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Week 1 Game Recap: New York Jets 12, Buffalo Bills 21

What you need to know

New York Jets

• An expected ugly season got off to an ugly start in Buffalo. Josh McCown threw two ugly interceptions late in the game, Bilal Powell didn’t touch the ball until mid-way through the second quarter, and the Jet defense gave up three 1-yard touchdowns. It was an unimpressive game plan by new offensive coordinator, John Morton, that lacked rhythm and showed no signs of any big-play elements. • The team lone offensive touchdown belonged to Josh McCown, who scored on a 1-yard QB sneak. • LeSean McCoy brutalized an uninspired Jet squad, outgaining the lowly Jet offense 94-86 in the first half.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills offense featured LeSean McCoy in both the running and passing game. He led the Bills with 27 touches, and capitalized on the strong performance of the Bills offensive line. Tyrod Taylor threw for two touchdown goal line touchdowns and should have had a third, but Charles Clay dropped a pass which was intercepted. Clay was the best pass catcher in the game and is the most capable playmaker outside of McCoy in the passing game.

New York Jets

QB Josh McCown, 58 offensive snaps, Pass: 26 - 39 - 187 - 0 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 2 - 0 - 1
For all intents and purposes, Josh McCown is purely a stop-gap until either young QB is ready to play. When given a clean pocket, McCown could find the open receiver against Buffalo’s zone coverage. Those clean pockets, however, were few and far between as McCown was under duress throughout the game. Of note, McCown locked onto the newly acquired, Jermaine Kearse, who grabbed a team-high seven catches on eight targets. The route concepts and combinations were basic as the Morton opted to call a lot of short-to-intermediate underneath routes. McCown scored the lone offensive touchdown, keeping the ball on 1-yard QB sneak. It’s going to be a long season in New York.

RB Bilal Powell, 30 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 22 - 0, Rec: 5 - 17 - 0 (6 targets)
Bilal Powell functioned as the clear back-up behind Matt Forte. In fact, Powell did not receive his first touch until four minutes before halftime. When his number was called, Powell showed decisiveness, finding the hole before putting his foot down and accelerating. As a receiver, Powell served a check down that was quickly met by Buffalo defenders. He had a scoring opportunity, but Powell was tackled on the 1-yard line after catching a quick dump off from McCown.

RB Matt Forte, 35 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 16 - 0, Rec: 3 - 20 - 0 (5 targets)
Alike the team’s third pre-season game, Matt Forte functioned as the team starter, but is not the team’s best running back. Back-field mate, Bilal Powell didn’t see his first touch until 4:00 minutes before halftime, leaving many to question the decision making on Morton. The Jets trailed for the entire game, reducing Forte’s role to check downs and occasional runs. Forte was able to pick-up what was blocked, but he doesn’t possess any big-play explosiveness anymore. Forte asked Morton for a larger role in the passing game, and he got it, but also dropped two easy passes that would resulted in first downs on catches and runs.

WR Jermaine Kearse, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 59 - 0 (9 targets)
Newly acquired Jermaine Kearse was the leading receiver for New York. Kearse operated out of the slot and split out wide, but primarily drew McCown’s eye when operating out of the slot. Kearse had a knack for finding the soft spot in Buffalo’s zone coverage, converting easy catches, but not offering much after the catch.

WR Robby Anderson, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 22 - 0 (8 targets)
Robby Anderson made a few nice catches over the middle, but Kearse seemed to be McCown’s preferred target. Towards the end of the game, Anderson ran a deep sideline route and made a leaping grab. Anderson and safety, Jordan Poyer battled for the ball, but Anderson came down with the ball. The official ruled Poyer made the interception, a curious call, given the outcome of the play.

WR ArDarius Stewart, 38 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 10 - 0 (5 targets)
The rookie wide receiver from Alabama made two acrobatic catches for short-gains and had a touchdown catch over-ruled by the replay booth. On the overturned play, Stewart made an acrobatic drive towards the pylon, but briefly stepped out of bounds. Stewart is an exciting player that will hopefully get more catches in upcoming weeks.

TE Will Tye, 37 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 34 - 0 (3 targets)
The ex-New York Giant joined the Jets after being cut. Tye offered McCown a strong, athletic presence that could get down the seam. In fact, Tye secured a 21-yard gain on catch-and-run in the second quarter. Tye played nearly all the snaps after today’s starting tight end, Eric Tomlinson, left with an injury.

TE Eric Tomlinson, 13 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 25 - 0 (2 targets)
With Austin Seferian-Jenkins serving a suspension, Eric Tomlinson started and made a few plays as a receiver. In the first quarter, Tomlinson secured a 25-yard gain on a deep crossing route.

Buffalo Bills

QB Tyrod Taylor, 77 offensive snaps, Pass: 16 - 28 - 224 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 8 - 38 - 0
Tyrod Taylor had two touchdowns in the game against the New York Jets, but the game could have been better. On the first drive of the game, Tyrod Taylor was intercepted in the end zone on a deflection by Jets' DB Justin Burris. The ball was thrown on target to Charles Clay and the ball went through Clay's hands where it deflected right to Burris. Taylor bounced back later in the game with a pair of touchdowns from the one-yard line. The first, was a quick out to Charles Clay in the slot. The second, was a play action misdirection play where Andre Holmes ran across the formation simulating he was sealing the backside end before slipping into the flat for a wide-open pass from Taylor. Taylor added eight rushes for 38 yards, and showed his mobility both as a runner and creating time as a passer.

RB LeSean McCoy, 54 offensive snaps, Rush: 22 - 110 - 0, Rec: 5 - 49 - 0 (6 targets)
LeSean McCoy was the focal point of the Buffalo Bills offense from the start. He had 27 touches, and produced big plays in both the running and passing game. Those included three carries over 20 yards and receptions of 18 and 21 yards. McCoy got some good blocking against the Jets' defensive line, and capitalized with runs into the second level, showing off his elusiveness. The key question for McCoy from the game is his goal line usage. On two red zone trips, the Bills threw for two one-yard touchdowns, and on a third, the Tyrod Taylor threw an interception on a pass intended for Charles Clay. McCoy appeared heading for a scoring opportunity in the fourth quarter when he carried the ball from the four-yard line down to the one-yard line on first and goal. However, McCoy ran off the field holding his hand and was replaced by Mike Tolbert, who scored a one-yard rushing touchdown on second down. While the box score may show what appears to show Tolbert vulture a touchdown from McCoy, it is notable that McCoy was running inside the five before his injury. McCoy returned to the game on the next series and showed no ill effects from the injury.

RB Mike Tolbert, 23 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 42 - 1, Rec: 1 - 12 - 0 (1 targets)
Mike Tolbert spelled McCoy at multiple times during the game and was the clear second running back. He is a north-south runner who is listed at 250 pounds, and he uses his frame when met with contact. Tolbert ran powerfully when the Bills were not trying to run him on outside zones. Tolbert is not a fast player, but was decisive and direct on interior runs, including a 16-yard gain on an inside zone run where he finished by running through first round pick Safety Jamal Adams. Tolbert replaced McCoy when he was injured in the fourth quarter at the goal line and scored a one-yard touchdown on a dive the next play.

WR Jordan Matthews, 67 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 61 - 0 (3 targets)
Matthews was limited to two catches on the game, but produced a highlight catch on a crossing route, where he broke the initial tackle then reeled off a long run after the catch for 47-yard gain to set up a Bills touchdown. He looked healthy and full speed on the run and catch after missing extensive time in training camp with a chipped bone in his chest. A positive game script limited the Bills to 28 passes in the games, but Matthews looked the best of the wide receivers in the game on his limited opportunities.

WR Andre Holmes, 39 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 1 - 1 (1 targets)
Andre Holmes was targeted early in the game and drew a pass interference penalty against Morris Claiborne on a go route. He also scored a touchdown on a play action pass on goal line where he ran across the formation for a one-yard touchdown. He has difficulty separating from coverage on the outside and was an ancillary piece to the offense.

WR Zay Jones, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 21 - 0 (4 targets)
Zay Jones was limited to one catch on the day. The catch was on a dig route across the middle and turned upfield for a positive run after catch, but was otherwise limited in a low volume day. Jones was used both on the perimeter and in the slot throughout the game.

TE Charles Clay, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 53 - 1 (9 targets)
Outside of LeSean McCoy, Charles Clay was clearly the best target in the offense. Clay got open in multiple areas including the middle and on the perimeter. Clay was targeted in the end zone on what should have been a touchdown but the ball deflected off his hands and was intercepted. Clay was covered on the play, but the ball should have been caught, and his mistake cost the Bills points. He redeemed himself later in the game on a quick out from the slot on the one-yard line for a touchdown and later had a 35-yard completion where he beat Jamal Adams. He led the team with nine targets, which should continue given Clay's playmaking ability which the rest of the receiving corps lacks.