New York Jets’ loss to Buffalo Bills brings new marks of defensive futility

November 15, 2021

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – The New York Jets played another horrible defensive game Sunday in their 45-17 loss to the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium, creating new marks of futility and turbulent emotions in the locker room.

“Every guy should be ashamed,” defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins said. “Every man should be angry.”

The Jets (2-7), young and rebuilding on both sides of the ball, had expected growing pains in 2021. But their defense has performed at a historically poor level. To consider:

  • The Jets have allowed 175 points in their last four games, the second-most allowed in a four-game span by any team since the 1970 AFL / NFL merger.

  • They are the first team to allow at least 45 points three times in a four-game span since the 1966 New York Giants.

  • They have given up 1,890 total yards during the abysmal streak, the worst four-game period in franchise history.

Coach Robert Saleh, who built his reputation in the league on defense, seemed at a loss to explain the latest embarrassment.

“Our system is proud to be able to improve as the year progresses,” Saleh said. “Clearly, it is not happening.”

In the past four games, the Jets have allowed 54, 31, 45 and 45 points. They beat the Cincinnati Bengals 34-31 behind quarterback Mike White, who threw four interceptions Sunday in what may have been his last start. Zach Wilson (knee) could be ready to return to the lineup.

The Jets were vulnerable in the secondary without safety Marcus Maye, who suffered a season-ending Achilles injury last week. He was replaced by Jarrod Wilson, who has bounced between the practice squad and the 53-man roster.

They were no match for quarterback Josh Allen, who completed 21 of 28 passes for 366 yards and two touchdowns. The Jets had no answer for Stefon Diggs, who caught eight passes for 162 yards and a touchdown. Diggs burned rookie cornerback Brandin Echols and second-year cornerback Javelin Guidry, who replaced Echols (thigh injury).

Surprisingly, the Jets used to leave their corners in man-to-man coverage, with a one-stop safety. Saleh said they have coverages designed for Diggs, but “you’re going to get caught up in certain one-on-one situations.”

Second-year safety Ashtyn Davis, often the safety, took some of the blame.

“We have three seconds of discipline and I don’t think we did it today,” he said. “It starts with me.”

Aside from Maye and defensive end Carl Lawson, who had a season-ending Achilles injury in the preseason, the Jets are playing their primary starters. But no position group has played well, not even the four forwards, who have cooled off after a seven-sack game in a Week 4 loss to the Tennessee Titans.

“Our job is to go out and stop people and we haven’t done it at a steady pace in the last few outings,” Rankins said. “For us, yes, we are embarrassed because it is not our standard.”

Defensive tackle Folorunso Fatukasi delivered a fiery speech in the locker room after the game, the players said. He implored his teammates to “look inward,” saying players will be replaced if they don’t perform, according to Rankins. Saleh echoed that message in his postgame speech to the team, Rankins said.

“It just hasn’t been good enough since that Tennessee game,” Saleh said. “We played against Atlanta well, but since that bye week we have not been as good as we wanted. We have eight games left and from the coaches to the players, we have to find a way to improve every day. Day. Otherwise, it will sell out. short “.

Linebacker CJ Mosley, a captain, said Sunday was a pivotal moment for the Jets, a “character-building moment … We’re going to really see what our base looks like, and whether or not it’s going to break.”

Rankins said he is confident the team will respond positively and called Sunday a bottom line.

“It can only go up from here,” he said. “We have generally played as badly as we could play at times, so he can only go up from here.”