After a fourth quarter downpour of yellow flags at MetLife Stadium, it looked as if the Jets had handed the game to the Buffalo Bills. But as the sun began to set over the meadowlands, Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith stepped into a deep pass over one-on-one coverage, and connected with Santonio Holmes for a 69 yard winning touchdown, as the Jets defeated the Buffalo Bills 27-20.
“I love the fact that our team found a way to win,” Rex Ryan said after the game. “Take away all the other stuff, we found a way, we persevered and we won. That is really encouraging to me. That tells you about the fight and the spirit of this football team and that’s what I’m most proud of.”
Powered by a dominant defensive performance, the Jets sacked Bills rookie EJ Manuel 8 times, and looked to be on track for an easy victory. However, a second half full of mental gaffes nearly cost them the game; the Jets broke the team record for the number of penalties in a game, as they were penalized 20 times for a total of 168 yards.
“We have to get better. We have to work at it,” Rex Ryan said regarding the Jets penalties. “We think we’re working hard at it, but we have to find a way to get better. How many games are you going to win when you turn the ball over twice and commit 20 penalties? We have to get rid of the self-inflicted things.”
Rookie QB Geno Smith outplayed the Bills’ EJ Manuel, and gained back some of the pride he lost after he was passed over by the Bills in April’s draft.
Smith began the game with a flawless drive, which he ended with an 8-touchdown run; setting the tempo for the game. Smith finished 16-of-29 for 331 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. The rookie looked poised in the pocket, and drove the ball downfield — an offensive tactic that the Jets haven’t used in many years. Smith completed passes of 40, 51 and 61 yards, including two deep touchdown passes to Stephen Hill, and Santonio Holmes, the latter being the game winner.
“The wideouts did a phenomenal job of making the best of their matchups,” Smith said, “And in that situation with Santonio 1-on-1 matched up on the defensive back, I fully felt he had a great opportunity. So I just wanted to give him a good chance, give him a good ball, one that he could catch, and he came down with it, a phenomenal catch-and-run, and it put us ahead.”
Sunday marked the teams best offensive performance in the Rex Ryan era. The Jets offense combined for 513 yards. And for the first time in team history, the Jets had a 300 yard passer, a 100 yard rusher, and two 100 yard receivers in one game. The Jets strong offensive display is clearly credited to new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who is quickly moulding the Jets into the offensive team that Rex Ryan hoped for when he brought the coach on board.
“Well, don’t give me credit,” Ryan told the media with a smile. “That’s clearly our offensive staff and just when we protect, we can make some plays. I thought we ran the ball extremely well, 182 yards against the Bills. That’s a good defense and so I was really happy with that.”
With such a dominant performance on offense victory should’ve come easily, however, the Jets offensive prowess was nearly rendered meaningless late in the game thanks in part to a string of undisciplined mental errors. Kyle Wilson was penalized on 4 consecutive plays, and Rex Ryan foolishly wasted the team’s two challenges on meaningless calls — a desperate attempt to get a handle back on a game that was quickly changing in momentum.
However, after allowing the Bills to tie the game at 20, Geno Smith connected with Holmes for a 69-yard touchdown pass, which secured a valuable division win for the Jets. The Jets will now prepare to head to Nashville to face the Tennessee Titans (2-1).