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Anthony Rushing

Rushing: New-Look Jets with Familiar Ending In Season-Opening Loss to Bills

Dave Pokress/NYSD

If the Jets expect us to believe they’re not the same team making the same mistakes anymore, they’ll need better representation.

But since Detectives Briscoe and Green, from the Law & Order television series, are not available, the Jets will have to prove it by their actions. Because they’ve certainly done enough talking.

They did little to erase the narrative which has followed them for the better part of a decade now. They looked like the same old Jets in a brutal 17-16 loss to the Buffalo Bills, Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

The Jets were fueled by their defense in the first half and didn’t receive help from the offense until the third quarter. But after going up 16-0, the wheels fell off and Buffalo took over the game.

“We were just inept on offense,” said head coach Adam Gase. “Making mistakes that we can’t make, if we want to consistently move the ball. We have a lot to clean up there.”

Inept was an accurate description of the new-look offense. It most certainly wasn’t “electric”. That’s the word second-year quarterback Sam Darnold used to describe it when asked before the season what are his expectations.

Darnold completed just 28 of 41 passes and threw for 175 yards, and one touchdown. He missed on a handful of throws which could have put the offense in position to score. There were also a number of passes deflected by Buffalo’s defense. Overall, it wasn’t the performance Gase and the Jets need from their franchise quarterback.

“We have room for improvement,” said Gase about Darnold’s performance.

The lukewarm effort from the offense, specifically in the first half, took away from the performance of the defense. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ unit forced four first-half turnovers. One of those turnovers was a pick-six by their new defensive leader C.J. Mosely.

But as much as the Jets’ defense kept them afloat, Darnold and the offense found ways to sink them. When Mosely left the game with a groin injury, the defense’s energy level appeared to go with him.

Buffalo, led by second-year quarterback Josh Allen, surged by the Jets and left the field with the win. All Darnold, Gase, and the Jets could do was get ready to go back to the drawing board.

“Whenever you have the lead going into the fourth quarter, that’s never the result you want,” Darnold said afterwards on the Jets letting this one get away in the second half. “We need to continue to fight and finish throughout the fourth. Our offense, myself, we need to do a better job of finishing drives, too. When our defense forces four turnovers and we don’t have any as an offense, we need to win the ballgame.”

“When the defense is rolling like that, we have to be able to do something on offense,” said Gase. “When we got into the second half, they probably had too many plays because we weren’t doing enough on offense. That’s where we have to play complimentary football.”

It wasn’t all bad. The new faces in the locker room, Mosely, Le’Veon Bell, and Jamison Crowder, all played key roles. Bell, in his first game in 20 months, scored the only Jets’ offensive touchdown. He carried the football 17 times for 60 yards and gave fans a taste of how dangerous he can be in the passing game. Crowder caught 14 passes for 99 yards and showed his value on third down by converting four catches for first downs.

But the offense coming up short, especially in the fourth quarter, was an all too familiar sign. The defense, even though injuries hampered them, faltered down the stretch. That’s another sign we’ve seen before.

And that drawing board the Jets are heading back to?  They’ll host Odell Beckham Jr. and the Cleveland Browns, next Monday night. The Browns, after giving up 43 points at home to the Titans won’t be coming in smiling. 

The Jets have invested time, and money, into their new-look management and roster. This one loss won’t make or break their season, but it did little to justify any talk of a new chapter.

The talk, however, remains upbeat.

“We’re okay man,” said safety and team co-captain Jamal Adams afterwards. ” It’s not the end of the world. It’s one loss. We’ll be alright.”

Time will tell.


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