You Cannot Coach a Worse Game

In a huge Thursday night home football clash of AFC East rivals the Buffalo Bills hung on to defeat the New York Jets by a score of 22-17. The win moved Buffalo to 5-4 and dropped the Jets to 5-4, giving the Bills the tiebreaker on the head-to-head matchup for the AFC Wild Card playoff spots. This loss for the Jets could turn out to be an absolutely crushing defeat at the end of the season if they miss the playoffs, and you are looking for the game or two that cost them their spot. But that is for later down the road, because right now this team does not resemble a team that has any business thinking about January football games.

I have been very high on Todd Bowles since he has taken over as the Jets head coach. I am a big fan of this regime that has come in. I like the way they handle themselves, the players they have gotten and the way they have coached the players up. With that being said, this was the worst game of Todd Bowles head coaching career from a decision making standpoint. There is a litany of decisions made in this game that were just plain awful and blatantly cost the Jets a shot at winning. The play calling on various third and fourth downs in this game was atrocious, as they continuously threw passes behind the line of scrimmage at futile attempts to run bubble screens. In a league where you are rewarded for throwing the ball down the field, especially by the officials, you absolutely cannot deter from this type of play calling. And any 7 year old who watches the game could sit here and say what I heard every analyst say on the post game “You cannot run routes short of the line of scrimmage.” So yes the play calling on the offensive side of the ball in crucial spots was unbelievably poor, but that’s not even the part of the coaching that lost this game. What did lose this game? Horrible situational decisions by Todd Bowles lost the game. Those horrendous decisions are as follows:

– 3rd and 18 in the first half and winning 3-0. They throw a deep ball in an obvious pass situation that gets intercepted, leading to Bills starting in field goal range. The safe draw play would have been the call in this spot.
– The special teams unit does not understand their job on kickoff returns. You simply cannot take the ball out of the end zone, 7 yards deep in a corner, and diagonally return it. This led to a fumble, that happened on the 14 yard line by the way, so a touchback would have been six yards better. Let alone the fumble being picked up and returned for a touchdown.
– The worst decision of the game, in my opinion was not going for the two point conversion at 22-9. Its basic math and so many coaches cannot figure it out. If you kick the extra point its 22-10. Down 12. That is still a two touchdown game. If you go for two and miss its 22-9, that’s a two touchdown game. If you make the two its 22-11, that’s a touchdown, 2 point conversion and field goal game. If they go for two and make it, then all the other late decisions to go for it on fourth down, that were horribly called would not have happened. They could have kicked a field goal the next time down and it would have been 22-14.

In the NFL you need to have a legit quarterback to cover a lot of flaws and be a contender. Or you can survive without one, if and only if you have a defense and a big time head coach. And at one point this year it looked like the Jets had both, now it looks like they may not have either. Seven games left let see what happens. On to Houston.

– Rob DiToma