Buffalo Bills Week 8 Review: Jets have been grounded!

Geno Smith didn;t see much time last week, due to 3 turnovers in the First quarter! - Photo via fansided.com

Geno Smith didn’t see much time last week, due to 3 turnovers in the First quarter! – Photo via fansided.com

At 1-6 the Jets game seemed to be a guaranteed win. If you’ve watched any of the games this year, you’ll know there is no such thing as guarantee with these Bills. Despite having a better record, better defense and better QB, the Bills went into the Meadowlands as underdogs. Perhaps it was the addition of Percy Harvin (who they acquired from the Seahawks earlier in the week) or perhaps it was that they barely lost to the Patriots. Whatever the reason, it didn’t take long for the Bills to prove who was the better team.

For the first time since the 2012 season, they took their opening drive for a touchdown and never looked back. The defense was dominant and probably ended the Geno Smith experiment in New York. Geno Smith was just awful. It’s safe to say that game ended any debate of whether the Bills should have drafted him instead of EJ. That debate began last season when Geno out-played EJ in their first meeting. History seemed to repeat itself for poor Geno. He was terrible last year as well when the Jets played the Bills the week before the bye. He had four turnovers in that game and was benched in the 3rd quarter. Geno didn’t make it out of the first quarter before getting pulled Sunday after three consecutive interceptions. The offense and defense seemed to be firing on all cylinders, putting a beat down on the Jets for a 43-23 victory. So would you be surprised if I told you there were calls for Nate Hackett to be fired after the game? I’ll get to that, but for now, let’s roll the highlights!

Sammy Watkins had Tecmo Super Bowl stats last week! - Photo via buffalowdown.com

Sammy Watkins had Tecmo Super Bowl stats last week! – Photo via buffalowdown.com

The Jets received the ball, and Percy Harvin was set up to return. From five yards in the end zone, Harvin bolted for 35 yards. It looked like Harvin might be a force in the game. Fortunately for the Bills, he had Geno Smith throwing him the ball! The defense forced a three-and-out. The Bills marched down the field and went up 7-0 as Orton fired a 22-yard pass to Robert Woods. Woods made a great contested catch in the end zone. The following drive for the Jets began the demise of Geno Smith. On third down Smith under threw Harvin on a streak down the left sideline. Gilmore made a nice adjustment on the ball as he was running step-for-step with Harvin and came up with the Bills first interception. Gilmore had a nifty return as well, setting up blockers and gaining almost 20 yards to the Jets 30. The Bills didn’t do anything with the ball and ended up punting. The following drive was déjà vu for Smith as on 3rd down he threw a horrible pass to Jeff Cumberland down the left sideline that was intercepted by Preston Brown. Yes, I said Preston Brown, the Bills LB who has been criticized for his lack of coverage ability. Again, Smith forced the ball to a receiver that wasn’t open. Brown was step-for-step and made a nice catch. The Bills,, again, couldn’t do anything despite starting at the 50, going three-and-out. Geno Smith wasn’t happy with just two interceptions, so on 2nd down he fired an inaccurate pass to Eric Decker that was picked off by safety Aaron Williams and returned to the two-yard line. Geno Smith made a nice tackle, preventing Williams from scoring. That would be the last pass Geno Smith would throw Sunday and perhaps ever as a Jet. The Bills scored on their first play on a play-action pass to Lee Smith. Yes, I said Lee Smith, the guy who caught his first pass of the season and his first touchdown in the same quarter.

Vick held his own but in the end had three turnovers himself. - Photo via thejetpress.com

Vick held his own but in the end had three turnovers himself. – Photo via thejetpress.com

The Jets turned to Michael Vick, which instantly paid off. He put together a long six-minute touchdown drive making it 14 to 7. Sensing the Jets and their fans were coming back to life, only down by 7 despite 3 turnovers, the Bills needed to answer. They definitely did on the next series — one the likes of which we haven’t seen for years. They went deep to Sammy Watkins on 1st down as he was one-on-one with the corner. Orton threw the Ball to the right outside shoulder, but Watkins cut in expecting it on his inside left shoulder and the pass went incomplete. The Bills ran on second down and then right back to that same play for Watkins on 3rd down. This time the pass was on the money, and Watkins was off to the races for what looked like an easy 89-yard Touchdown. However, Sammy started watching himself on the Jumbo-tron and slowed down to celebrate at the 10-yard line, allowing the trailing Jets safety to tackle him at the 4-yard line. The gaffe made headlines nationally, but that didn’t matter because the Bills still scored on a short run by the FB Frank “The Tank” Summers.

The teams traded three-and-outs for a few series, and then the turnover bug hit Michael Vick. As he was scrambling for a first down, Nigel Bradham was able to strip the ball, and the Bills recovered at the Jets 31. The Bills would settle for a field goal on their 4th turnover of the day. Vick answered right back, orchestrating a long 76-yard touchdown drive capped off by a Chris Ivory scoring run. With the score now 24 to 14, the Bills had a chance to add to their lead with 1:50 left and all three time outs. It was this point in the game fans began to complain about Nate Hackett and Marrone’s super conservative predictable game plan. They seemed content to try and sit on a seven-point lead from the 10 minute mark in the 2nd quarter. The Bills offense for the 4th time decided to run on first down. Orton was sacked on the next play and threw an incompletion on 3rd and long then had to punt. The Jets got the ball with 33 seconds on the clock and managed to drive down for a field goal, making it 24 to 17 at the half. Bills fans were upset that despite four turnovers — all in Jets territory — the Bills were only up by 7. The Bills running game was atrocious, only averaging two yards a carry, yet they kept calling a predictable run on first down, playing the field position game. Marrone and Hackett are constantly compared to Dick Jauron as they’re both ultra-conservative. Marrone loves to punt on 4th and short when inside enemy territory between the 39 and 45 yard line. Jauron’s method got us to 7-9 for years and conservative coaches don’t win super bowls. Though it was rather conservative after the first two touchdowns, the second half provided several exciting plays.

Sammy is the REAL DEAL! - Photo via

Sammy is the REAL DEAL! – Photo viat hejetpress.com

The Bills came out and passed on first down to start the 2nd half; but Orton was sacked, and we ended up punting the ball. From here on out they would follow the formula of running on first and second down and passing on 3rd, drawing the ire of fans. The defense played extremely well, forcing three-and-out after three-and-out even with the switch to Vick. The Bills’ D would cause yet another turnover as Vick was hit and fumbled while scrambling. The Bills would recover at the 9-yard line but settled for a field goal, making it five turnovers resulting in two punts, two field goals and one touchdown despite field position being in Jets territory on each one. The only points scored in the second were two field goals making it 30-17. An interception by Da’Norris Searcy ended the quarter and gave the Bills excellent starting field position at the Jets 14-yard line.

Two plays into the 4th quarter, Orton would find Scott Chandler for a 12-yard score. It was a perfect pass high and away where only Chandler could reach it. With a 37 to 17 lead the Bills were in control. On the next Bills drive, Orton would throw the dagger to put the Jets away as he hit Sammy Watkins on a 9-yard slant that turned into a 61 yard touchdown. Watkins broke two tackles and was gone. Again the Jets brought a safety up playing the run leaving only one corner and one safety for Watkins to beat. The Jets would get a late garbage time TD but failed on the two-point conversion. The Bills ran out the clock getting the win and moving to 5-3. Orton finished with 265 yards passing and fourTDs. Sammy Watkins finished the day with 157 yards receiving and one TD and is Rookie of the Month after being Rookie of the Week last week.

With the bye week the Bills get a chance to work on some things. The running game was horrible and blocking was better but still had its share of issues. Boobie Dixon was ineffective, only averaging two yards a carry, and Bryce Brown was barely used. With Fred Jackson out until at least week 12’s Jets rematch, the Bills need to figure out a better way to run the ball or change their philosophy on offense. Craig Urbik got the start over Cyril Richardson on the line, and there was slight improvement. They are working Cyrus Kouandjio at guard as well even though he’s more of a tackle, so perhaps we will see him after the bye in place of Henderson, Urbik or Pears.

So, Bills nation, what did you think of the game? How did you like the game plan? Was it too conservative too quickly? Were they right to run the ball to avoid turnovers on a Swiss cheese pass defense? As always, let me know what you think on here, and follow me on Twitter @jasonsins. Enjoy your week off, rest up because these last eight games will be a wild ride.

By: Jason Sinsabaugh

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