Fierce inter-division rivals, the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets met in the first Color Rush game of 2016, with the Jets thoroughly outplaying their stateside neighbor. The final scoreline flattered the Bills, 37-31.
After disappointing losses in Week 1, both franchises were desperate to avoid a dreaded 0-2 start. In Week 1 the Jets fell to the Bengals on a last minute field goal, and the Bills offence was throttled by a potent Ravens defence.
Fortunately for New York, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had arguably one of his strongest performances in Jets colors, going 24/34 for 374 yards and a touchdown. The Bills secondary was exposed repeatedly by Fitzpatrick, who repeatedly hit his wide receiver trio of Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and Quincy Enunwa down the field for large gains. The inability of Rex Ryan’s defence to cover the Jets’ receivers restricted his blitzing opportunities, which was compounded by Fitzpatrick’s laser arm.Running back Matt Forte was also heavily involved, 30 carries for 100 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Bills’ quarterback Tyrod Taylor looked impressive on the stat sheet, less so in realtime. Of the 297 yards Taylor threw, 155 of them came on two broken play touchdowns to Marquise Goodwin and Greg Salas. The Jets highly intimidating defensive line of Wilkerson, Williams and Richardson harassed Taylor incessantly, reducing the running and forcing Taylor from the pocket.
A foot complaint for Sammy Watkins saw his snaps and targets greatly reduced. As a consequence, the Bills’ wide receiver depth was severely tested and unfortunately it was found to be lacking. Injuries and suspension have already made their mark on this Bills team, currently Reggie Ragland, Shaq Lawson, Cordy Glenn are all missing. Not to mention the concerns over the active Watkins and Charles Clay, and the suspension to Marcell Dareus.
For the Jets, this victory was absolutely critical, especially with an incredibly tough schedule on the horizon over the next month. However, it isn’t all smiles in the ‘Big Apple’. Darrelle Revis’ form is a serious issue. After being roundly beaten by AJ Green last week, this week it was the turn of the relatively unknown Marquise Goodwin. His 84 yard touchdown at Revis’ expense, exceeded his total yards in 2014 and 2015 combined.
Although it’s early days in the season, perhaps the days of placing the future Hall of Famer on his own island with zero safety help are at an end.
Thursday Night Football has acquired a reputation over the past few years of throwing in some shocking games of football. Fortunately, the two Thursday night games thus far in 2016 have been of very watchable quality.