Watching the Jets offense is like experiencing bipolar disorder. When they’re hot, they seem unstoppable, with Shonn Greene cutting through defenders and Sanchez able to find receivers anywhere on the field.
On the other hand, it seems as though if their initial playcall fails, their drives tend to sputter out very quickly. Today, the Jets had the ball 11 times. They scored on four of those possessions and went three-and-out four times. Their other three drives were ended by a punt, an interception, and the end of the 1st half. It seems as though, through a confluence of Schottenheimer’s shoddy play-calling and Sanchez’s inaccuracy, if a drive goes sour, it goes sour fast. For example: the final drive of the third quarter, in which the Jets threw two consecutive incomplete deep passes on the first two downs. When the first one failed, why did they try nearly the same play again? Especially given how well the running game had been working? And what was with that incomplete pass Sanchez threw behind Santonio Holmes’ back early in the third quarter? There are times when this team doesn’t feel like it’s meshing at all.
Even the game-winning drive wasn’t very pleasant to watch. On 3rd and 11, after a baffling shovel pass to Joe McKnight, Plaxico Burress saved a wayward throw from Sanchez with a one-handed catch, securing a first down. It’s great to see his production up—he’s done quite a lot to help the Jets this season and to protect Sanchez when he makes mistakes
But the Jets won, so it’s not all doom and gloom. The running game showed some spark and creativity, with John Conner and Santonio Holmes taking a few runs, carrying the load left by LaDainian Tomlinson’s absence. Shonn Greene hushed his critics, racking up 78 yards on 13 carries, with his longest going for 18 yards. The team picked up 138 yards on the ground, with and average of 6.0 yards per carry.
In the air, Dustin Keller was once again Sanchez’ most productive target, making four receptions for 61 yards and 2 touchdowns. Santonio Holmes was targeted nine times—more than any other receiver—but only gathered in two receptions for 22 yards and a touchdown. Sanchez also found Burress in the end zone once, and the two hooked up for 54 total yards. Sanchez only threw the ball for 180 yards, completing 17 passes on 35 attempts, so it's fortunate the running game picked up the way that it did.
While this game may not have been the blowout some were expecting, the defense did an admirable job, considering the field position they were handed by the Jets offense. Two of the Bills’ three touchdowns came after turnovers: the interception by Sanchez in the second quarter and Antonio Cromartie’s muffed punt in the third. And it’s tough to blame Cromartie for giving up that last touchdown pass to Brad Smith. Cro tried to make a play on the ball, knocked it high in the air, fell down, and watched as Smith somehow got himself under it and ran into the end zone.
Throughout the game, the Jets were able to consistently get to Ryan Fitzpatrick, getting five quarterback hits and three sacks. Fitzpatrick managed to throw it for 260 yards, but the Jets held the Bills to only 86 total yards on the ground.
Joe McKnight was back in form, returning 4 kickoffs for an average of 26.5 yards each. Emmanuel Cook showed great presence by falling on the ball after the Bills kicked it straight at him, leading to a Jets touchdown. Cromartie was the biggest goat on the return team: in his sole punt return, he fumbled the ball, setting up a quick Bills score. Jim Leonhard returned the rest of the punts, averaging seven yards per touch