1 – Allen again hits century mark on the ground
The Jets didn’t need to watch much film to realize that they would need an answer to neutralize Josh Allen’s rushing exploits. They didn’t have one.
Buffalo’s rookie quarterback made several plays with his legs to keep drives alive. He had 87 yards rushing by halftime, including a six-yard touchdown run, his fifth of the season.
By the middle the third quarter Allen had reached 99 yards on the ground just eight carries. That total made Allen just the second quarterback in NFL history to rush for at least 90 yards in three consecutive games, joining Green Bay Packers' Tobin Rote, who accomplished the feat in 1951.
Allen finished the game with 101 yards rushing, making him the first NFL QB with back-to-back 100-yard rushing games since Rote did it in 1951.
For the third straight game, Allen led the team in rushing, as Buffalo’s running backs have found it hard to find holes on designed run plays. The run game wasn’t helped when LeSean McCoy left the game in the first quarter with a hamstring injury.
While there is concern on the part of the coaching staff that their rookie quarterback is shouldering too much of the offensive burden, Allen is simply focused on trying to make a difference.
“I’m just trying to help this team win football games and try to move the chains, especially on third down,” said Allen. “Try to put us into scoring positions. (LeSean) had a really big game against (the Jets) last time, so who knows what he could’ve done. But Chris (Ivory) and (Marcus Murphy) stepped up and played well. Losing your starting running back early is never good, but we had to pick up the slack and move the football.”
2 – Turnovers and special teams prove costly
Buffalo’s special teams had a difficult day against one of the league’s better returners. Andre Roberts, took a kickoff back 86 yards to set up a Jets touchdown, and averaged more than 35 yards per return.
Roberts’ first return went for 26 yards, but fortunately was called back on penalty. That was followed by a 51-yard return to the Bills 46-yard line a couple of possessions later. It led to a field goal for New York.
Then when Buffalo finished off a drive of their own with a field goal, Roberts took the ensuing kickoff back 86 yards to the Bills eight-yard line, and the Jets offense was in the end zone two plays later to make it a four-point game.
Four of the Jets first five drive starts began in Bills territory.
With the cold weather it appeared that K Stephen Hauschka was unable to drive the football deep into the end zone to eliminate any opportunity for the Jets to return.
“We came in and wanted to target (areas) with different directional kicks, but we didn’t get that done,” said head coach Sean McDermott. “After we started off the way we did on special teams we made an adjustment. So after halftime we squibbed the ball a little bit, but at the end of the day it wasn’t good enough.”
By game’s end the Jets average drive start was their own 47-yard line, while Buffalo’s was their own 27.
“Just overall, number one (we) let a team hang around,” said McDermott. “First half, first quarter in particular we got off to a good start, but when you let a team hang around through poor special teams play and turning the football over, and then when we have opportunities we were shooting ourselves in the foot. That’s really the story of the game right there.”
Buffalo lost the turnover battle by a count of three to two. The rookie quarterbacks were responsible for all but one of the five committed in the game. Josh Allen had a lost fumble on a scramble and a pair of interceptions, including one on the team’s final drive of the game to try to win.
“I’ve got to be smarter with the football,” said Josh Allen. “I gave it away three times. I didn’t put us in a great situation or in a great position. Coach McDermott preaches ball security all the time and there were a couple of plays where it wasn’t the most important thing to me and it hurt us.”
Darnold had an interception in the red zone and Jets return man Andre Roberts lost a fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half.
“There’s a formula to win in this league and it starts by taking care of the football and giving yourself a chance with good field position,” said McDermott. “When you see the field position difference, we’re at our own 27-yard line and they’re at their 48-yard line. That’s not a recipe for success right there, so it comes back to taking care of the football, playing good special teams and being able to convert in the red zone on offense.”
Adding to Buffalo’s subpar day on special teams was Stephen Hauschka’s 49-yard field goal attempt was blocked by New York defensive lineman Henry Anderson to keep the Bills lead at four (17-13) at halftime.
It was the first Bills field goal attempt that was blocked since Nov. 30, 2014, when Dan Carpenter had a 53-yard attempt blocked, a span of 64 games.
He also had a 54-yard attempt that fell wide to the left.
3 - Injuries pile up
The Bills had a string of injuries in Sunday’s game with some key players not returning to the game against the Jets.
In the first half, Buffalo lost LeSean McCoy to a hamstring injury and by the second half he was declared out for the game. His replacement Chris Ivory left the game in the second half with an undisclosed upper body injury after landing on his shoulder at the end of a run play.
The Bills were down to one running back the rest of the game in Marcus Murphy.
Lost late in the game on Buffalo’s final and unsuccessful goal line stand was Matt Milano. The linebacker was carted off with under two minutes to play in regulation.
Even Stephen Hauschka was shaken up after a cheap shot by a Jets player after his 49-yard field goal attempt was blocked at the end of the first half. Buffalo’s kicker was hit in the back when DL Henry Anderson “blocked” him while one of his teammates was trying to return the blocked kick.
Other players who were injured, but returned to the game included CB Levi Wallace, CB Ryan Lewis, RT Jordan Mills and WR Robert Foster.
Even QB Josh Allen was being evaluated at halftime for an undisclosed injury according to head coach Sean McDermott, but he returned to the game.
All injured players will be re-evaluated on Monday.
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