Facing one of the most bumbling offenses in the league — and a quarterback making his first NFL start in two years — should have made for a bountiful day for the Jets’ defensive unit.
But Gang Green was manhandled at the line of scrimmage and torched for 212 rushing yards, plus 232 more through the air and two touchdown passes by Matt Barkley, in a 41-10 loss to the Bills on Sunday.
“I’m very shocked. It’s pretty mind-blowing for us, for our defense, to give up that many points,’’ linebacker Avery Williamson said. “I feel bad. I feel like I’m one of the leaders on the defense, and me being a part of it, it’s definitely embarrassing. It hurts your pride when you give up that many points to a team. They came out swinging, had a deep ball. It’s definitely painful. Hard one to swallow.”
Indeed, the Bills jumped the Jets from their first play from scrimmage, a 47-yard pass down the right sideline from Barkley to Robert Foster over cornerback Trumaine Johnson.
On the next play, LeSean McCoy busted through the Jets’ defensive front for a 28-yard touchdown run and a 7-0 lead 49 seconds into the game.
“I thought the game started off bad and we never recovered,” Jets coach Todd Bowles said.
McCoy, who had totaled only 24 yards on as many carries the previous three weeks, had a season-best 113 rushing yards. He ran for 96 yards as the Bills took a 31-3 halftime lead.
“The defense was giving up way too much [on the ground]. They scored 30 points before the half,” defensive lineman Leonard Williams said. “I mean, they scored off of two plays on the first drive and the defense tried to stay together and say, ‘Next drive, we’re going to get them.’ But once they started jumping on us, they didn’t let up. It was just the run, we couldn’t stop the run. I put it fully on us.”
The lowlight of the first half for the Jets was Barkley’s tackle-eligible pass to 320-pound offensive lineman Dion Dawkins for a 7-yard touchdown early in the second quarter.
With first-round pick Josh Allen (elbow) and Derek Anderson (concussion) sidelined, Barkley was signed two weeks ago and started in place of ineffective Nathan Peterman. The Bills erupted for five touchdowns after managing only eight in their first nine games.
“I don’t know what happened. For me to sit here and make up something or give you guys some . . . excuse, it would be a slap in the face to you, a slap in the face to everybody who came out to watch us and a slap in the face to this team,” linebacker Brandon Copeland said. “Obviously, something happened. Obviously, we didn’t do something right in all phases . . . I would have never guessed this.”