NYJ-BUF grades: Sammy Watkins lifts Bills' offense over Jets
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Buffalo Bills’ 22-17 win over the New York Jets.
– The Bills’ offense didn’t have a great day against a very good Jets’ defense, but they did do enough to get the job done. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins (+2.9) was the primary reason for that, pulling in 11 catches for 136 yards on the day. The Jets appeared to try to avoid letting him make any huge plays downfield, which led to him getting open underneath a lot, allowing the Bills to take the easy yards.
– It was a tough day running the ball for Buffalo, with quarterback Tyrod Taylor (+1.0) their leading rusher in the game. He picked up more than half of his 48 rushing yards on quarterback scrambles, including the first-quarter touchdown. Mike Gillislee (-3.2) could only manage 28 yards from 24 carries, and also fumbled the ball.
– Cornerback Mario Butler had an up and down day in coverage, giving up four receptions for 49 yards. That included a touchdown to Jets WR Brandon Marshall, whose footwork deceived him on the post for the score. He bounced back though, and had a pass breakup , before knocking the ball away from wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins (-1.1) on one of the biggest plays of the game on the Jets’ final drive.
WR Sammy Watkins (+2.9)
DT Marcell Dareus (+2.2)
LB A.J. Tarpley (+1.7)
DE Jerry Hughes (+1.6)
LB Preston Brown (+0.9)
New York Jets
– Much was made of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (-4.3) and his chance to finally reach the playoffs, but his play on the field was a disappointment. He was very lucky not to throw two interceptions returned for touchdowns, including one early in the first quarter where he threw the ball straight at defensive end Jerry Hughes on a screen pass. He did bounce back with some solid throws in the second half, but wasn’t able to turn it around for the Jets.
– The Jets’ defensive line made a statement in this game, and nose tackle Damon Harrison (+6.8) was the primary standout. A monster against the run, all seven of his tackles resulted in a defensive stop. For the 2015 season, he finished with a cumulative grade of +37.0 against the run, and totaled 51 defensive stops, maintaining his spot as one of the best run defenders in football.
– While Fitzpatrick struggled, wide receiver Brandon Marshall (+1.8) impressed once again en route to finishing the 2015 season with 109 receptions for 1,502 yards. His touchdown on the post against Mario Butler was good, but he also adjusted well to an underthrown pass by Fitzpatrick for a big gain against cornerback Leodis McKelvin.
NT Damon Harrison (+6.8)
DE Sheldon Richardson (+3.7)
LB Erin Henderson (+3.0)
LB David Harris (+3.0)
DE Muhammad Wilkerson (+2.8)