The New York Jets opened their 2020 season in Buffalo against the Bills on Sunday. The Bills took the victory, 27-17. To put it frankly, it was an unmitigated disaster for New York. The Jets got thoroughly outplayed in every aspect of the game. They lost by just 10 points, but it felt like 50. The poor performance has raised many questions about the team, most prominently about the futures of quarterback Sam Darnold and head coach Adam Gase in New York.
Jets Offensive Recap
The offense was simply atrocious. The play calling by Gase was awful and nobody looked comfortable. Darnold made many poor decisions. The receivers had trouble getting open and struggled with drops. The ground game never got going. The new offensive line left Darnold under constant pressure. There were not really any bright spots besides Jamison Crowder‘s big day.
Darnold obviously did not get much help from his coaching staff and teammates. However, at some point he needs to prove he can be the franchise quarterback. Darnold has to show that he is not the problem with the offense. Darnold is still consistently making rookie mistakes, despite now being in Year 3. Here you can see a boneheaded interception as he threw across his body, lofting the ball, giving time for the defenders to position themselves for an interception.
Here is another appalling decision by Darnold. Darnold misses a throw on a drive that would’ve given the Jets a real chance to get back in the game.
Darnold’s supporting cast did not give him any favors. The receivers struggled with drops. Breshad Perriman and Chris Herndon did not have nearly the impact they were expected to make. Robby Anderson was missed, the great receiver who built nice chemistry with Darnold, but then was let walk after last season. Adam Gase called an awful game. He put the running backs in bad spots and did not run the ball nearly enough. The Jets need to run the ball more to set up the pass in Week 2. Le’Veon Bell left with injury but was ineffective before it. Bell was placed on IR after the game, meaning he will be out for a minimum of three weeks, a big loss. Frank Gore was just sent up the middle when Buffalo was loading the box. Gase has to be more creative. Also, the offensive line gave up the top pressure rate of any team in the league during Week 1. It is somewhat understandable as they are a new group, but that better gel quickly moving forward.
The only real good moment on offense was Jamison Crowder’s 69-yard touchdown reception. That capped off his big day. Despite two early drops, Crowder had 7 receptions for 115 yards and the aforementioned touchdown.
The offense was extremely poor as a whole. As it gets later in the season, they should improve with increased continuity due to having a lot of new pieces. At the end of the day, Sam Darnold has to be the catalyst, and he failed big time in Week 1.
Jets Defensive Recap
The Jets defense underperformed in Week 1 as it began the post Jamal Adams era. Marcus Maye did a good job in his role, but Adams’ energy and leadership was severely missed, as the team came out flat. The opt out of C.J. Mosley seemed to also play a large role as they never seemed to be in sync as a unit.
The run defense was very stout against Buffalo’s running backs. However, the pass defense was consistently shredded, and Bills quarterback Josh Allen ran the ball himself with ease.
New cornerback Pierre Desir was benched mid-game after a horrific performance. Desir allowed a perfect passer rating of 158.3 when targted. The pass rush was nonexistent throughout the game. Josh Allen had all day to throw and when he didn’t, he just ran the ball down their throats. The two guys who were supposed to lead the pass rush, edge rusher Jordan Jenkins and defensive tackle Quinnen Williams combined for one pressure on the game.
The bright spots on the defense were the run defense against the Bills’ running backs, Marcus Maye, and Blessuan Austin. The run defense held Devin Singletary and Zack Moss to just 41 yards rushing on 18 attempts, equating to just 2.3 yards per rush. Marcus Maye was all over the place. Maye put up 10 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 pass deflections, 2 tackles for loss, and a forced fumble. He thrived in his new box safety role. Blessuan Austin had 8 tackles and a forced fumble, as well as being lockdown in coverage. He allowed just 17 yards on 8 targets, with a passer rating allowed of just 56.2.
The defense had some good moments, but overall they need to be better. They have to generate pressure so the quarterback doesn’t have all day to throw. The secondary would be helped tremendously if the Front 7 could get pressure. They also need to bring energy. Jamal Adams used to do that, but with him gone, somebody needs to fill that void. The team looked flat, a scary site for a season opener. They have to bring energy and swagger moving forward.
All in all, the Jets played horribly in Week 1. The team brought no energy or desire. Adam Gase and Sam Darnold need to turn things around ASAP if they want to be Jets long term. It is way too early in the season to make conclusions, but it was a bad start. The new additions deserve time to get comfortable with the team and system, but it needs to happen soon. Despite the awful performance, the Jets only lost by 10 points, 27-17. New York outscored the Bills in the final 3 quarters. The loss felt like a total blowout, but if they had played just slightly better, it would’ve been a really close game. That and the play of Maye and Austin are small positives to take away from an otherwise negative affair.
Week 2 Outlook
The New York Jets will take on the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday, September 20 at MetLife Stadium. The game is at 1:00 PM EST on FOX. Both teams will be seeking their first win of the young season. The Niners lost a tight game to the Cardinals in Week 1. They are mightily struggling with injuries, and the Jets will look to capitalize on the depleted team. It will be an interesting game as the defending NFC champions travel all the way out east to take on the Jets.
Be sure to check out my Jets game recaps every week!
Follow me on Twitter, @afreiberg8 for more!