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Jets' grades: Offense struggles in season finale

Sam Darnold of the Jets stands with the

Sam Darnold of the Jets stands with the ball between Kurt Coleman and Corey Thompson of the Bills after forward progress during the second quarter at New Era Field on Sunday in Orchard Park, N.Y. Credit: Getty Images/Brett Carlsen


It was a fitting end for Adam Gase’s offense, which struggled to score points for most of the season. The weather surely played a part in both teams being sloppy. The Jets got in the red zone three times on Sunday and punched it in just once. It should have been twice but Sam Darnold and Daniel Brown couldn’t hook up on what should have been a surefire touchdown. Brown slid to catch the low-thrown ball, but he couldn’t come up with it. The Jets had 271 yards of total offense. The Bills, who played few of their starters, totaled 38 more yards of offense.



They weren’t facing the Bills’ starters. Quarterback Josh Allen only played one series. But Gregg Williams’ defense came to play, as it has all season. They kept Buffalo’s second- and third-team players out of the end zone. Buffalo points came on two Stephen Hauschka field goals. The Jets had one strip sack, a fumble recovery and two interceptions. They almost had another strip-sack recovery when Tarell Bashum got to Matt Barkley. But the officials reviewed it and said it was an incomplete pass. The defense consistently was the Jets’ strength all season and again in Week 17.



Kicker Sam Ficken had an up-and-down day, but he made a big kick at the end when the Jets really needed it. Ficken missed a 51-yard field goal on the opening drive of the game. (It wasn’t a good decision to have him kick from that distance in this weather). He also missed a 34-yard try just before the half. Ficken was kicking himself for that. Overall, he was 2-for-4. Ficken drilled a 47-yard field goal with 2:05 left to put the Jets up 10.



The game didn’t start well for Gase with questionable play-calling costing them points. On the opening series, and with Darnold moving the ball well, Gase chose to run Wildcat on third-and-2 from the Bills 33. The Bills weren’t fooled. Bell ran for 1-yard. Then Gase chose to kick a 51-yard field goal on 4th-and-1 instead of going it for it. They’re not playing for anything so Gase could have been more aggressive. Ficken missed wide left. The defense saved the offense for the second straight week. But overall Gase deserves credit for keeping the team together and fighting to the end after their 1-7 start.


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