There's a census-long list of people wrong today about the New York Jets and their chances against the Buffalo Bills in the NFL opener in New Jersey (September 9). As it turns out, they were saving their best for when play mattered.
Even those who believed the Jets would find a way to emerge victorious in the first game contemplated a heated, defensive affair in which the Jets would stymie Bills' quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, perhaps recover a fumble or two, pick off a pass or two, and win 13-10. If you were betting on the over, you were alone in the corner like the shy high school freshman at his first dance.
The Jets may not score 48 points cumulatively for the rest of the season, so it was a revelation of biblical proportions when they rolled that number out on day one. Certainly, there were wonderful signs, not the least of which was a performance by Mark Sanchez unseen in quite some time. He carved up the Bill secondary like a Thanksgiving turkey, and the offensive line stood tall against the Mario Williams-led defensive line - and that may be the most shocking development of all.
Of course, no self-respecting Jet fan would be completely satisfied without popping up a red flag or two. It's nearly impossible to take statistics seriously in a game the Jets led 41-7 at one time, but there were some concerning issues. Lost in the ecstasy of a 48-point barrage was the vacant running game which accumulated only 118 yards on 36 carries - not a recipe for success on a team that wears its mantra "ground and pound" on its collective sleeves. The clandestine wildcat with Tim Tebow at the helm was invisible. The defense surrendered 195 yards on the ground, a ton of real estate considering the Bills were throwing the ball all day seeking to come from behind. And while it ultimately means nothing, the same defense allowed 28 points after falling asleep with a big lead, too much in any circumstance for a group that has vowed to be stifling all the time.
But we quibble. There may not be too many games like this one to celebrate as the season progresses, so a pox on issues.
Glenn Vallach has been a football fan for most of his lifetime, but never played organized pigskin unless you consider the thousands of youth hours running slant routes on city streets with a friend serving as Joe Willie. Don Maynard was his idol, an adulation he took seriously, complete with a number 13 stitched to his sweatshirt. He remains a New York Jet fan through so much disappointment and embarrassment over the years. Coach Rex Ryan has rekindled a dormant fire, but sometimes he feels as if he doesn't understand the likely end result of all his efforts. It has been 42 years, after all.
- · Yahoo! Sports New York Jets page
- · Yahoo! Sports Buffalo Bills page
- · Yahoo! Sports Mark Sanchez page
- · Yahoo! Sports Tim Tebow page
- · Dennis Waszak Jr., The Associated Press, Sanchez, Jets roll to 48-28 rout of Bills