Thursday night went about as poorly as possible for the Buffalo Bills defense. The New York Jets scored on their first four drives, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 374 yards, Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall both topped the 100-yard mark, and Matt Forte rushed for 100 yards and three touchdowns.
It all amounted to a 37-31 win – which wasn’t as close as the final score indicates.
“It’s like we got taken behind the woodshed defensively,” Bills radio analyst Mark Kelso said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “They had their way. In the first half, Matt Forte didn’t have a lot of room to run, but in the second half, (he did). They just had their way with the Bills defensively. They were playing off, they weren’t bringing a lot of pressure, and sometimes they didn’t have safety help and they got caught down the middle of the field a couple times. Sometimes they were in really good position and Jets receivers just made the play. Ryan Fitzpatrick did a masterful job of spreading the ball around. He knew exactly what he wanted to do and he was pulling the trigger quickly and getting rid of it.”
It seems odd for the Bills to give up 37 points at home against the Jets just four days after holding the Ravens to 13 in Baltimore. Do the Bills have the right defensive personnel to win? Or was this a mater of execution?
“I think it’s execution,” Kelso said. “Arguably we have one of the best corner tandems in the league. Ron Darby played exceptional last year and it doesn’t appear that he’ll do anything but that this year again. Stephon Gilmore is a guy that plays at the top level, and they certainly have talent across the defensive side. They’re missing Marcell Dareus, but they’ve got guys inside that can get that job done in his absence. But it’s execution of the schemes. You can’t say that it’s one scheme or that it’s Rex Ryan’s scheme or Rob Ryan. They just have to execute the scheme efficiently. If they’re able to do that, then they can be successful. But it’s got to be sound in all areas. Ultimately, they just couldn’t stop the Jets and they couldn’t get off the field on third down.”
Rex Ryan needs to find some answers – and fast. The Bills hired him to lead the franchise to the playoffs for the first time since 1999. Ryan went 8-8 last year and is 0-2 this year.
Could he be coaching for his job this season?
“It’s way too early to tell,” Kelso said. “I’m one who believes in continuity. I believe continuity wins both in the locker room and in the coaching staff. You got to give the coach an opportunity to begin to execute the schemes that they have been successful with over the years, and obviously they’ve been successful or they wouldn’t have a head-coaching opportunity. Then you have to find the right players’ skill-set to be able to execute that scheme. I think he’s getting to that point, but you can’t worry about that. I think he has a good collection of guys. It seems like they’ve taken accountability from a leadership perspective. I think they have good study habits and they’re preparing well for games; they’re just not executing properly on game day, and they’ve got to find a way to figure that out. If they do, then they’ll have an opportunity to come in here in 10 days against Arizona and perhaps walk out with a victory. If they don’t, then they’re going to suffer another defeat at the hands of a pretty good team.”