The Bills exposed a flaw in the Jets' gameplan by completing so many underneath passes to Sammy Watkins. The Jets left Darrelle Revis in single coverage and he consistently gave Watkins too much of a cushion. Watkins ended up with 11 catches for 138 yards on just 15 targets. While Revis wasn't to blame for all of that yardage because there were situations where they were in zone, he still lost that matchup more than he won it.
This highlights a problem with Revis about which I discussed my concerns a few weeks ago: The Jets are paying Revis to cover number one receivers one-on-one and if he can't handle those assignments almost flawlessly, the whole defense falls apart but if you give him a more conventional role, what exactly are you getting for your money?
They could have played even more zone or given him safety support, but the idea behind keeping him in one-on-one assignments is that it enables the Jets to blitz and hopefully gives some of their best pass rushers a one-on-one of their own. This gameplan would have worked against Rex Ryan while he was with the Jets, but Tyrod Taylor is much more adept at taking what the defense gives him than the quarterbacks Ryan had and the Bills also left extra blockers in the game quite a lot to help mitigate the pressure.
Revis was beaten for five first downs, many of them on third down, and was also called for two penalties, although one of those was ultimately cancelled because Muhammad Wilkerson got a finger on the pass. He did have a pass break-up, a fumble recovery and a tackle for a short gain on a Tyrod Taylor scramble. That was his fourth fumble recovery, which meant he ended up with a career-best nine turnovers, only four less than the entire team managed in 2014. Was he worth the $16 million they paid him this year, though? The Jets are on the hook for at least $23 million more so they need to get at least two more years of elite play out of him otherwise the move will be a complete misfire.
The signing of Antonio Cromartie was met with much more consternation than the Revis deal was, but he is costing them less than half as much and can actually be released after the season with no cap consequences. Cromartie had a rough year, apparently because he was playing hurt for much of it. However, can a team justify playing a high salary to a cornerback who has seen his play suffer badly because of injuries for long periods in each of the past three seasons?
Cromartie wasn't bad in this game, as he was in good position on three incompletions. However, he had one bad missed tackle and also, for the second time this year, visibly "loafed" in the open field, leading to a Watkins juggling catch going for 38 yards.
Buster Skrine seemed to get a bit banged up over the second half of the season too but did play a key role as the third corner. In this game he got blocked out on a screen pass and beaten for a third down conversion in coverage, but also had a nice third down break-up.
Marcus Williams emerged as a productive playmaker this year, which was perhaps one of the reasons Skrine's playing time dropped off from a full-time to a part-time role. Williams perhaps warrants a bigger role next year if Cromartie doesn't return. He did get beaten on one third down conversion yesterday, too.
At safety, Marcus Gilchrist and Calvin Pryor were both pretty quiet, combining for just five tackles. Gilchrist had a bad missed tackle on that Watkins play where Cromartie switched off. Pryor missed a tackle and was blocked downfield on Taylor's touchdown scramble as he ended a promising second season in disappointing fashion.
Rontez Miles and Dexter McDougle did not play. Perhaps more surprising was that Dee Milliner wasn't even active despite being healthy. That's zero defensive snaps this season for the former top ten pick, another promising player this team clearly had no patience with or use for.
Next up…Predictably, special teams let the Jets down again, with two major mistakes proving costly…