CAPACCIO: Bills-Jets: Arrow Down/Arrow Up

Sal Capaccio
September 15, 2016 - 10:45 pm

Photo: USA Today Sports


By Sal Capaccio

Twitter @SalSports


The worst-case scenario unfolded for the Bills Thursday night in Orchard Park. A team now 0-2, seemingly with no direction and no answers, staring at the possibility of 0–4 with the Cardinals and Patriots on the horizon.


Let's get right to it with the Arrows pointing down since there are plenty of them compared to up.


Arrow Down


CBs Stephon Gilmore and Ronald Darby


Both Bills corners struggled mightily against the Jets. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 374 yards and of that total all but ten went to his wideouts. Of course there were some passes other CBs were responsible for, but Gilmore and Darby were the main targets all night, mostly by Eric Decker (6 catches, 126 yards) and Brandon Marshall (6 catches, 101 yards). 


Gilmore had an awful first series alone. He was responsible for a deep pass given up, followed by a holding penalty, then a missed tackle that led to a first down.  He was then targeted several more times and gave up plenty of passes one-on–one.  That was certainly not the performance of someone who deserves the kind of money he's asking for. And it came in a nationally televised game, where the entire league was watching.


Darby was the target of almost every single Ryan Fitzpatrick pass in the second half. They picked on him time and time again. I will give him credit for continuing to compete and making a few plays, but he gave up far, far too many of them. Sometimes he was just beaten cleanly and sometimes he did not look for the ball when he had decent coverage. Either way, the Bills need better - much better - out of both of these players. 



QB Tyrod Taylor


Sure, he hit a couple big plays and those were nice. But Taylor missed on several passes that he should routinely connect on, especially a few passes he was very good at last year, like the 7–12 yard out pattern. Once again like last week, it seemed he was late on those throws and others, and had trouble seeing some receivers open throughout the game.  Taylor also, once again, failed to get Sammy Watkins involved in the offense.  The WR had a total of 2 catches on only 5 targets.  Taylor was better than he was in week one, but still not good enough to warrant full confidence from fans. 



Rex Ryan's defense


Well, after a strong weak one performance, that was a complete 180° turn for the worse for the defense. 493 yards allowed. 71 plays! Two wide receivers over 100 yards. A running back at 100 yards. Only one sack. It's one thing if that were Tom Brady on the other end throwing the football. But this was Ryan Fitzpatrick. A QB Rex Ryan had been 8–1 against as a defensive coach. He knows him and the blueprint. And it was in your own stadium with a loud crowd. Just a really poor performance on that side of the ball individually and coaching-wise.



3rd down defense


This deserves it's own special category because of the eye-popping number. The Jets went 8-for-13 on third downs (62%). At one point, they were 7-for-10.  



Greg Roman's 1-yard-to-go philosophies


When you lose, all play-calling will be questioned. But my biggest issue came in short-yardage situations, particularly in the fourth quarter. It seems when the Bills have third and one or fourth and one, they try to re-invent the wheel and do crazy, funky things that aren't needed, instead of just running a play at their normal pace to get a first down.  What does bringing in EJ Manuel really accomplish that not having him come in wouldn't? All it does is put someone under center who is extremely cold (which makes for a much higher risk of fumbling), as well as to take away one of your offensive weapons you'll want on the field in that situation. It also causes personnel substitutions to take longer, which costs more time in the huddle and gets the offense out of any rhythm they have established. 



Arrow Up



ILBs Preston and Zach Brown


I have a tough time putting any defensive player in this “Up” category, but the inside linebackers weren't the problem. The Jets only averaged 3.4 yards per rush, and the duo of Brown and Brown combined 30 tackles! Preston 16 and Zach 14. Each also had one tackle for loss, Preston had a forced fumble that resulted in a defensive touchdown, and Zach had one quarterback hurry to his credit, as well.



WR Greg Salas


He did a good job of continually making himself available to Tyrod Taylor when things broke down. That work resulted in a 71 yard TD pass. Salas finished with 4 catches for 89 yards total.



P Colton Schmidt


The Jets did not return one punt all night. Schmidt only averaged 39.3 yards per punt, but he pinned one inside the 20 and his two others were fair caught.



K Dan Carpenter


Carpenter was 4-for-4 on extra points and also connected on a 39-yard field goal. He also kicked the ball into the end zone for a touchback on the opening kickoff.



Kickoff coverage unit


Out of the five kickoffs for the Bills (excluding the onside kick), the Jets only average 13.5 yards per return. The longest return the Bills gave up was 19 yards.



The Big Picture


Only two weeks in and the season is already on the brink. Historically, very few teams make the playoffs after starting 0–2. The Bills have now put themselves in that horrible situation, and no one to blame but themselves. As opposed to week one when the offense was clearly the area that struggled more, with something positive to look at in the defense, blame falls everywhere in this one. Yes, the Bills scored 31 points (24 on offense), but it was really a failure around the board, by offense, defense, and coaching. 


Now, they'll have 10 days to think about this one, and then see an even a better offense than the Jets when the Arizona Cardinals come to town. So, things look bad and like they are getting even worse ahead. 


There will be so many questions to ponder and discuss in those next ten days.  What is Rex’s job security right now?  How about Doug Whaley’s?  What’s the status of Sammy Watkins’ foot (he sat out the final few drives of the game)?  Why is the offense struggling so hard to find an identity?


Ten days is a long time to have to think about a loss that should have never happened at home on a short week against a divisional opponent.  It’s a short time to get ready for another high-powered offense and really talented overall team when it seems you’re so far away from being where you need to be.


Follow me on Twitter @SalSports

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