Any qualms regarding the New York Jets offense was put to rest Sunday afternoon as the green and white steamrolled their way to a 48-28 rout of the Buffalo Bills. After a disappointing preseason that only saw them reach the end zone once, the Jets offense was firing on all cylinders and scored the most points in a season opener in franchise history.
After adding Tim Tebow to the depth chart in the offseason, many speculated whether the two quarterback system would hinder the development of Mark Sanchez. The former USC Trojan responded to his critics with one of his career-best performances. His only blemish on the day was an early first quarter interception which Sanchez responded to by scoring on five consecutive drives. Altogether, the California native finished the day 19 of 27 for 266 yards and three touchdowns.
While the offensive success was certainly surprising, the real surprise of the day was the play of the Jets young receivers. Rookie Stephen Hill needed only one game to make an impact on the roster. He got the call as the first Jets player to receive a pass this season — a 7-yard completion. Later in the second quarter, he made a double move to get separation for a 33-yard touchdown catch. He added to his first score with another, making a diving play into the end zone to put the game out of reach for Buffalo. He finished the day as the Jets receiving leader with five receptions totaling 89 yards. Hill contributes his success to the game plan he set of catching every ball.
"That was it, basically," Hill said. "Catch everything and have fun."
Kerley running up the sidelines for a touchdown
Hill wasn't the only receiver with a big day. Sophomore wide out Jeremy Kerley also had the biggest game of his career. Kerley amassed 45 yards on four receptions and scored the Jets opening touchdown. In the second quarter, Kerley returned a punt 64 yards for a score, becoming the first Jets player to run back a punt since 2002 and the first player in franchise history to record a punt return and reception TD in the same game.
"When all 11 are on the same page, we're explosive," Kerley said. "We knew what we could do. We just showed the world today."
The Jets will play their next game at Heinz Field against a Pittsburgh Steelers team looking to rebound from a tough loss in Denver. Sanchez knows that to be successful, the team must continue to improve and not rest on its laurels.
"There's a fine line between really celebrating a win and enjoying it," Sanchez said. "There's a difference between that and, ‘Hey we told you so,' and, ‘Yeah, we're the best,' and this and that. That's not our deal. That's not what we want here. It was a great win. There's no doubt about it, but we got a lot of work to do."