilal Powell’s career best 147 yards, and the Jets as a team averaged a solid 4.4 yards per carry. There were a few penalties on the line, but otherwise they were nearly flawless.
D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold are two of the best players on the team, and they played at their typical Pro Bowl level Sunday. Ferguson spent much of his game matched up against Bills defensive end Mario Williams, who is a premier pass rusher and was coming off a 4.5 sack game. Ferguson handled Williams very well, often without help. The ability of Ferguson to neutralize the opposition’s best pass rusher is a rare skill, and when Ferguson is on his game few are better.
Mangold traded blows with the Bills’ two excellent defensive tackles, Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams. Both players are underrated nationally, but they are both big and athletic, and they are very good at controlling the point of attack. Helped by guards Willie Colon and Vladimir Ducasse, Mangold and the Jets were able to push Dareus and Williams off the ball and create running lanes for Powell.
On the right side, Austin Howard continues to develop into a top flight right tackle. Howard is an absolutely massive human being at 6’7″, 333 lbs, and he is a road grader in the run game. He and Colon teamed up to form a formidable run blocking tandem, and the Jets are very comfortable following these maulers in short yardage situations. Howard also held up very well in pass protection, and he was a big reason Smith stayed upright.
This type of performance from the offensive line is what allows the Jets to gain over 500 yards offense, as they did Sunday. The Bills have a very good defensive line, but the Jets dominated them Sunday. If they can continue this type of performance, the line will be the foundation for a successful offense.