Report Card: One final indignity

December, 30, 2012
12/30/12
10:58
PM ET
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Well, look at the bright side: It's over. Grades from the Jets' 28-9 loss Sunday to the Bills:


PASSING OFFENSE

Mark Sanchez actually made a couple of big-time throws, including a 40-yard strike to Jeremy Kerley, but he also committed two turnovers -- including a pick six. Sanchez shredded the Bills in the season opener, but this was a different story. The Bills used their corners in press coverage, causing problems for the Jets' wideouts. The Bills also generated decent pressure on Sanchez. He was sacked only once, but he was under duress. He escaped a couple of near sacks, making something out of nothing. He also hit eight different receivers. So, yes, there were some positives, but he went 0-for-4 in the red zone and led only three field-goal drives.

RUSHING OFFENSE

After last week's 11-sack debacle, the Jets' game plan was to run -- and keep running. Made sense, considering the Bills were 32nd against the run. The Jets ran on their first nine plays and finished with 119 yards in the first half, but they failed to counter the Bills' adjustments and finished with 133. In the second half, they rushed eight times for 14 yards. Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell were a good 1-2 punch, with Greene eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark for the second straight year.

PASSING DEFENSE

The Jets began the day as the only team in the NFL that hadn't allowed a 100-yard receiver. So what happened? Stevie Johnson went for 111 yards on six catches. So much for that little feather in their cap. The Bills did a good job of finding Johnson whenever he wasn't covered by Antonio Cromartie. The Jets did a nice job defending Ryan Fitzpatrick's screen passes -- except for one, a middle screen to C.J. Spiller that went for a 66-yard TD. LaRon Landry got caught in traffic, allowing Spiller to break free. The Jets didn't have any sacks, but DE Muhammad Wilkerson (three QB hits) was a terror.

RUSHING DEFENSE

The game plan was to contain the dangerous Spiller, and they held him to 59 yards and 2.5 per carry -- about four yards below his average. The perimeter run defense did a nice job, setting the edge and forcing Spiller back to the inside. David Harris and Bart Scott were active between the tackles, and Mike DeVito forced a fumble in Bills territory. It didn't end well, though, as former Jets WR Brad Smith lined up in the Wilcat and scored on a four-yard run. How fitting is that?

SPECIAL TEAMS

This wasn't what Mike Westhoff had in mind for his final game. The Jets turned the simple act of a short field goal into an adventure. A 30-yarder was blocked and a 23-yarder was deflected, somehow making it over the crossbar. This was a bad season for special teams.

COACHING

Ugh. The Jets failed to score a touchdown against the softest defense in the league. They produced three nice drives in the first half, running the ball with an attitude, but they showed no ability to adjust when the Bills started run blitzing. The running game stopped in the second half, and so did the entire offense. Get this: The Jets ran nine plays in the red zone, managing only 14 yards. A third-and-12 draw play in the red zone? Once again, Rex Ryan turned Tim Tebow into a spectator -- only one offensive snap. Tebow might have been able to provide a spark in the second half -- the Buffalo crowd actually chanted "Te-bow!" -- but he didn't get a chance because Sanchez gave them the best chance to win, according to Ryan, sounding like a broken record.



Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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