New York Jets

The New York Jets magical season has come to an end, as they lose to the Buffalo Bills eliminating them from this year’s playoffs.

By Jeff Jarboe

Getting off to a fast start on offense, limiting mistakes on both sides of the ball, and pressuring the quarterback.

Those were three keys to the New York Jets must-win matchup against the revenge-minded Rex Ryan and his Buffalo Bills this afternoon.

The Jets failed to do any of these things, and as a result their 2015 season has officially come to an end. Thanks to a howling Buffalo wind and a stacked Bills front-seven, Ryan Fitzpatrick and company failed to generate anything through the air or on the ground on the first few drives of the game and the Jets found themselves in a hole early.

The Bills dominated time of possession and field position for the majority of the first half, capitalizing on a shanked Ryan Quigley punt with a 17-yard touchdown run by Tyrod Taylor midway through the first quarter for their first score.

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As Chan Gailey continued to ride Stevan Ridley and Fitzpatrick’s passes continued to dip against the wind, Buffalo continued to start drives with favorable field position and found themselves inside the Jets red zone on a fourth and short situation.

Rather than taking the field goal, Rex kept his offense on the field and E.J. Manuel was able to draw Sheldon Richardson into the neutral zone, successfully continuing the drive. Karlos Williams pounded it in from two yards away and just like that Buffalo had a 13-0 lead.

The Jets offense finally got going on the following drive as Chris Ivory busted through the Buffalo front seven and broke into the secondary for a 58-yard gain. After two Quincy Enunwa drops, however, New York had to settle for a field goal attempt. An attempt that Randy Bullock did not make.

New York would score on this Brandon Marshall touchdown on their following possession to conclude the first half, but Buffalo tacked on another field goal before halftime to make the score 16-7.

Both teams traded field goals to start the third quarter and that’s when the momentum began to shift in the Jets direction. The offense began to have more success through the air and Fitzpatrick was making the right adjustments against the Buffalo pass rush. Fitz hit Decker from 21 yards out and just like that, the Jets were back in it. 17-19.

Buffalo punted on their next possession and Fitzpatrick found himself in a position to take the lead with just under 11 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. After a long drive into Buffalo’s red zone; however, the veteran quarterback made his first mistake of the game.

Fitz tried to squeeze one past Leodis McKelvin in the back of the endzone for Decker and the pass was intercepted. Buffalo’s offense drained the clock, hit a field goal and Fitzpatrick had a shot at redemption. That’s when he made his second mistake of the game.

With two minutes remaining Fitzpatrick attempted to take a deep shot to Brandon Marshall down the left sideline on third and nine, but was hit in the process and the ball was easily intercepted by Manny Lawson.

To cap things off, after New York used their remaining two timeouts and forced a Buffalo punt with less than a minute remaining, Fitzpatrick made his third mistake of the game and his third mistake of the fourth quarter.

After Kenbrell Thompkins nearly hauled in a 50-yard desperation pass down the right sideline, Fitzpatrick took a shot for Decker down the middle of the field and was intercepted with 17 seconds left, ending the Jets magical season.

Fitzpatrick’s fourth quarter mistakes may have been what ultimately lost the Jets this game, but there were a lot of contributing factors. One of which was the downright awful play of “lockdown” corner Darrelle Revis.

Revis looked slow and lazy in his coverage of Sammy Watkins this afternoon, allowing the speedy wideout to haul in 11 receptions for 136 yards, several of which came on key third downs.

In games like this one–a “win-and-you’re-in” scenario, where your offense has dug themselves in a hole early on–Revis has to rise to the occasion. The purpose of spending $40 million in guaranteed money on a lockdown cornerback is so that in games like this one, you can rely on that player to play solid man coverage and take advantage when the quarterback is pressured.

Granted, the Jets pass rush didn’t generate much pressure all afternoon, but Revis had many opportunities to make a play in man coverage with Sammy and he failed to do so. He was clearly afraid of Watkins burning him deep as he gave the third-year wideout anywhere from five to 15 yards of cushion on every play, and as a result, Watkins chipped away at the Jets defense and kept the Bills in this game.

Give credit to Tyrod Taylor for getting rid of the ball and extending the play outside the pocket when he needed to, and to Rex for using multiple offensive linemen to account for the Jets stacked front seven.

But make no mistake, this was a winnable game for the New York Jets and it was two of their star players, Fitzpatrick and Revis, who failed to rise to the occasion.

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I'm a senior journalism and communications major at THE University of Connecticut, as well as a die hard Jets and Knicks fan. College football and basketball have their place in my heart, but the NFL is my pride and joy.