NYJ-BUF grades: Ryan Fitzpatrick earns elite grade in Jets’ shootout win

Jets QB puts together an excellent performance, as passing game fuels road win over Buffalo. The Bills' offense struggles to sustain drives.

| 3 months ago
(Brett Carlsen, Getty Images)

(Brett Carlsen, Getty Images)

NYJ-BUF grades: Ryan Fitzpatrick earns elite grade in Jets’ shootout win


New York Jets 37, Buffalo Bills 31

Here are the biggest takeaways and top-graded players from the Jets’ 37-31 win over the Bills on Thursday night:

New York Jets

Quarterback grade: Ryan Fitzpatrick, 93.1

Fitzpatrick put together one of the best performances we’ve seen from him in his career. Even though his throw locations weren’t always perfect, he picked apart the Bills’ defense. At the halftime mark, he was accurate on 9-of-9 on passes targeted 10-plus yards downfield, including 4-of-4 on passes 20-plus yards downfield. Some passes fell incomplete in the second half, but he still connected on six deep passes for 178 yards, with one drop. When the Bills tried to dial up pressure with a blitz, Fitzpatrick responded by completing 8-of-9 passes, including the touchdown. Buffalo didn’t have an answer to slow him down, and it led to the second-highest grade for a QB through the first 17 games of the season.

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Top offensive grades:

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, 93.1

WR Eric Decker, 86.2

WR Quincy Enunwa, 81.1

RB Matt Forte, 74.4

WR Brandon Marshall, 72.7

New York’s wide receivers had plenty of success against what is normally a good Buffalo secondary. Marshall and Decker both topped 100 yards, and Marshall would have had a lot more than his 117 yards if not for a dropped deep ball against Bills CB Ronald Darby. After two productive weeks, Quincy Enunwa looks as if he’s becoming a legitimate receiving threat beyond the Jets’ top two receivers. He caught all six passes thrown his way, with five going for first downs, and he just missed the 100-yard mark with 92 receiving yards.

Top defensive grades:

CB Buster Skrine, 82.6

CB Marcus Williams, 81.5

DE Sheldon Richardson, 81.1

DE Muhammad Wilkerson, 79.9

DT Jarvis Jenkins, 70.5

Revis gets the negative headlines, but Jets’ D-line doesn’t dominate as expected

Yes, Darrelle Revis got burnt. Yes, he allowed 91 yards and had three missed tackles. But there were more issues than just him on the Jets’ defense Thursday night. The star trio of Muhammad Wilkerson, Leonard Williams and Sheldon Richardson combined for only nine pressures that were the result of beating a block against an offensive line missing a very good starting left tackle in Cordy Glenn. All signs heading into the matchup pointed towards the Jets’ defensive line dominating, and that wasn’t close to the case. That combined with Revis’ struggles for a second straight game is cause for concern.

Buffalo Bills

Quarterback grade: Tyrod Taylor, 69.1

Outside of his one gorgeous touchdown throw to Marquise Goodwin in the first quarter, Taylor was uncharacteristically shaky with his accuracy the rest of the game. No play highlights that better than his interception on a play that saw wide receiver Sammy Watkins get multiple steps ahead of Jets cornerback Marcus Williams, only for a drastic underthrow to bring Williams back into position to make the pick.

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Top offensive grades:

WR Marquise Goodwin, 76.0

RT Jordan Mills, 75.2

LG Richie Incognito, 74.5

C Eric Wood, 71.5

RB LeSean McCoy, 71.0

Big plays overshadow offensive inconsistencies

The Bills offense had multiple 70-plus-yard touchdowns on the day, but on most of the drives in between it seemed as though every first down was a struggle. If one is looking to point the finger, there was plenty of blame to go around. Robert Woods ran 31 pass routes without catching a ball before finally hauling in the hook-and-lateral on the last play of the game. Tight end Charles Clay hauled in five passes, but he had a drop and a crucial slip on a third down in the middle of the third quarter that cost the Bills a conversion.

Top defensive grades:

ILB Zach Brown, 95.2

ILB Preston Brown, 92.6

OLB Jerry Hughes, 86.6

CB Nickell Robey-Coleman, 84.2

S Corey Graham, 82.1

Nightmare in secondary does defense in

While a few players in the secondary had days to forget, the defensive front seven performed very well and was particularly stout against the run. Inside linebackers Zack Brown and Preston Brown had their way with the Jets’ interior offensive line, and combined for 13 defensive stops, including 10 in run defense. While Jets RB Matt Forte did reach 100 yards rushing, it took him 30 carries and 78 yards after contact to do so. The Bills’ pass rush was able to get pressure on Fitzpatrick, but were only able to turn one into a sack that counted. Jerry Hughes’ only sack was nullified by a holding penalty in the secondary, but he managed a game-high six additional hurries over the rest of the game. Although CB Ronald Darby did play better down the stretch to break up three passes, he allowed six catches for 97 yards, and fellow cornerback Stephon Gilmore topped him with 129 yards allowed on seven receptions. It was an uncharacteristically tough day for one of the better young corner tandems in the NFL.

Get access to grades for every player, complete with positional rankings, in our Player Grades tool.

| Senior Analyst

Mike is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has also been featured on The Washington Post, ESPN Insider, and 120 Sports.

  • BH

    Sam’s Buffalo SB pick looks even worse now

    • crosseyedlemon

      In the past 25 years only 3 teams have won a championship after an 0-2 start. The Jets are the one team you don’t want to lose to during the regular season. On ten occasions a team has reached the SB having lost to the Jets in the regular season but only one of those teams (2001 Patriots) exited as champions.

      • Eric

        “This is not your father’s NY Jets team”

        If any of the playoff caliber teams the Jets are scheduled to play over the next four weeks loses to them, will that truly mean ‘no chance at the big dance’?

        I don’t think so. A better comparison might be to those beefier Jets’ “Sack Exchange” defenses of the 1980s.

        • crosseyedlemon

          I’m just sharing what I thought was some interesting trivia related to the Jets and teams that reach the SB. If you want to dismiss it as being irrelevant, that’s fine with me.

  • Johnny

    This is why football is great, any result is possible. A would have expected a shootout between these teams? I faded T-Mobile in this game and payed for it. I hope it doesn’t cost me a win.

    • Jacob M. Lundeen

      I started Sammy Watkins against my better judgement. Thankfully Forte picked up the slack and then some.

      • Johnny

        Someone outright dropped Sammy in my LG. Can’t claim him till next week. I get he’s hurt but…..

        • Jacob M. Lundeen

          That is stupid, I’m not dropping the guy unless he goes on IR, but I should have benched him.

  • Jacob M. Lundeen

    What I would like to know is how did Fitz’s fumbles reflect in his grade? Was he just so good otherwise that the negative grades of fumbling became minute?

    • mormonrock124

      Since they didn’t mention it in the write up its probably fair to assume they simply ignored it.

      • Jacob M. Lundeen

        I highly doubt they simply ignored those plays, fumbles are a big deal. My assumption is that the negative grades from those fumbles simply were minuscule in the grand scheme of how well Fitz played.

        • mormonrock124

          I would tend to agree however the grading here is quite subjective. not mentioning the fumbles would show there wasn’t a complete analysis.

          • Jacob M. Lundeen

            I know several people (including my wife) who have, or currently do, broken down film for PFF. Their grading is as objective as can be, and is reviewed by a national coaching association to boot. I guarantee they didn’t just ignore the fumbles.

          • mormonrock124

            You can guarantee it all day plenty of people watched the game and Fitzpatrick played well but not in the first qtr and he was lucky those fumbles were bad and could’ve cost his team more. An objective analysis would mention the fumbles and at the very least provide context to how his grade was a result of overcoming those mistakes.

            Other grades will be much harsher on the fumbles.

          • Jacob M. Lundeen

            I watched the game as well, and you are correct in that Fitz didn’t play well in the first quarter, but over the rest of the game he played very well, outside of the fumbles. And just because they didn’t mention the fumbles in their write up doesn’t mean they just ignored them in their grading, they most likely didn’t mention them because in the grand scheme of the game they didn’t matter since the Jets recovered both of them.

          • mormonrock124

            And that would make their analysis subjective. They were lucky to recover those fumbles and Fitz lack of ball security ultimately was a risk. Typically that is graded harshly, other QB grades and write ups reflect as much.

          • Eric

            Perhaps it actually does (reflect the evaluation of those fumbles), in fact. Perhaps, absent those fumbles, his QBR would be 110. Notice, that even with the poor pass for an interception by M.Williams and other accuracy issues during the game, T.Taylor’s PFF QB rating was just 4 points below that assigned to R.Fitzpatrick.

            For whatever reason you’re borderline ‘salty’ on this point, it seems a bit excessive. If it’s a hate-on-the-Jets type of thing, why not just come out and say so?

    • McGeorge

      Wasn’t the reason for those fumbles the good play by the Bills DL?
      At least on one of them.

  • dlund6cutler

    Fitzmagic looked like a stud!

    • crosseyedlemon

      Never under estimate the Irish.