It wasn’t pretty. It really wasn’t. But the New York Jets won on Sunday, beating the Buffalo Bills 13-6.
The win sees the Jets close out the season with a win over their AFC East rival, who are heading to the playoffs. Now 7-9, the Jets ended a difficult season the right way.
‘Three Things Learned From the Jets in Week 17’:
The Jets Identity Is Their Defense: While the maturation of quarterback Sam Darnold will determine how far this team goes moving forward, don’t get it twisted as the Jets are a defense-first team.
The defense was tremendous last week in a 16-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers and the season finale was no different. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has turned lemons into lemonade this year, taking an injury-ravaged unit and making them into one of the better defenses in the league.
Like the Jets during their first two years under head coach Rex Ryan, the identity of this team must be their defense. The offense will come along with the right investment and patience, but this defense is going to be the backbone of this team moving forward, especially if Williams sticks around.
The Jets Got Breaks: During the close out to the season, the Jets absolutely got some breaks and lucky bounces. This included Sunday where the Bills sat many of their starters after the first quarter of play, choosing to give a brief run to the first-team before resting their stars ahead of next weekend’s Wild Card game.
But while the Jets faced a weak-end of the schedule during the second half of the season, they only had one bad loss in going 6-2 during that stretch. They had a signature win last week in essentially knocking the Pittsburgh Steelers out of the playoffs and, despite it being a half-strength Bills team, beat a playoff-bound opponent to close out their season.
Three times in the season’s final eight games, the Jets played a team with a winning record and beat them. That says a bit something about where this team is currently trending.
This gives the Jets something heading into 2020. Adam Gase, whether he was the right hire or not remains to be seen, will be the head coach moving forward so there is at least offseason continuity. Now, with a two-game winning streak and a decent record, the Jets have something to sell this offseason to free agents.
The Offense Needs Work: So, while the Jets did what they were supposed to do and beat the Bills backups, this isn’t necessarily a complete feel-good or a warm-and-fuzzy result.
The Jets were sloppy on offense, being outgained by the Bills and averaging just 3.2 yards per carry. It wasn’t a woeful afternoon in a wet and dreary Buffalo but it wasn’t an inspiring showing either.
All of which points to the Jets needing to make a substantial investment in their offense this offseason. The defense is good and outside of adding at least one starting cornerback in free agency and an edge rusher, too much tinkering shouldn’t be needed. But the offense needs to see the line shored up as well as at least one downfield target to help Darnold be able to open things up.