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Victory Monday: Jets Run Over Bills
Victory Monday baby! I’ll admit that after that demoralizing loss to New England last week, I really didn’t think we’d be talking about a win this weekend. But these Jets aren’t your same old Jets, they don’t hear the noise and if they do, they don’t care about it.
Vegas had the Jets over/under at 5.5 wins this season, if you took the over enjoy cashing those winning slips today.
New York flipped the script with everyone and their grandmothers picking Buffalo to take home another win to Orchard Park. At one point in the first half, it seemed as though they’d run away with it, but the Jets adapted, and like we’ve seen them do for much of the season, they fought.
The Jets will head into their bye week at 6-3, and when they return to the field they’ll have an opportunity to avenge last week’s loss as they face New England for the 2nd time within 3 weeks. Soak in this 6-3 record though, enjoy every single moment. It’s been a long time, but we have ourselves one hell of a team.
📊 I'll get the stat pack out tomorrow but I loved this one so much that I decided to put it in here today. On the final Buffalo offensive play, Gabe Davis had 2.4 yards of separation on Sauce, by the time the ball arrived (nearly 70 yards by Allen) he had just 0.4 yards. I'm sure some people questioned Sauce’s long speed, but as we've seen time and time again, Sauce is a complete corner.
🤒 Sheldon Rankins left the stadium with his left arm in a sling. He exited the game early and hopefully, that's nothing serious. The jets now have a bye week to get everyone healthy. Corey Davis is expected back and hopefully, Max Mitchell and George Fant will also make a return.
📢 “We all believed in each other, we believed in the coaches, they believed in us, so there was no doubt in our mind we'd be able to hand with them” - Sauce Gardner.
📢 “ I know Sauce he gets all the fanfare, 4th overall, catchy nickname and he's doing a great job, it's deserved, another interception today. But DJ is playing pro bowl football, if you really sit down and watch the tape and just dissect what he's been doing, he's playing at an All-Pro level. Every bit as deserving as the praise Ahmad gets, he's one of our quiet leaders” - Saleh on DJ.
😲 According to ESPN stats and information, the Jets ran 10 times for 77 yards on their go-ahead drive in the 4th quarter. That is their most rushing yards on a drive to start a 4th quarter drive since 2002 against the Chargers.
Some games are bigger than others. Just a week removed from falling to the hated New England Patriots, the Jets sent a message against the #1 rated team in the NFL. We're not going anywhere!
Don't forget the Jets were down by double digits against the Bills, this comeback means the Jets are 3-3 this season when trailing by double-digit points, over the previous four seasons they were 3-40 and 0-20 under Adam Gase. You may not be ready to anoint Robert Saleh as the best head coach the Jets have had since Rexy, but there is no question that he gets his players fired up and playing for a full 60 minutes.
We'll really dissect the game this week but straight off the bat, I think we learned a few things about this Jets team. When Joe Douglas said that it all starts in the trenches he really meant it, the Jet’s trenches were hazardous to the bills. The defensive line put pressure on Josh all afternoon and everyone played a part. In the end, the Jets brought Allen down 5 times, and that's huge. If you can rattle him and make him uncomfortable in the pocket while closing those climb-up lanes, you're going to be able to limit the potential damage, and that's exactly what the Jets did.
The offensive line, the banged-up offensive line that has had more guest appearances than Saturday Night Live, came up big. The Jets were able to run all over Buffalo and while the combination of Carter and Robinson can't replace Hall, they keep defenses honest and punish poor tackling. They rarely go down on first contact, and Carter in particular punished some poor pursuit angles from safety Jaquan Johnson.
I want to give a special shout-out to the offensive linemen. If you've read TJW for a while, you'll know I don't need an excuse to praise offensive linemen, but here it's warranted. They all did a fine job but I thought Nate Herbig was the best lineman on the field, for both teams. He threw a great block for the Michael Carter TD and then on the passing TD it was Herbig out in front. The Jets picked him up on waivers and he may end up being one of those guys we look back on in a few years as one of the steals of the Joe Douglas era. 174 rushing yards on the day which works out at 5.1 yards per carry, and that final energy-sapping drive by the Jets destroyed the soul of the Bill’s defense. That was old-school physical smash-mouth football, and I loved every single second of it.
It also wasn't just the run blocking, Zach was pressured on just 4 plays where as the Jets managed to generate 17 pressures on Josh Allen. That's a good day at the office for the men in the trenches.
It also showed what Zach needs to do. Zach wasn't perfect in this game, but he did what had to be done. He didn't turn the ball over, he made some throws and he missed some, but he didn't make bad decisions with the ball. The only real red mark on his record was the fumble, he'll watch that back on tape and know he should have hit Mims who had inside leverage on his man. If he hits him it's likely a touchdown, but he did hit him later on a key 3rd down completion, that shows me that he learned from his mistake. Otherwise, he handed the ball off to his running backs and let the linemen go to work. The Jets have a good enough running game and defense for Zach to be a game manager while he learns to read a defense.
The Jets also adapted their game plan for Zach, they went to a one-read quick game and it worked well because Garrett Wilson was getting open frequently. Entering the game Zach Wilson took on average 3.26 seconds to throw the football, yesterday it was down at a career-low 2.31 seconds. In time the Jets will open things up, but I'm happy for them to keep it simple for now because they've found a formula that works, it just so happens that it's the same formula that worked last time the Jets made the AFC Championship game in 2010.
This game wasn't about Zach though, he just played smart football. It was about a running game and a defense that showed a real belief in their ability to get the job done. Sauce gave up a big play to start the game but then was almost perfect through the final 55 minutes. He recorded his 2nd interception and now has 13 passes defended which lead the NFL, not to mention that one of those passes defended won the game for the Jets yesterday. It's not just about Sauce as Saleh references, DJ Reed was outstanding and I'd argue the Jets have the best CB tandem in football. Diggs was kept quiet in the second half and Josh Allen didn't throw a TD, that's a win.
You'd have been forgiven for fearing the worst when Josh Allen got the ball back with just under 2 minutes to go. But the defensive line continued to pressure and a strip sack by Bryce Huff (how good has he been this year) backed Allen into a corner. Sauce did the rest on the deep shot, but I'm looking forward to seeing that All-22. There's a reason Allen didn't go to his #1 target in Stefon Diggs and I'm willing to bet it was because Reed was all over him. Diggs for what it's worth didn't have a single catch in the second half.
There's something special about this Jets team and the belief they have in each other and in their ability. Quincy put it best after the game when he said "We knew we were going to come out and they have to go through us. That’s the mindset we had. We weren’t worried about them. It was all about us."
I would also say that this is the perfect time for the Jets to head on their bye week. Rankins picked up a little injury, Wilson got a little knock to the ankle, CJ left the game for a series with a shoulder injury, Corey is expected back for New England and Max Mitchell looks close to returning as well. After 9 very hard-fought games, now is the time to take stock and recover. It also removes the possibility of a letdown game. We've all seen it a million times, a team wins against the odds and exerts so much energy to get the win, they come out flat 7 days later. The Jets will now get 14 days to recover and plan for the Patriots.
One thing we probably should address is Elijah Moore not getting a single target again this week. I haven't seen the snap % at the time of writing but it seemed to me as though Moore was on the field more, but it just didn't get reflected in the box score. It wasn't a game where the receivers got a lot of run with the ground game working so well, but Jeff Smith got himself a target and I don't think anyone can say that Smith is a better receiver than Moore, at least not with a straight face. It's an interesting one. We'll see how it develops over the second half of the season, but the positive was that Moore was engaged with his teammates and he wasn’t pouting on the bench. His time will come.
We'll be back tomorrow with the stat pack. For now, we'll end with some celebratory tweets!