The Jets’ offense is not just in a bad way, it’s in a historically bad way.
They have scored just three offensive touchdowns in the last five games and no more than one in any of them. It’s the longest stretch in franchise history that the Jets have scored less than two touchdowns — a streak they hope to end against the Bills.
“It's a big concern when you're not scoring a lot of points,” Todd Bowles said. “We're grinding at it, we're working at, it's not one area, it's not one guy, it's not one thing. We got to get the ball in the end zone in order for us to win ball games.”
The last time the Jets scored two offensive touchdowns in a game was Oct. 21 in a loss to the Vikings when this six-game losing streak started.
They’ve put up more than 20 points just once during this losing streak. They scored 22 against the Titans last week. None came from the offense. The Jets got a pick-6 from Trumaine Johnson and an extra point and five Jason Myers field goals.
Only the Bills score fewer offensive touchdowns per game (1.4) than the Jets (1.6). But no team is worse in the red zone than the Jets. They’ve scored on 36.7 percent of their red zone opportunities, and were 0-for-3 last week.
This is not something offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates wants on his resume.
Sam Darnold and Josh McCown have combined for 12 TD passes and 18 interceptions. The Jets receivers haven’t had as much of an impact as expected, certainly not the tight ends, and the running game had been mostly quiet before last week.
The skill players are definitely frustrated, and trying not to point fingers.
“It’s a lack of execution,” said receiver Quincy Enunwa, whose 35 receptions lead the Jets but is the 82nd most in the NFL. “There’s different factors that go into a lot of things. It’s hard to really just pinpoint one thing. But I know at least from a player’s perspective we got to make sure that we’re executing.
“We got to do a better job of executing the plays. That’s the only way we can really get in the end zone.”
Cleaning up penalties
Bowles said he put a major emphasis — again — this week on trying to limit penalties. The Jets committed 11 last week, including three on the Titans’ drive that produced a game-winning TD with 36 seconds left.
“We worked like heck on them, individually and as a group,” Bowles said. “We keep it down during the week. Guys just got to concentrate at key times in the game.”
The Jets aren’t among the league-leaders in penalties, but they often happen at the worst times like in Tennessee.
“They’ve popped up at key situations,” Bowles said. “You know you can’t have them period, nevertheless at key times of the game because those are the times you’ll remember.”
Special teams coordinator Brant Boyer is hoping for another big game from his unit, which has been the Jets best and most consistent group.
Myers accounted for 16 points against Tennessee and returner Andre Roberts almost broke one for a touchdown. The Jets also blocked a punt and an extra point, but the offense and defense struggled.
“I was pretty happy,” Boyer said. “Everyone is tired of losing in this damn building and you want to do as much as you can to put some points on the board whether that's a kick return for a score or a punt return for a score or something. It just gets frustrating as hell when you can't do that sometimes.”
Myers ranks fifth in the NFL in points with 105. Roberts is first in total kick return yards and second in total punt return yards. Boyer thinks both men should make the Pro Bowl.
Bowles said he’s not ready “at this time” to just play some younger guys who haven’t gotten much of an opportunity. But the Bills are all-in on evaluating their young players.
The Bills waived veteran receivers Kelvin Benjamin and Andre Holmes this week. Now second-year wideout Zay Jones and rookie Robert Foster should be the primary targets for rookie QB Josh Allen.
Buffalo could start five players on offense and four on defense with fewer than two years experience.
“Right now, we’re focused on trying to grow this young football team,” coach Sean McDermott said. “We got a lot of first and second year guys, a ton of them playing, so really first and foremost we got to make sure we continue to improve ourselves.”
0-6: The Jets have lost six straight AFC East road games. Their last divisional road win was Sept. 15, 2016 at Buffalo.
Trumaine Johnson: The high-priced cornerback hasn’t lived up to his $72 million contract, and he was one of the most visibly upset Jets inside the locker room after last week’s loss. His 15-yard facemask penalty on the final drive was a killer. The Bills went right at him in last month’s game — Johnson’s first back from a quad injury. Like many Jets he has redemption on his mind.