Chad Pennington, who was sacked 5 times, is brought down by Bills' DT Sam Adams. (AP)
After defeating the Tennessee Titans last Monday night by a score of 24-17 it appeared as though the New York Jets were given new life to make a run at the playoffs with the possibility of running the table and getting help from a few fellow NFL teams. Going into the contest with Chad Pennington at the helm gave Jets Fans confidence. In their way was the Buffalo Bills, a team that had an equal 5-7 record and was also fighting for their playoff lives. In the end, it was the Bills who dominated the rushing game and more importantly, the scoreboard.
Opening up the scoreboard for the day was Jets kicker Doug Brien who gave the Jets a 3-0 lead as he connected on a 38-yard field goal with 5:28 remaining in the 1st quarter. This play ended the first possession of the day for Gang Green. Drew Bledsoe’s strike to wide receiver Jake Reed gave the bills a 7-3 lead in the 2nd quarter. Brien had his second field goal attempt of the game, as he was unable to connect on a 50-yard try, which took the two teams into the half. Down 7-3 at the half in a must win game, you would think Herman Edwards could rally the troops and motivate the team to play more aggressive on defense and offense. Sorry folks, not this year.
Travis Henry added another touchdown for the Bills as he ran in a 4-yard score during the third quarter. The Jets did not answer until Brien connected on a 40-yard field goal bringing the deficit down to 14-6. Would the Jets be able to hold Buffalo? Ryan Lindell said no way with a 32-yard field goal. The Bills went on to defeat the Jets for the first time in four games by a score of 17-6.
Curtis Martin summed up the disappointing loss the best saying, “Every area they outplayed us. There’s no excuse. We got our butts kicked. It doesn’t get any worse than this.”
The ten times the Jets had the ball here is what happened: Field Goal, Punt, Punt, Punt, Missed Field Goal, Punt, Field Goal, Punt, Turnover on Downs, and finally an Interception. Was it poor play calling or poor execution by the players? Probably both.
One thing for sure is that the team did not execute as planned. For a team with their playoff lives on the line, there was no intensity whatsoever. The inability of the defense to make tackles combined with un-aggressive blocking by the offensive line are two reasons why the Jets are now 5-8. The Jets only had the ball in the red zone once during the entire game and poor special team play combined with stupid pentalties also plagued this team on Sunday.
The biggest concern (as usual) was the abysmal defense which let up 203 rushing yards to Buffalo. Travis Henry dominated with 169 yards on 32 carries. Countless tackles were missed by: Sam Cowart, Sam Garnes, Aaron Beasley, Victor Hobson, Josh Evans, and the rest of the defensive unit who allowed Henry and the rest of the Bills offensive attack to run up and down the field. New York’s offensive line allowed the Bills to sack Pennington five times, something that has never happened to the young QB before.
Although Curtis Martin ran for 84 yards on 25 carries, he did not cross the goal line. Pennington threw the ball for only 155 yards on 15 of 29 completions and had one interception. This was the first time in Pennington’s 18 starts the team has not scored a touchdown.
Without the win, the Jets playoff hopes are completely over. The team will now strive to finish .500. Some positive notes seen during the game were Edward’s aggressive play calling as they went for and completed a fourth and inches during the first drive of the game which led to one of Brien’s two field goals on the day. C-Mart or Curtis Martin as he is known to the NFL world passed O.J. Simpson on the all-time rushing list to move to 12th place.
The Jets now face the equally disappointing 5-7 Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday at Giants Stadium. The Jets lifetime are 1-14 against Pittsburgh