EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Jets opened the season with high hopes and expectations that all the changes they made in the offseason would lead to changes on the field and scoreboard. But the Jets suffered a brutal loss in the first game of the Adam Gase era.
They gave up 17 unanswered points in the second half, and fell, 17-16, to the Bills Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
Sam Darnold said he believed the offense could be “electric.” But it lacked power. Gase’s offense sputtered for much of the game, and it couldn’t produce anything in the fourth quarter when the Jets really needed it.
The Jets took over at their own 25, down by one point, with three minutes to go. The converted a 4th-and-1 as Le’Veon Bell got the yard he needed with some extra effort. After an illegal use of the hands penalty gave the Jets a first down, Darnold’s next three passes went incomplete, including an overthrow of Robby Anderson, who was wide open.
On 4th-and-10 from their 40, Darnold was hit throwing the ball and it went incomplete.
Darnold finished 28-for-41 for 186 yards and one touchdown. Bell, who sat out last season over a contract dispute with the Steelers, had 60 yards on 17 carries, and six catches for 32 receiving yards. He scored on a 9-yard catch, and caught a pass for a two-point conversion that gave the Jets a 16-0 lead.
Kicker Kaare Vedvik missed an extra point and a 45-yard field goal in his first regular season NFL game.
The defense under new coordinator Gregg Williams forced four turnovers. But they crumbled late, particularly after new middle linebacker C.J. Mosley left the game with a groin injury.
Subscribe to Sports Now newsletter
Mosley had been all over the field, and scored the Jets’ first touchdown of the season. Mosley, who the Jets signed to a five-year, $85 million contract, picked off Josh Allen and ran 17 yards for the score 4:26 into the game. But Mosley left the game late in the third and didn’t return.
The defense changed after he left. On the first series without Mosley, the Bills marched down the field. They went 85 yards on eight plays, and scored on a 3-yard touchdown run by Allen. The extra point made it 16-10.
After the Jets offense went nowhere, the Bills took over at their own 20. It took another eight plays to get in the end zone. Allen hit John Brown for a 38-yard touchdown pass with 3:00 left. Stephen Hauschka’s extra point gave the Bills a 17-16 lead.
It took seven possessions, but the Jets scored their first offensive touchdown — and the first for Bell in Green and White. On third-and-goal from the Bills’ 9, Darnold threw a low pass that Bell went down and caught and got in the end zone for his first touchdown in more than 600 days.
The Jets went for two and got it after Darnold scrambled left, turned right and lofted a pass to the back corner of the end zone. Bell leapt up and grabbed it to give the Jets a 16-0 lead with 7:01 remaining in the third.
The Jets’ defense forced four first-half turnovers, and nearly had a fifth. But a Marcus Maye interception was negated by defensive holding on Darryl Roberts. Despite all the takeaways, the offense produced zero points in the half. The lone score was Mosley’s touchdown return.
In seven series, the Jets had two three-and-outs, four punts and a missed field goal. Darnold made some bad decisions, but he was also under a lot of pressure. He was sacked three times in the first half.
The offense’s best chance to score came on the final series after Neville Hewitt picked off Allen’s deflected pass. It gave the Jets the ball at Buffalo’s 48 with a minute to go. On the first play, Darnold connected with Jamison Crowder for a 19-yard gain. But the Jets only gained two yards on the next three plays. Darnold had a pass batted down on second down and threw incomplete on third.
Vedvik came in for the 45-yard field goal. He missed badly, wide right. It wasn’t even close.