WKBW (East Rutherford, New Jersey) The hope surrounding the start of a new season was tossed on it's head on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Following an offseason filled with expectations, this is not how the Buffalo Bills drew it up.
Sunday's 48-28 loss to New York was the Bills sixth straight to the Jets. 21 second half points helped things on paper, but this was perhaps the most disappointing of the bunch.
Only making matters worse, a pair of injuries on the offensive side of the ball. Both RB Fred Jackson and WR David Nelson suffered knee injuries in the loss. Head Coach Chan Gailey said afterwards that the injury to Nelson is expected to be more significant. We should know more soon, both are expected to undergo further testing in the next day or so.
So where do you start with this one??
How about the start that quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick called "embarrassing". Had to be. Fitzpatrick had an entire off-season to stew on a league leading 24 interceptions in 2011, and then came out and was picked off three times against the Jets. The three interceptions led to 21 New York points. Jets CB Antonio Cromartie capped things off with his 40 yard interception return for a TD in the third quarter. The score made it 34-7.
Fitzpatrick battled back with touchdown passes on three of the Bills next four drives, but the damage was already done. He finished 18-32 195 yards 3 TDs, and 3 Interceptions.
As tough as the performance was by Fitzpatrick I was shocked by how easily the Jets marched on the Bills defense.
Forget Tim Tebow. Mark Sanchez had a field day on Sunday.
Where was the pass rush?? The Bills spent millions to address that part of the defense during the off-season. Paging Mario Williams. Paging Mark Anderson. The Bills failed to get a sniff of Sanchez in the loss and a young secondary paid the price. Sanchez finished 19-of-27 for 266 yards 3 touchdowns and a interception. Stephen Hill hauled in five catches for 89 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Gailey was quick to dismiss the youth of cornerbacks Aaron Williams and Stephon Gilmore as a legitimate excuse on Sunday. They have to be better. So does the defense. The unit struggled to get off the field on third down. The Jets went 10-for-14 or converted on 71% of the teams opportunities on third down. Not good enough.
The only bright spot in the loss on Sunday may be the play of RB C.J. Spiller. Spiller returned to form after a strong finish to 2011. He finished with 169 yards on 14 carries. That's an average of 12.1 yards a carry. A couple of long runs helped including his 56 yard touchdown run in the second quarter. The touchdown was the Bills only score before half time. Spiller told me after the game he's ready to carry the load if called upon. Outside of the fumble that he'd like to have back it looks like he's right. We'll find out more about Fred Jackson in the coming days.
We should also find out this week if this is a Bills team that can bounce back.