The Jets got a new play caller, their old quarterback returned, and they even got a new offensive weapon.
Their offensive problems, though, run far, far deeper than that.
Despite getting a little bit of an early boost from Adam Gase’s surprise decision to hand the play-calling duties off to offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, it didn’t prove to be sustainable. The Jets opened with a field goal drive, scored a touchdown on their third drive, and basically shut down after that.
In the end, it was another anemic output and another disappointing loss – this time 18-10 to the Buffalo Bills. The Jets are now 0-7 on the season.
The Jets ended up with 190 yards, which actually was their lowest output of the season. They had 186 yards at halftime, meaning they had just four in the entire second half. Four.
They had the ball six times in the second half, too. And they still had four yards.
That wasted a decent defensive effort, as the Jets held the Bills to six field goals, plus two more field goal attempts that were missed.
Here are a few more takeaways from the Jets’ seventh loss of the year …
- Sam Darnold, in his first game back after missing two games with a sprained shoulder, looked very sharp early. He completed 10 of his first 11 passes for 107 yards. But after that? Like the rest of the offense, he basically shut down. He completed just 2-of-13 for 13 yards the rest of the way. He barely looked down field the entire time.
- The handoff of the play sheet from Gase to Loggains did give the Jets a little jolt at the beginning. They held the ball for 12 ½ minutes in the first quarter, for example, and looked as efficient as they had all year long. There were also a few noticeable differences, like more pre-snap motion for example, and clearly he used rookie running back La’Mical Perine more (11 carries, 39 yards), though that might have been the plan anyway. But the otherwise anemic output proved one thing: The Jets’ biggest problem is definitely not who calls the plays.
- The Jets have been eagerly anticipating the debut of rookie receiver Denzel Mims, their second-round pick, and he didn’t disappoint. He had four catches for 42 yards. He showed the kind of weapon he could be on a leaping, stretching catch over the middle in the second quarter that went for 16 yards. It was a tough catch, and one that Darnold’s receivers just haven’t been making for him this year. Every quarterback needs a player who can bail him out on a throw that’s just a little off. Mims could be that guy for Darnold.
- One of the mysteries of the early season has been why Gase wasn’t working in Perine more, given how impressive he looked at training camp this summer. Some of it was his ankle surgery, but he’s been healthy now for several weeks. Finally, the Jets started using him the way they should. Perine impressed, too, first with a 20-yard run in the second quarter that showed some of the acceleration he flashed this summer. And his five-yard touchdown run was really terrific, with the way he used his speed to turn the corner and switched hands with the ball so he could reach out and hit the pylon. He did everything right.
- For all the troubles the Jets defense has had this season, they deserved a better result than they got on Sunday. They kept a strong Bills offense out of the end zone, limiting them to just those eight field goal attempts. And – to emphasize a point that defensive coordinator Gregg Williams awkwardly made a couple of weeks ago – it would’ve been far less if the Jets’ offense had been able to do anything at all. The Bills did end up with 422 yards and QB Josh Allen threw for 307 yards, but the Jets’ defense stood tall when it counted most.
- Though the Jets secondary generally played well, there were a couple of shaky moments for CB Bless Austin. He dropped an interception in the end zone in the first half – a catch he absolutely should have made. He also blew a coverage on TE Tyler Kroft in the fourth quarter that resulted in a 38-yard catch. Austin bit on the underneath receiver, and possibly was expecting safety help behind him. He got lucky, though, because it should’ve been a 58-yard touchdown, but Kraft did his best impersonation of Giants QB Daniel Jones, tripping over his own feet and falling down at the 20.
- Some more things that can’t be fixed by a different play-caller: The Jets had a 4th and 1 from the Bills' 18 in the first half and were feeling some momentum. So they went for it on a handoff up the middle to Perine. But, predictably, he got hit long before he got to the line of scrimmage. The Jets’ interior run blocking has been generally poor this season. On that play, they got no push at all.