Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) warms up before an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos in Landover, Md., Sunday, Dec 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (Alex Brandon/AP)
Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) warms up before an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos in Landover, Md., Sunday, Dec 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (Alex Brandon/AP)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Ideally, Mike Maccagnan would prefer to build a team through the draft, to spend time developing his own players, and then paying them before they hit the open market. Spending big in free agency isn't usually the most efficient way to rebuild a program.

But the reality is the Jets have more than $90 million of space under the $177.2 million salary cap, and Maccagnan plans to spend a lot of it.

"We'll be very active on the first day in terms of the higher profile guys," Maccagnan said. "We may sign a big-ticket guy. We may sign a small-ticket guy. It will be very interesting to see how it plays out. I think we're going to be very active in free agency. Everybody is well aware we have quite a bit of cap space to work with. There are quite a few players we're interested in."

The big one, of course, is quarterback Kirk Cousins who figures to get a deal worth near $30 million per season. But he won't be the only top-of-the-market free agent the Jets try to land. They could be shopping in the deep end of the pool of receivers, cornerbacks, and perhaps pass-rushers, too.

But Maccagnan made it clear he's not abandoning his ideals, or his plan to rebuild the Jets. He'll be shopping for young talent who want long-term deals. The idea is to build the Jets into a perennial contender. He's not interested in using free agency as a short-term fix.

"I think we're going to try do things that will help us not only in this coming season but obviously identify players that can help us next year and the year after that, so we continue to build a young group of players," he said. "We're not where we want to be but I do think there is a lot of potential to move that process along as we acquire talent and build this team with an idea that not just we want to do everything for this current season but we also want to lay the groundwork to build it for the next two or three years."

With that in mind, here's a look at some of the free agents to watch, and that the Jets will be watching and discussing when the league-wide negotiating period opens on Monday at noon:

QB Kirk Cousins (Redskins) - He's their No. 1 target, and they are going to go after him big - like with a deal that includes perhaps as much as $60 million up front in the first year, and maybe $90 million plus in the first three. There are two keys to Cousins' deal: How much of the deal will be guaranteed? And is he already locked into the Vikings? A ton of NFL people think nothing will keep him from Minnesota, but the Jets will try.

QB Teddy Bridgewater (Vikings) - They don't love the free-agent options if Cousins is off the board, but the 25-year-old Bridgewater is intriguing. Yes, he's still trying to make his way back from a devastating injury that cost him the last two seasons. But if he can make it back, he's an outstanding talent who seemed on his way to being a star, and he's young and much less expensive. He'll be worth a shot.

QB Josh McCown (Jets) - Expect him back if the Jets don't land Cousins, either to pair with Bridgewater as insurance, or to mentor someone they take in the draft - or perhaps both.

CB Malcolm Butler (Patriots) - They'd like to bring Morris Claiborne back, but he seems to think he'll be in demand on the open market. Butler does too, but coming off a down season and the mystery of his Super Bowl benching, his value may be way down. The latest word is he might accept a one-year, prove-it contract to re-establish his value. That would be worth it to the Jets.

CB Trumaine Johnson (Rams) - The 28-year-old is considered the best cornerback on the market, but the money and years being kicked around figure to be more than the Jets want to spend on him. Also, most expect him to land in San Francisco or Oakland (the Raiders seem more likely after the 49ers signed Richard Sherman).

CB Bashaud Breeland (Redskins) - If Johnson and Butler are unattainable or too expensive, a source said the Jets see value in this small, speedy cornerback who could be a relative bargain.

WR Allen Robinson (Jaguars) - The Jets would like a true No. 1 receiver to take some of the pressure off of Quincy Enunwa, who'll be returning from a neck inury. Unfortunately, the market is thin. Robinson is probably the best available, but he's recovering from a torn ACL. In his two seasons before tearing his ACL, though, he caught 153 passes for 2,283 yards and 20 touchdowns.

WR Sammy Watkins (Rams) - He's never come close to living up to the hype of being the fourth overall pick in the 2014 draft, but he's only 24, and has enough potential that the Rams were considering using the franchise tag on him. They didn't. On the open market, he likely won't be paid like a top receiver, but he could end up playing like one.

RB Jeremy Hill (Bengals) - There are better and bigger-name backs on the market, but the Jets are looking for someone to complement Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire. Not to run their show. So, instead of overpaying for a better talent like Carlos Hyde, they'll look under the radar. Hill was mostly a disappointment in Cincinnati, but he was a 1,000-yard rusher as a rookie in 2014, he's only 25, and at 6-foot-1, 230 pounds, he's the kind of bruising, between-the-tackles runner the Jets apparently want.

C Weston Richburg (Giants) - The Jets haven't seemed to make any progress in re-signing Wes Johnson, which means they'll likely look at the open market. The Giants aren't bringing back Richburg, a former second-round pick who dealt with a bad concussion last season. He'll be 27 in July, and still has tremendous upside in the right place.

C Ryan Jensen (Ravens) - Generally acknowledged as the best center on the market, there could be a bidding war for him. It appears the Jets would prefer Richburg if they can't keep Johnson, and Jensen could be off the market by the time they're ready to move at this position. But he does remain an option.

TE Trey Burton (Eagles) - If they can't get Austin Seferian-Jenkins back at their price, watch them try for this 6-foot-3, 235 pounder who caught 23 passes for 248 yards and five touchdowns while being underutilized in Philadelphia. Oh, he also threw the most unlikely touchdown pass in Super Bowl history.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire, Josh McCown, Morris Claiborne, Wesley Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano

Dec 9, 2018; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets strong safety Jamal Adams (33) lines up for a play against the Buffalo Bills during the second quarter at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes)
Dec 9, 2018; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets strong safety Jamal Adams (33) lines up for a play against the Buffalo Bills during the second quarter at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes)

Jamal Adams' Pro Bowl promise from last season has come true. 

Adams said he wouldn't miss another Pro Bowl after his rookie season in 2017, and he has lived up to it so far after being named the starting strong safety for the AFC this season. 

After fan voting concluded earlier last week, Adams finished first among strong safeties with 249,348 votes. The 23-year-old is having another fine season with 90 combined tackles, 2.5 sacks, and collecting his first career interception over 13 games thus far.

Tags: Andre Roberts, Jamal Adams
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Dec 15, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) reacts after a touchdown by New York Jets running back Elijah McGuire (not pictured) during the fourth quarter against the Houston Texans at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Dec 15, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) reacts after a touchdown by New York Jets running back Elijah McGuire (not pictured) during the fourth quarter against the Houston Texans at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

In the latest episode of The Jet Stream, Jonas Schwartz is joined by former Jets quarterback and analyst on the Jets pre and postgame show, Ray Lucas to discuss Sam Darnold's development and leap forward since returning from injury.

Also, NJ.com Jets beat writer Darryl Slater goes in-depth on the appeal of the Jets head coaching job even if Mike Maccagnan remains the GM of the team.

CLICK BELOW TO SEE LISTEN

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Dec 9, 2018; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Rishard Matthews (82) warms up prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes)
Dec 9, 2018; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Rishard Matthews (82) warms up prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes)

The Jets on Tuesday placed WR Rishard Matthews on injured reserve and signed T Eric Smith off the Patriots' practice squad, the team announced.

The 29-year-old Matthews, who injured his hamstring during Saturday's loss to the Texans, caught two passes in five games for the Jets after signing with the team in October. 

Matthews, the Dolphins' seventh-round pick in the 2012 NFL draft, joined the Jets after being released by the Titans due to unhappiness with his playing time.

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Dec 15, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) reacts after a touchdown by New York Jets running back Elijah McGuire (not pictured) during the fourth quarter against the Houston Texans at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Dec 15, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) reacts after a touchdown by New York Jets running back Elijah McGuire (not pictured) during the fourth quarter against the Houston Texans at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

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Despite losing Saturday's game, Jets QB Sam Darnold put together arguably his most complete performance of the season. He ended up with 253 yards and two touchdowns, adding three more first downs with his legs. Darnold completed 24-of-38 passes and didn't have an interception, although he threw five incompletions in a row with the game on the line in the last two minutes.

Let's look at some specific examples before we draw conclusions:

Tags: Elijah McGuire, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold
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Grades are in for Jets 00:03:36
Willie Colon, Ray Lucas and Bart Scott give their grades for the Jets 29-22 loss to the Texans.

The grade are in after the Jets fell to the Texans on Saturday, 29-22.

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Sam Darnold needs more weapons 00:01:13
Sam Darnold played well in the 29-22 loss to the Texans. Ralph Vacchiano argues the Jets need to find more weapons for the QB.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - With two minutes to go in the game and the Jets trailing and reeling, Sam Darnold made the kind of throw that star quarterbacks often make. It was 4th down and 14 and he fired it 20 yards down field, right on target.

It should have kept the Jets' desperation drive alive. Instead, the ball bounced right off Robby Anderson's hands.

Tags: Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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No moral victory for Jets 00:01:50
The Jets lost 29-22 to the Texans. For the players while they're improving there's no excuse for the loss.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Being forced to sit and watch for three games sure seems to have paid off for Jets quarterback Sam Darnold. He has been terrific in his two weeks back.

One week after his late, game-winning drive against the Buffalo Bills, Darnold gave one of his most impressive performances. Against a playoff-bound team with a strong defense and some Pro Bowl pass rushers, Darnold was sharp and efficient and kept the Jets in the game almost all by himself. He completed 24 of 38 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns and ran six times for 35 yards.

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Jets crew gives keys to the game 00:02:04
Willie Colon, Ray Lucas, and Bart Scott give their keys to the game for the Jets to beat the Texans

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME 

The Jets (4-9) against the Houston Texans (9-4) at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Saturday, Dec. 15, at 4:30 p.m. ET.

THE WEATHER

The Jets and Texans will be just a few degrees away from a snow game … but it doesn't look like they're going to make it. Temperatures should be above 40 at kickoff but will drop through the mid-30s as the game goes on. There is also plenty of rain sprinkled into the forecast throughout the night.

WHAT IT MEANS

They showed a little pride earlier this week against the Bills, but in the process they blew a chance to gain control of their destiny in the race for the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. They're only one game behind the Cardinals, Raiders and 49ers in that race, though. So a loss to the Texans here and they're right back in it.

Tags: Houston Texans, Leonard Williams, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Dec 9, 2018; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets quarterback Davis Webb (5) warms up prior to against the Buffalo Bills the game at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes)
Dec 9, 2018; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets quarterback Davis Webb (5) warms up prior to against the Buffalo Bills the game at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes)

The Jets made a curious move prior to Saturday's game vs. the Houston Texans. 

Davis Webb, the Jets' third-string quarterback, was active for the game, as was Josh McCown while Sam Darnold is the starter. 

It is the first time this season that Webb has been active while Darnold and McCown were also active. 

Tags: Davis Webb, Josh McCown, Sam Darnold
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Oct 29, 2017; Seattle, WA, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) passes against the Seattle Seahawks during the first quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports (Joe Nicholson)
Oct 29, 2017; Seattle, WA, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) passes against the Seattle Seahawks during the first quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports (Joe Nicholson)

The Jets will be put to the test on Saturday afternoon when they face Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson at MetLife -- the third mobile quarterback New York will face in as many weeks. 

Sam Darnold and the Jets are riding high after snuffing Josh Allen and the Bills of a win with a last-minute comeback drive on Sunday in chilly Buffalo. New York can expect another tough game against Watson, a 23-year-old triple-threat making his mark in Houston.

Watson entered the NFL scene as the Texans' No. 12 overall pick in the 2017 draft. He faced adversity after a phenomenal start to his rookie season last year, passing for 1,699 yards in his first six games and tying for the NFL lead in passing touchdowns with 19.

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New York Jets safety Jamal Adams reacts during the second quarter against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets safety Jamal Adams reacts during the second quarter against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

After missing out on the Pro Bowl during his rookie season in 2017, S Jamal Adams vowed he wouldn't miss another one for the rest of his NFL career. 

Well, the fans are helping him out this season.

With fan voting for the Pro Bowl complete, Adams finished first among all strong safeties with 249,348 votes. The 23-year-old is having another fine season with 90 combined tackles, 2.5 sacks, and collecting his first career interception over 13 games thus far.

Tags: Andre Roberts, Jamal Adams
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With just three games remaining in the regular season, many 4-9 teams would be going through the motions and playing out the string.  

Yet there are valuable insights to be gained from these games for the Jets, which may play into decisions about staffing changes once the season is over.

Let's consider what the organization can get out of the rest of the year:

Tags: Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold
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New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell is escorted off the field after being injured against the Buffalo Bills during the first quarter at New Era Field. (Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell is escorted off the field after being injured against the Buffalo Bills during the first quarter at New Era Field. (Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports)

Isaiah Crowell's season is over. 

The Jets placed the injured running back on the injured reserve on Friday, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. 

Crowell left Sunday's 27-23 win over the Bills with a foot injury and did not return. He was ruled out for Saturday's game against the Texans on Thursday after not practicing all week.

Tags: Elijah McGuire
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New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell is escorted off the field after being injured against the Buffalo Bills during the first quarter at New Era Field. (Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell is escorted off the field after being injured against the Buffalo Bills during the first quarter at New Era Field. (Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets ruled running back Isaiah Crowell and wide receiver Quincy Enunwa out for Saturday's game against the Texans, while outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins will be a game-time decision.

Crowell left Sunday's 27-23 win over the Bills in the first half with a foot injury and did not return. Elijah McGuire recorded 60 rushing yards and 23 receiving yards in Crowell's absence, scoring the game-winning 1-yard rushing touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

Enunwa did not practice on Tuesday or Wednesday with an ankle injury. He missed two games in October with a sprained ankle.

Tags: Houston Texans, Jordan Jenkins, Quincy Enunwa
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'Cope's Chronicles' 00:01:28
New York Jets linebacker Brandon Copeland interviews some of his teammates about their Alma maters.

Jets LB Brandon Copeland took the microphone from SNY's Jeane Coakley to make his rounds in the locker room for "Cope's Chronicles," his new segment on Jets Game Plan.

Copeland naturally assumed the role of interviewer, asking his teammates about their alma maters and how much they regret not going to his own, the University of Pennsylvania.

"How mad are you on a scale of 1 to 10 that you did not go to the University of Pennsylvania," he asked WR Andre Roberts.

Tags: Brandon Copeland
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New York Jets running back Elijah McGuire celebrates his game-winning touchdown with offensive guard Brian Winters and offensive guard Dakota Dozier against the Buffalo Bills during the fourth quarter at New Era Field. (Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets running back Elijah McGuire celebrates his game-winning touchdown with offensive guard Brian Winters and offensive guard Dakota Dozier against the Buffalo Bills during the fourth quarter at New Era Field. (Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports)

When Jets running back Isaiah Crowell went down, Elijah McGuire stepped up.

And he hopes to keep the momentum going in the future.

McGuire totaled 83 yards from scrimmage, the most he's had since Week 4 in 2017, and scored the game-winning 1-yard touchdown in Sunday's 27-23 win over the Bills after Crowell left the game with a foot injury.

"You can't take it for granted," McGuire said, according to the New York Post's Brian Costello.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire
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Nothing to lose 00:01:24
Avery Williamson and Todd Bowles say they aren't taking the last three games for granted. Players must make the most and try and win out.

As the Jets continue to hope for a winning future, New York's three remaining games of the season are important to assess how the franchise's top players will establish themselves. 

New York is feeling confident after defeating Buffalo 27-23 on Sunday with a solid return from quarterback Sam Darnold. The 21-year-old went 12 of 18 for 139 yards in the second half and led a game-winning touchdown drive in the final two minutes to snap the Jets' six-game losing streak.

Linebacker Avery Williamson is not taking the Jets' final three games for granted and hopes the team's latest victory will stretch into Week 15 against the Titans. Williamson said it's not just about winning games, but he wants to end the season on a positive note -- by playing the best he can.

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Sam Darnold optimistic after win 00:01:01
Sam Darnold is feeling better physically after the Jets win. Darnold looks to build on his start for the last three games of the season.

Sam Darnold gave Jets fans a scare in the first half of Sunday's 27-23 win over the Bills when he exited the game after re-aggravating his sprained right foot. 

The rookie quarterback eventually re-entered the game and gutted it out as he led the Jets to a comeback victory, but there was still concern over his health, especially when he was splitting first-team reps with Josh McCown at the start of Tuesday's practice that was open to media. 

But Darnold was listed as a full participant and insists he "feels great."

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Jul 28, 2018; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo at Vikings training camp at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Rempel)
Jul 28, 2018; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo at Vikings training camp at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Rempel)

Another NFL coaching whiz became available on Thursday when the Vikings fired offensive coordinator John DeFilippo -- and the Jets likely already have their eyes on him.

DeFilippo is expected to be on the Jets' shortlist to replace head coach Todd Bowles, according to SNY's Ralph Vacchiano.

The 40-year-old DeFilippo was the Jets' quarterbacks coach in 2009, and the team even tried to interview him for its offensive coordinator job in 2017 before the Eagles blocked him. DeFilippo helped develop QB Carson Wentz over two seasons in Philly, but his 2018 season with Minnesota was cut short due to a struggling, Kirk Cousins-led offense. 

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Dec 9, 2018; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) passes the ball against the Buffalo Bills during the fourth quarter at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes)
Dec 9, 2018; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) passes the ball against the Buffalo Bills during the fourth quarter at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes)

Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon rehash the Jets win over the Bills. Was the signature win for the rookie QB better than a potentially higher draft spot? The duo also examine the coaching carousel in the NFL and preview the game against the Texans.

Subscribe to the show here: https://on.sny.tv/2Od2Qzt

 

CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN

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New York Jets outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins (48) celebrates with teammates Marcus Maye (26) after recovering a fumble during the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (Seth Wenig/AP)
New York Jets outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins (48) celebrates with teammates Marcus Maye (26) after recovering a fumble during the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (Seth Wenig/AP)

If Jets outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins was happy about his team's first win in six weeks, he didn't show it. Instead, Jenkins had sharp words for young Bills quarterback Josh Allen and outside left tackler Dion Dawkins after New York edged Buffalo 27-23 on Sunday.

Allen pulled away from Jenkins, who was charging at the quarterback at the 15-yard line, for a 6-yard touchdown on Buffalo's first drive of the game. But Jenkins' emotional response during his postgame press conference was driven by Dawkins' chop block on the first play from scrimmage. 

The play caused Jenkins to retreat to the locker room with an ankle injury. Moments later, SNYtv's Ralph Vacchiano reported Jenkins was returning to the field, despite being doubtful to return. Jenkins finished with two tackles, including one tackle for loss.

Tags: Jordan Jenkins
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New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold scrambles out of the pocket against the Buffalo Bills during the second quarter at New Era Field. (Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold scrambles out of the pocket against the Buffalo Bills during the second quarter at New Era Field. (Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Until the final drive, Sam Darnold's performance in his return to the starting lineup would be defined by his best and worst play. However, Darnold's composure in leading the team downfield for the late game-winning score in Sunday's 27-23 win over the Buffalo Bills was exactly the kind of thing the Jets and their fans had been hoping to see from him this year.

Let's look at some specific examples before we draw conclusions:

Tags: Buffalo Bills, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold
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What to make of Sam Darnold 00:00:51
Sam Darnold returned to action against the Bills. What should Jets fans takeaway from the young QB?s season so far?

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Fourteen years ago there was a young quarterback in New York who had struggled through an up-and-down rookie season. He showed flashes of his potential, but not nearly enough to convince everyone he would someday be the man to lead his franchise.

Then in Week 17, Eli Manning got the ball with 1:41 remaining and drove the Giants down the field for a game-winning drive capped by a 3-yard Tiki Barber touchdown run. The Giants beat the Cowboys 28-24 that day and it seemed like the moment that Manning arrived.

Tags: Buffalo Bills, Eli Manning, Elijah McGuire, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Report Cards from the Jets win 00:02:37
Willie Colon and Bart Scott give their grades for the Jets 27-23 win over Buffalo. It's all A's for special teams but what about the rest?

The Jets crew hands out grades after Sam Darnold led the Jets to a last-minute comeback drive in Sunday's 27-23 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at New Era Field.

Tags: Buffalo Bills
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Jets beat Bills 27-23 00:01:17
The Jets got their much-wanted revenge on the Buffalo Bills, winning 27-23. After the game it was all smiles in the locker room.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

When Sam Darnold limped off to the locker room after the Jets' first series, it looked like this season was going to go from bad to much worse. This season had always been about him. But he had already missed three games with a foot injury after three terrible performances.

And now he was going to be out again?

Well, though it wasn't exactly a Willis Reed performance, Darnold returned quickly enough to give some life and hope to what's left of this Jets season. He went 12 of 18 for 139 yards in the second half and led a game-winning touchdown drive in the final two minutes to give the Jets a 27-23 win over the Buffalo Bills.

Tags: Buffalo Bills, Elijah McGuire, Jamal Adams, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell looks for a hole to run through during the first half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell looks for a hole to run through during the first half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)

Running back Isaiah Crowell left Week 14 against Buffalo with a foot injury. The Jets announced he is questionable to return. 

The 25-year-old was sidelined at Jets practice with a toe issue all week, and it could be related to Sunday's injury. Crowell had three touches for seven yards before exiting. Elijah McGuire took over for Crowell as the New York's lead back.

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Oct 28, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) jogs off the field after the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports (Patrick Gorski)
Oct 28, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) jogs off the field after the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports (Patrick Gorski)

Jets QB Sam Darnold left Sunday's game against the Bills after just three plays, heading to the locker room with team doctors before being replaced by Josh McCown.

Darnold missed one drive before jogging back on the field and coming back in the game. 

He is playing in his first game since Week 9, when he suffered a right foot strain.

Tags: Sam Darnold, Danny Abriano
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Aug 24, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterbacks Sam Darnold (14) and Josh McCown (15) watch second half of play against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Aug 24, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterbacks Sam Darnold (14) and Josh McCown (15) watch second half of play against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

After missing the last three games due to a foot injury, Sam Darnold will return as the Jets' QB on Sunday against the Bills, the team announced. 

Darnold practiced in full on Friday, but head coach Todd Bowles said a final decision on his availability wouldn't be made until right before the game. 

"We'll decide that on Sunday," Bowles said. "Both he and Josh (McCown) had good weeks."

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Nov 4, 2018; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass against the Miami Dolphins during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Nov 4, 2018; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass against the Miami Dolphins during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME 

The Jets (3-9) at the Buffalo Bills (4-8) at New Era Field in Orchard Park, N.Y., on Sunday, Dec. 9 at 1 p.m. ET.

Tags: Buffalo Bills, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Oct 14, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets cornerback Parry Nickerson (43) and defensive end Leonard Williams (92) celebrate a fumble by the Indianapolis Colts during a NFL game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK (Danielle Parhizkaran)
Oct 14, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets cornerback Parry Nickerson (43) and defensive end Leonard Williams (92) celebrate a fumble by the Indianapolis Colts during a NFL game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK (Danielle Parhizkaran)

As the Jets enter the final quarter of their schedule in the 2018-2019 season, the reality that there will be no postseason football for Gang Green has set in. But that does not mean players are packing it in on the whole.

That's certainly not how Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams sees it.

"You can tell guys are tired of it - they want to win, no more losing," Williams told the New York Post on Friday. "I think it shows a lot."

Tags: Leonard Williams
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