The Jets opened the 2017 season with a disappointing loss to the Buffalo Bills 21-12. The loss was the second straight opening day defeat for the Jets.
The Jets can’t run the ball
Whether it was Matt Forte (6 carries for 16 yards), who looked every bit of his 31 years, or Bilal Powell (7 carries for 22 yards), the Jets running backs had no success. Of course, it’s a lot easier to gain yards when the offensive line can actually create running lanes or space, something that they did not do. Powell’s rushing total is actually very misleading, since 11 of those yards came on one play.
The Jets offensive line was routinely pushed back and lost the battle at the line of scrimmage against a very mediocre Bills defensive line. For the day the Jets totaled just 38 yards on 15 carries (2.5 YPC).
John Morton’s play calling was too conservative
Throughout the entire game John Morton called plays like he was afraid to hurt anyone’s feelings. With the exception of the Jets only TD drive, McCown averaged 4.3 yards per pass attempt. On their TD drive, McCown averaged 11.6 yards per pass attempt on the five passes that put the Jets inside the Bills 10-yard line.
Why was Morton comfortable opening up the offense then, yet not the rest of the game? That is a question he needs answered by Sunday.
Bilal Powell was invisible
Last season Bilal Powell showed flashes of being a weapon out of the backfield. In his last four games of 2016, Powell touched the ball 103 times and averaged 5.3 yards per touch. His 552 yards from scrimmage over those four games ranked second in fantasy points for RB over that span.
This offseason the Jets spoke about how they were going use Powell more in the offense. However, that was not the case on Sunday as Powell didn’t touch the ball until midway through the second quarter. For the game, Powell finished with 12 touches for 39 yards.
The Jets defense still allows big pass plays
Last season the Jets allowed 35 plays of 25 yards or more through the air. On Sunday their defense allowed five pass plays of 20 or more yards. Buster Skrine was undressed by Jordan Matthews on a play that gained 47 yards. LeSean McCoy (5 receptions for 49 yards) and Charles Clay (4 catches for 53 yards) totally outmatched the Jets linebackers and safeties who had to cover them.
Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye will learn and ultimately provide answers for some of these questions, but the Jets need to get immediate help for Demario Davis and Darron Lee in covering receivers.
The Jets front seven got manhandled
Whether it was LeSean McCoy cutting back and running through wide open lanes, or Mike Tolbert pounding his way through the line, the Jets defensive line was consistently pushed around.
Muhammad Wilkerson and Steve McClendon were the most victimized, as the only time their names were mentioned is when they were talking about how far away from the play they were moved.
Wilkerson especially was disappointing coming off the down year he had last season after signing a big contract extension. Mo talked all preseason about this being a different year and how he was going to get back to his 2015 form. His effort Sunday was severely lacking if that is his desire.
Mark Kelly covers the New York Jets for ProFootballSpot.com. You can follow him on twitter @CkmagicSports. Looking for more Jets news and features? Like our Jets Facebook page and also follow @spot_jets on Twitter.