Well, Jets fans, we’ve finally found what it takes to make Geno Smith play effectively at quarterback: spot the other team a 28-point lead. Smith performed reasonably well after relieving a banged-up Michael Vick with just under five minutes left in the third quarter of Gang Green’s 38-3 loss, completing 10 of his 12 passes.
Of course, Smith was no Kyle Orton. The Jets made the journeyman QB look like Joe Montana Monday night at Detroit’s Ford Field. Orton connected with his targets on all but eight of his 32 throws, and half of his incompletions were drops by heralded rookie Sammy Watkins and his fellow receivers. Watkins torched the Jets when the two teams met earlier this season, but he inflicted no such damage in the second match-up. He didn’t need to, since the Jets DBs were busy turning Bills second-year WR Robert Woods into Jerry Rice.
Speaking of all-time greats, it appeared as though Buffalo had a defensive line full of Reggie Whites. The Jets simply couldn’t block the Bills’ oncoming pass rushers, who finished the night with seven sacks to push their league-high up to 46 with five games still left in the season. Gang Green couldn’t even block a backup running back. Reserve Anthony Dixon not only finished with a game-high 54 rushing yards, but also blocked a Ryan Quigley punt that teammate Manny Lawson returned for a touchdown to effectively end the contest with 25 minutes still left on the game clock.
To say the Jets bring out the best in the Bills would be the understatement of the 2014 NFL season. Against all other opponents, Buffalo has averaged an anemic 17 points a game. In two games against the Jets this year, they’re at over 40 per.
Meanwhile, Buffalo brings out, well, the Jets in the Jets, who certainly lived up to their putrid 2-9 record last night. Even their few standout performers, such as defensive linemen Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson, were ineffective -- to say nothing of an offensive line that apparently had already taken off for Thanksgiving. And for all the talk about how playing indoors on artificial turf would give the Jets’ playmakers an edge, Vick suddenly looked his age in Detroit, while I’m not even sure Percy Harvin made the trip. Can you imagine how upset he is if he’s in Buffalo right now?
The Bills were thought to be at a disadvantage in surrendering a precious home game for a neutral field nearly 300 miles from Buffalo. But I think coach Doug Marrone and his somehow-still-in-playoff-hunt team would gladly play at Ford Field -- preferably against the Jets -- every week.