The final scoreboard tells a different story than what football fans watched on Sunday afternoon as the Buffalo Bills bested the New York Jets 20-12 in an AFC East clash. Sure, the Jets had an opportunity in the red zone to go for it on fourth and one and potentially close the gap even more with a touchdown. But the ultimate field goal to put New York within one possession was simply not enough.
The reality is the Bills’ defense was shutting down Mike White and the Jets offense all day long. So much so, that the quarterback exited the game twice after getting crushed time after time. The Jets’ offensive line was invisible in this one, as White was seen writhing in pain on the turf after what seemed like most plays. The Bills defense was credited for eight quarterback hits, led by defensive end Greg Rousseau (two) and DaQuan Jones (two). A hit by Matt Milano ultimately saw White buckled over and removed from the game for a few plays.
Backup quarterback Joe Flacco brought nothing to the table for the Jets. He completed one of three pass attempts for one yard, was sacked for a loss of six yards, and fumbled the ball.
The game was scoreless after one quarter and both teams exchanged punts for a majority of the first half until the Bills finally got on board after a seven-play, 70-yard drive. Josh Allen capped off the drive with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Dawson Knox who leaped into the end zone to give the Bills a 7-0 lead going into the third quarter.
The Jets received the ball to start the second half and marched 72 yards down the field and into the end zone. It was undrafted rookie Zonovan “Bam” Knight who rushed it in from 13 yards out for his first career touchdown.
But the Bills wasted no time, as Allen answered with a five-yard touchdown run to put Buffalo back up by a score. A pair of field goals by Tyler Bass put the Bills up 20-7 a few minutes into the final frame.
The Jets saw a glimmer of hope after a blocked punt by Jermaine Johnson out of the end zone resulted in a safety.
New York got the ball back and drove down the field to the Bills nine-yard line. But on fourth and one, the Jets brought on Greg Zuerlein for a 26-yard field goal to make it 20-12.
Robert Saleh and the Jets opted for a regular kick rather than trying a trick play or onside kick. The Jets would get the ball back but go four-and-out to lose the game.
In the loss, wide receiver Garrett Wilson set a Jets franchise rookie record for receiving yards in a season with 868 yards. Wilson finished Sunday’s game with 78 yards on six receptions.
Buffalo now sits atop the AFC East at 10-3, while the 7-6 Jets’ playoff hopes are dwindling, but not out of sight just yet.
After the game, Saleh told media White will “for sure” be the starter next week at MetLife Stadium against the upward-trending Detroit Lions. That is, if he is healthy. White went to the hospital following the game out of precaution.
Still, White’s toughness and attitude despite the loss earned him even more respect from his teammates and proves he is made for the starting QB job.
With the Dolphins losing to the Chargers, the playoff push for the Jets is on. New York will likely need to win three of the final four games for a chance at the postseason. The Jets’ are against the Lions and Jaguars at home, then on the road against the Seahawks and Dolphins.
(Photo: New York Jets via newyorkjets.com)