Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter
With Buffalo locked into the fifth seed and the Jets eliminated from playoff contention about a month ago, Sunday's game predictably took on the characteristics of a game where nobody really wanted to be there. Sam Darnold's one-yard touchdown pass to Jamison Crowder in the fourth quarter ultimately keyed the Jets 13-6 win.
In pouring rain, the Jets - playing mostly against back-ups - led just 3-0 at the half following a disjointed affair that featured turnovers, missed kicks and all-around sloppy play.
The second half wasn't any less scrappy, even though the rain eased off a bit, but the Jets finally drove for the game's only touchdown after the Bills had tied the score. Darnold's pass to Crowder finished off a drive keyed by a couple of nice plays by back-up receiver Vyncint Smith.
After a Bills turnover, the Jets tacked on a late field goal and were able to hang on for the 13-6 win.
Meanwhile, here are some other takeaways from the Jets' second road win of the season …
- The Jets outgained the Bills by 177 yards to 62 in the first half, but Buffalo outgained the Jets by 247 yards to 82 after halftime, moving the ball at will with their second-string offense. However, Gregg Williams' defense kept the Bills out of the end zone and came up with three key turnovers that were the decisive factor in the Jets' win.
- Le'Veon Bell had an effective first half but couldn't get anything going after half-time. The Jets gained just 13 yards on 12 carries after half-time, with Bell held to minus-four yards on his four carries. However, his first down on a 3rd-and-11 screen pass was a key play down the stretch to set up the game-clinching field goal.
- Darnold had a poor first half as he seemed to struggle with the wet conditions. He threw two bad interceptions before half-time, although one was negated by a penalty. While Darnold ended up with an acceptable but underwhelming statline. the Jets will hope he will take the momentum from winning six of his last eight starts into next year.
- Two of the players who have had a chance to shine for the Jets due to all the injuries are linebacker James Burgess and cornerback Arthur Maulet. Each intercepted their first pass of the season on Sunday. Jordan Jenkins also had a strip-sack, registering his career-best eighth sack of the season on the play.
- While he may have won over some people to an extent with the team's improved record over the second half of the season, Adam Gase has yet to convince the fanbase of his playcalling abilities. Once again, the Jets looked at their best during the scripted portion at the start of the game but running a wildcat play on 3rd-and-short was a misguided decision that cost the Jets points on their opening drive.
- It's been widely documented how the offensive line personnel has had to keep changing throughout the season and this week was no different with Brent Qvale becoming the 11th offensive lineman to start a game for the Jets this year. Although they struggled in the running game, especially as the game went on, the Jets didn't do too badly in pass protection. However, a costly sack in the red zone again cost them points before half-time.
- At the end of the season that promised so much, but fell apart so early, the Jets ended up with seven wins and will certainly be lamenting some of the losses they had in winnable games earlier in the season. In order to compete next year, they clearly need to upgrade in a few positions, but better injury luck would go a long way to making that possible. The Bills are a good example of a team who has succeeded largely as a result of staying relatively healthy all year.
- The Jets must now turn their attentions to the offseason, where the first order of business will be to make decisions on pending free agents such as Jenkins, Robby Anderson, Brian Poole, Kelvin Beachum and Brandon Shell. The focus now shifts to general manager Joe Douglas as he prepares for his first full offseason at the helm.