It was almost like Christmas in November and even the NFL was getting into the act, dressing the Jets in all green and the Bills in all red.
Heck, if department stores can decorate for holidays after Nov. 1, why not the NFL?
More importantly, the Jets seemed to be in the gift giving mood tonight handing their old coach Rex Ryan a win, in a very winnable game for New York.
“Well, it doesn’t feel that good. Hell yeah, how do you think it feels? Dang right, it feels great, absolutely.,” Ryan declared afterwards and it should since he only had four of these last season.
But give credit where credit is due, Ryan knocked the Jets off their game. They neutralized some of the Jets best offensive weapons, especially Brandon Marshall, who had only three catches on the night for a paltry 23 yards, even with a touchdown catch.
More importantly, the Bills were able to covert on their key turnovers, scoring points on three of teh four, while Buffalo was able to stop New York when punter Colton Schmidt muffed a punt at the Bills 13 with the Jets down five. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Co. could not convert.
“I made a lot of mistakes today,” Fitzpatrick said. “We had a million chances in the second half and our defense played well. It was a very frustrating game, especially when they hand us a gift and drop the punt.”
And boys and girls, sometimes on Christmas, you don’t open your presents.
The Jets have now lost three of four and have a record of 5-4 on the season. What looked so promising now has a very murky feel to it. They are tied with Ryan’s Bills at 5-4 with Rex holding the tiebreaker and now the seven remaining games are just so much more important.
Remember, the Patriots are undefeated and unless some miracle occurs, like Tom Brady quitting to join a monastery, they will win the division. That leaves the Jets the Wild Card. Right now, they own the second slot, but have to contend with Pittsburgh and Oakland – who beat them two weeks ago – as well as the Bills.
This will be no easy task as the Jets have not many easy wins left on the schedule. Even Dallas at 2-6, should have Tony Romo back when the Jets go down to Jerry World next month. So nothing will be secure for the Jets.
The bright side, though, is the Jets have some time to think about this, with the next game 10 days away.
Over that time, they will need to look within make sure they limit the mistakes that cost them today’s game.
“You lose a game for a reason,” said head coach Todd Bowles. “We lost this game because we lost the turnover battle. I’m not going to look back and say we should have won this game. We were in it. We fought hard. We didn’t play situational football. We didn’t execute in the red zone. We turned the ball over on our end of the field.”
Pretty simple, they have to be mistake free. The Jets season is on the line.
If New York doesn’t start playing better when the real Christmas comes, it’s going to be very lonely in Florham Park. Festive green uniforms and all.
And they will have their old friend Rex to thank.
He might have been wearing red, but tonight, he was the Grinch that stole this game.