Losing to the Jets is never a good thing. But, with the young Bills learning on the fly and dealing with multiple injuries at key positions, it’s hard to go up against a team like that. Seriously, this article is not all negative. There are some glimmers of light in this hard-to-swallow loss.
Kiko Alonso: After getting the second interception of his young career, Kiko seems to be the only constant on Buffalo’s beat up defense. He’s in on nearly every play with an extra hit or forcing running backs off their routes. Alonso now leads the team in combined and solo tackles (27, 17) and is well on his way to having a tremendous rookie season.
Honorable Mentions: Manny Lawson has been played very tough and is currently 2nd on the team in tackles. TJ Graham is showing he still deserves to be out there as he is getting open on most of his long routes. EJ just needs to get it to him on the run.
EJ Manuel: It pains me to put him in this category but he had a BAD game. There was one play in the 4th quarter when Manuel stepped confidently up into the pocket and threw a 7 yard laser to Scott Chandler. That was his best play of the game. The rest of the time, he was getting flushed out and making ill-timed throws to well covered receivers or losing yardage because he held the ball too long. We saw what he does when the pressure coming all game and it was not impressive. However, he finally faced a punishing defense and didn’t throw a single pick. It will be a long week for EJ but, if any rookie can bounce back, it’s him.
Run Defense: The secondary is banged up badly right now but the Bills’ front 7 have kept healthy…then came Sunday. How does a cut-rate running back like Bilal Powell rush for a career-high 149 yards against them? The Bills have yet to see outside blocking like the Jets bring. Because of that, the box got loaded up and it was difficult for linebackers to shoot the holes like they’ve been easily doing in previous games. That combination rendered the defensive line ineffective. However, that’s also what caused Kiko Alonso and Jim Leonard to give up on the pass rush and drop back in coverage; leading to their two picks. Oh yeah, and injuries didn’t help Buffalo’s D-Line either.
O-Line: Judging by the 8 sacks and the number of times the pocket collapsed within 3 seconds, the offensive line just couldn’t hold up to the aggressive pass rush. I expect Baltimore made note of that for next week.
Justin Rogers: They say cream rises to the top but, in this case, the cream is sitting on the bench and whatever leftover regurgitated garbage that was swirling around at the bottom of the bucket somehow floated to the surface in the form of Justin Rogers. To add to the woes of the Bills’ injury prone and depleted secondary, Leodis McKelvin went down in the first quarter, elevating Rogers to the number one corner slot. The Jets were already picking on him but, once they smelled blood in the water, it was all over. The two touchdowns thrown right over his head along with huge interference calls and sloppy tackling lead Rogers to be the first ever BuffSports Bonehead of the Week. I heard Terrence McGee was trying out for Miami this week. I’d serious take him back at this point.
New Injuries: Here they are. CJ Spiller (thigh), Leodis McKelvin (shoulder), Mario Williams (ankle), Marcell Dareus (ankle), Alex Carrington (undisclosed).
Rex Ryan’s Stupid Smile: Man, I can’t stand that guy. Skinny Rex Ryan is even more obnoxious than fat Rex Ryan.
The Jets, essentially, handed over the game by getting called on a record 20 penalties. Good teams capitalize on mistakes but the Bills just couldn’t. They got lucky that it wasn’t a blowout against a sub-par team. It was Buffalo’s game to lose and they did just that. If they play like this when the Ravens come to town next week, the game won’t be so close.
– Josh Paufler