Monday, December 15, 2008

What we learned from this game

This defense is not ready for primetime
The Bills scored 3 points against San Francisco and 3 points against Miami. They travel on the road, and they put up 27 on the Jets.

I was prepared to make some excuses. After all, their two 2nd quarter touchdowns started at midfield and the Jet 24-yard line in each case. But there was NO excuse for their putrid performance on the Bills final scoring drive.

Here's the scenario: you're up by 4, 8:45 to go. The Bills have the ball on their own 36. Keep them out of the end zone and get the ball back to the offense, and you probably win the game, or at least you take control of it.

What happened? Here's the Yahoo play-by-play.

1st-10, BUF36 8:45 J. Losman passed to D. Fine to the right for 11 yard gain
1st-10, BUF47 8:20 J. Losman passed to J. Reed to the left for 14 yard gain
1st-10, NYJ39 7:43 J. Losman passed to J. Reed to the right for 11 yard gain
1st-10, NYJ28 6:59 J. Losman passed to L. Evans to the left for 8 yard gain
2nd-2, NYJ20 6:27 M. Lynch rushed to the left for 9 yard gain
1st-10, NYJ11 5:30 F. Jackson rushed to the left for 11 yard touchdown. R. Lindell made PAT

The Bills methodically moved the ball down the field, with every play being very positive. The Jets offered NO resistance, and the Bills scored a touchdown with ease. The tackling on the final Jackson run was simply atrocious, as it had been all day, and as it had been in the past two games.

The inability to even force a 2nd and long or one 3rd down on the biggest drive of the season to this point was pathetic. Four turnovers in the fourth quarter was beautiful, but one was on a Hail Mary, and I give J.P. Losman and the Bills playcalling more discredit than I give the Jets credit for the strip-sack and the Revis pick.

Yes, the defense made plays, but throwing the ball in that situation was just STUPID, and Losman has always been turnover-prone, especially in a situation where the Jets know they will be throwing. As encouraging as those plays were, they do not come close to making up for making the Bills look like an NFL team.

Laveranues Coles is not dead yet.
They went away from him a little after he bobbled the ball that ended up staying in the air long enough for a fluky Bills interception. 5 catches for 82 yards does prove that LC may finally be breaking out of his slump. Jerricho Cotchery added 34 yards and a touchdown.

Leon Washington needs the ball!
1 carry. 47 yards. Touchdown. I know that with Thomas Jones, Coles, Cotchery, and Dustin Keller all needing the ball, not to mention David Clowney (what a catch he made) and Chansi Stuckey, but when the Jets need a big play, it's Leon who has to make it.

If Jones can get 20 carries and 2 receptions, Washington can get at least 5-7 touches. This was another game where the Jets failed to control the time of possession after being so good in that category earlier, so they didn't have enough plays to get everyone as involved as they'd like, but give this guy a hole and a cutting lane, and he is GONE.

The run defense can no longer be considered elite.
J.P. Losman was limited to very short passes all day long, as his yards-per-attempt stat was abysmal all game (3.8), but Marshawn Lynch ran for 127 and Fred Jackson added another 32.

The main problem has been the lack of speed as the linebackers. The 3-4 is built on size, not speed, and Brian Thomas and Calvin Pace have been exploited at times on outside runs. The Jets are a great north-south defense, but spread them out, and good things happen for opponents.

The other problem has been missed tackles. This hasn't been a problem with Eric Mangini's defenses for the most part, but recently, it's been a major issue. Look at Lynch and Jackson's biggest runs for proof.

Brett Favre is not Chad Pennington
That play-action bootleg was beautiful to watch, and pretty much any other player on the Jets would have scored that play, but 27 yards rushing from Brett Favre is about 26 yards longer than I expect him to run.

So why isn't he Chad Pennington? Watching Favre's run again, you can see him try a little stutter-step shoulder fake to get past the tackler. When Pennington tried it against Buffalo, he broke Eddie Robinson's ankles. Favre? Not so much.

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