ORCHARD PARK, N.Y- So much for that ‘trap game,’ theory. This game was a big opportunity for the Jets to make a statement and that’s exactly what they did.
Yes this was a big game because it was a division game and the Jets are now 3-0 in the division, and 3-1 overall, but it was even bigger for another reason. The Buffalo Bills are far from a dangerous or scary football, but that’s just the point.
The Jets have been consistently talking about their Super Bowl aspirations since training camp, obviously they still have a lot of work to do before they can fulfill that lofty goal, but today they did what Super Bowl contenders do.
The Jets delivered several early knockout blows to a team that they are clearly better than and they refused to allow the Bills back in the game. Great teams take care of lesser teams with little trouble and the Jets disposed of the Bills with ease.
Another game went by without a turnover for Sanchez as he turned in another stellar performance, but this game was won so handedly because of the running game.
For weeks Rex Ryan has been saying ideally he would like to get both his running backs 15-20 touches a game, today that plan came to fruition.
L.T. led the way with 133-yards on 19 carries (7.0 avg.) and two touchdowns, but Shonn Greene broke-out from his slow start to the season as he barreled his way to 117 yards on 22 carries (5.3 avg.).
The Jets took control from the opening kick as Brad Smith returned the kickoff to the Jets 37-yard line. L.T. wasted no time taking over from there as he caught a 10-yard pass and rushed for 42-yards including a one-yard dive into the end zone. By looking at his total numbers for the game, clearly he was just getting started.
The Jets continued to have a field day on offense. They continuously gave the Bills a steady mix of pass and runs, including some ‘Wildcat,’ plays, including one where Brad Smith took the snap rolled out like he was thinking he might run, but instead threw a high pass to Dustin Keller, who out jumped Leodis McKelvin for a three-yard touchdown pass.
Keller had a couple nice catches early and another touchdown when Sanchez rolled out, after a play-action pass on first-down from the two, and found a wide-open Keller in the back of the end zone which gave the Jets a commanding 31-7 lead.
But Braylon Edwards did the most damage to the Bills through the air as the Bills allowed him to catch four passes for 86-yards, including a 41-yard bomb launched from Sanchez after Sanchez made McKelvin bite hard on a pump fake leaving Edwards wide open to casually stroll in for six points.
Sanchez finished the game with 161-yards on 14-24 passes and two touchdown. He also finished the game early, with the Jets having already put up 38 points and nine minutes left in the game the Jets sent Mark Brunell in the game to give Sanchez a much deserved rest.
The Jets defense was dominant themselves, holding the Bills to only 223-yards of total offense. 114 of those yards were from running the ball, but even those numbers are deceiving as 74 of those yards were from Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The secondary gave up a couple of plays, but overall played a very solid game. It wasn’t until 6:36 left in the second-quarter that the Bills completed their first pass and that was just a one-yard dump off.
Kyle Wilson has been facing a lot of slack for his recent play, but other than the one touchdown pass he got beat on he played a solid game when lined-up in the nickel spot. He did a great job of applying pressure on blitzes from the corner forcing Fitzpatrick to get rid of the ball faster than he wanted.
The Jets were clicking on all cylinders and dominated in every facet of the game. The Jets rushed for more yards than the Bills had total, with the Jets rushing for 273 and the Bills only getting 223 total.
At one point, with 2:40 left in the third-quarter, the Jets scored 21 points within three minutes and 29 seconds of each other.
The Jets won the turnover battle as they had none and the Bills coughed up two fumbles and the ‘Ground-and-Pound’ worked to perfection as the Jets controlled the clock winning time of possession, 40:29-19:31.
Complete and total domination.
After the game Rex Ryan said, “We challenged all three phases (offense, defense and special teams) to try and win their particular group, to win that way and to keep our focus and I understand I hear all the trap game and all that stuff, but this is a good team we played.”
Ryan continued saying, “The two things I challenged our team with last night was the penalties, two things we were ranked 31st in the league in which is totally ridiculous to us and that’s, penalties we had 4-30, Trevor Pryce we might give him back to Baltimore a few more like that. Then our third-down conversions on defense, they were 0-10 on third down and that’s more like it, that’s the style of play that we’re accustomed to and like I said bet against we’ll see where we end up in the end.”
Today the Jets continued to show the world they can walk the walk just as well as they can talk. Yes, it was just the lowly Buffalo Bills, but the Jets refused to take them lightly and threw down the type of beat-down championship-caliber teams usually do against inferior opponents.
Four weeks into the season the Jets find themselves sitting atop of their division at 3-1, their offense in full swing, and Santonio Holmes returning to the team tomorrow. The defense is getting into a grove and will most likely get two of their best players back in Calvin Pace and Darrelle Revis.
A close ugly win against the Bills would of created the same result in the standings, but the Jets decided to put the NFL, and fans around the country, on notice that they are just getting started.
Next up Minnesota, and one would guess anything but a warm welcome for Brett Favre.
Other News and Notes
Early in the first quarter L.T. moved passed Tony Dorsett and into 7th place for all-time rushing yards with 12,740 in his career.
Sean Ellis left the game with an apparent knee-injury after getting a sack on Fitzgerald.
Joe McKnight got his first playing time in a regular season NFL game and he managed to hold on to the ball on all four of his carries, gaining 12 total yards.
Bryan Thomas had a big hit on Marshawn Lynch causing him to fumble as Jason Taylor slid in to recover the bouncing ball.
Brad Smith continued to be an x-factor star, contributing in the kick return game, both running and passing out of the ‘Wildcat.’ Opposing teams are going to have to spend more time game planning against everything he brings.