The pre-game at Ralph Wilson Stadium featured Bills Alumni, Drew Bledsoe and Blue Coats. The post game discussions should focus on current Jet persistence, Chad Morton and Jet white road jerseys.
It was not that long ago that we traveled to San Francisco to witness an opening day that featured an exciting finish when Garrison Hearst rambled along the sidelines for a 90+ yard run on the first play of overtime to topple the Jets. However, the Jets have changed and now know how to win, even if it's an ugly win.
As usual, the trip to Buffalo was well worth it. It started with dinner at the famous Anchor Bar. Jet fans packed the cozy bar in downtown Buffalo and chanted J-E-T-S as they downed beer and feasted on the classic buffalo chicken wings. A side trip to Niagara Falls is an opportunity for a few hours to marvel at one of the true wonders of the world. It is absolutely magnificent. A natural and powerful wonder that always leaves you in awe, regardless of any surrounding circumstances, including the Jets. Football is exciting, breathtaking and keeps the heart pumping, but it is a game that ends after sixty minutes for most of us, while the Falls just continue to radiate energy.
Temperature hovered near the high eighties at game time. Rumor had it that the temperature was the highest ever at a Bills game. We are proud to say that we now have attended, and the Jets have participated in, both the hottest and the coldest games ever played in Buffalo. Neither the Jets nor the Bills were consistent throughout the afternoon. Both teams were plagued by untimely and costly penalties, poor play by special teams or just a lack of putting their opponent away when they had a clear opportunity.
--There was Bledsoe's touchdown on 4th and 9
--There was Chad Morton and there was more Chad Morton
--There was a great performance by Travis Henry, 3 touchdowns in one afternoon
--There was Vinny doing his job and an offense that never gave up on itself
Let's step back for a moment and figure why Sunday unfolded the way it did. It starts with the pre-season and preparation. Does anyone care about pre-season? It is the most useless part of any sport. It appears that players and coaches go out of their way to insure that nothing is shown and nothing happens. We were at the final pre-season game and could not believe that anyone was serious about Herm's comments that they accomplished their objectives of winning and winning at home and now we have momentum going into the season. Again, what garbage!
Sunday's overtime debacle in Buffalo should teach this franchise a lesson. The COACH (And we all know who we mean since we Jersey guys stick together) always prepared the guys by working them hard in camp with tough two-a-days so that they were physically prepared for the opening of the season. He motivated by fear; fear of losing your job no matter who you are. The Jets need a good kick in the pants after that awful performance against a vastly inferior foe. Fear might not have had Damien Robinson playing so recklessly and making an inexcusable special teams mistake. Really, even though he's Herm's pet, what has this guy done for us? Come on Herm, stop protecting him. He clearly went for the block and made a dumb mistake. No interceptions or batted balls since he's been here!! Supposedly yesterday he made a few tackles. It must be bad statistics. How and when did he get on special teams? He is useless there too. He had to let the punter kick!! There was no reason to go after the ball there.
Thank God and the New Orleans Saints for Chad Morton. Now we know why Santana is not running back kicks. Chad must have been more hurt last year than we knew, since this guy is a weapon like Leon Johnson was for us for a time. But our biggest concern has to be the offensive line. This group cannot open a hole with a bulldozer. Again for us, "third and short" may as well be "third and thirty". Our poor backs cannot get a yard if their job depended on it and our line is constantly being pushed way back on their heals. And, by the way fans, this is one problem that is not going to be corrected. J. P. Machado missed more blocks yesterday than our kids did in day care. We were and will be overpowered throughout the season. Kerry, where are you??? Happily still with the great John Muir I trust.
Oh, those penalties. They too are not going to be corrected!! That is a direct function of coaching and discipline. Their heads are not in the game and they are not properly prepared. We can excuse Nick Ferguson's aggressiveness in the first series, but Kareem McKenzie not on the line of scrimmage, Fabini moving and those personal fouls on hitting Bledsoe. Didn't these guys get anything out of camp or the pre-season? That's a rhetorical question obviously because it was answered above by the lack of discipline and conditioning by our coaching staff. We should be ashamed and embarrassed, but thankful, that Christmas this year fell on Rosh Hashanah.
Oh! By the way, did anyone see John Abraham? Did he even dress? He was and obviously still is the heart and soul of our defense. It takes time and conditioning to get back from a devastating injury like he had, but clearly, after yesterday our entire season rests on his aching knee.
If there is some truth to the saying that there is an ugly win, we think this Jet victory may qualify. However there were some bright or not so ugly sights on this hot afternoon in Orchard Park. Vinny connecting to Anthony Becht for a two-point conversion, which was key to the regulation time final score of 31-31. Wayne Chrebet in his typical and consistent fashion catching a clutch touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter to put the Jets ahead. Vinny's scramble in the final seconds was fun to watch, as were the famous Buffalo cheerleaders, the Jills. Winning on the road in front of 75,721 crazy, screaming and diehard hungry Bills fans was a tough task, but the Jets, whether ugly or not, were able to rise to the occasion and leave western New York with a
1-0 record and a 37-31 victory.
It's fun to watch the Jets on the road. When the outcome is a victory, as it was today, unlike in San Francisco, the flight back to New York has almost a sophomoric attitude and kick.
As Jet Blue flight #8 was cruising back to New York at 25,000 feet above sea level, a
J-E-T-S, JETS, JETS, JETS!! cheer erupted in the cabin. Many of the passengers on this flight had obviously attended the game and were watching ESPN on their personal TV where Mr. Berman had just reviewed the Jets/Bills game.
What a game. Ugly or not, Jet Blue or Jet Green… Bring on the Patriots.