Ironically, the injury opened the door for rookie linebacker, David Harris, to shine.
Filling in for Vilma, the Jets second round pick dominated. Harris accounted for 17 total tackles, including 10 solo and a sack. A stellar job by the rookie, and one that went a long way toward proving that the organization made the right move in selecting him.
"Filling in for a guy like that is tough," Harris said of replacing Vilma at inside linebacker. "He is our captain on defense. He has been on this defense for the last four years. He has done a great job at it. He is very vocal. He is the heart and soul of this defense. I just try to be ready when my number is called."
Harris did a more than adequate job in fill-in duty. He provided a much needed spark to a defense that has struggled throughout the season.
The Jets defensive inefficiencies have been well documented.
Heading into yesterdays contest, the team was yielding just shy of 374 yards per game. Good enough for 29th in the league. Led by Harris, the Jets defense allowed just ten points on Sunday afternoon, well below their season average of 25.6.
Aside from Lee Evans 85-yard touchdown reception, the defense played well enough to win. Knotted at 3, the Jets had the Bills offense pinned inside their own five-yard line. Yet, J.P. Losman was able to connect with a double-covered Evans for the go-ahead score. A touchdown that proved fatal, as the Jets offense failed to find a rhythm all afternoon.
"Offensively, we couldn't sustain drives on third down," Eric Mangini said afterwards. "We did not do a good job there. (Aaron) Schobel had two forced fumbles. We were 0-for-2 in the red area. Those are usually areas of great strength - red area and third down - for us."
The Jets host the Redskins next weekend in their last game before the bye week. Consistency remains the overwhelming theme in the locker room as, thus far, the team has had the opportunity to win just about every game they have played.
With just one win at the midway point of the season, the Jets are an organization searching for answers. If nothing else, they seemed to have found one yesterday in David Harris.