By Steve Silverman
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It is getting late early around here.
That Yogi-ism applies to the Jets, who still have to play two more games before they reach the midpoint of what has been a painful season.
The Jets have dropped four games in a row, and three have been ugly. The losing streak comes on the heels of what appeared to be a significant victory over their longtime rivals, the Buffalo Bills.
The Jets’ offense was functioning at peak efficiency that Thursday night in Week 2, as New York scored a 37-31 victory up in Orchard Park, New York.
The Jets had suffered a narrow defeat to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1, and they appeared to right the ship with the win over the Bills. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 374 yards and did not throw an interception, Matt Forte ran for 100 yards and pounded the ball into the end zone three times and Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall etched topped 100 yards receiving.
It was just one win, but it looked like the Jets were on their way to a strong season. It made many wonder if the Jets would actually contend for a playoff spot and push the New England Patriots for the AFC East title.
The answer, of course, has been a resounding no. The Jets were horrible the following week, losing in Kansas City thanks in large part to Ryan Fitzpatrick’s six interceptions.
The Jets still haven’t recovered. Usually, when a good team plays an awful game in the NFL, it finds a way to rebound. The Jets played more credibly the following week in their Week 4 loss to Seattle, but the 27-17 defeat did not qualify as a good game.
The subsequent losses to Pittsburgh and Arizona were just plain awful.
The optimist might point to last year’s Chiefs, who also started 1-5 before reeling off 10 straight wins.
But with Decker (hip and shoulder) now out for the season and a quarterback situation that is nothing short of a disaster, it’s a fairly safe bet that the will not be able to replicate what the Chiefs did.
However, they would appear to have a decent chance to beat Baltimore this Sunday. After all, the Giants beat the Ravens last Sunday.
Then again, Geno Smith will be the Jets’ starting quarterback, so never mind.
While the Jets have fallen down and don’t look like they’re going to get up, the Bills have turned around their season with four straight wins since that Week 2 defeat.
The same week the Jets suffered through interception-gate against the Chiefs, the Bills hammered the Cardinals, 33-18. Then came the game that left Rex Ryan with a huge smile.
The Bills owned the Patriots in New England, 16-0, and it did not matter that Tom Brady was suspended. Ryan had beaten the genius that is Bill Belichick, and was a happy man as a result.
Since then, the Bills have beaten the Rams and 49ers.
Ryan loves to deflect the attention with one phrase and then shine the spotlight on himself with the next. He was asked what the four-game winning streak has done to validate him as a head coach. He took the opportunity to play both sides of the street.
“Nothing, man,” Ryan said. “We just won four games. We gave up over 20 points against the Jets. I think that’s the only team that’s scored over 20 all year.”
Obviously, Jets fans know the humble routine that Ryan likes to play at times, but they also know that his personality and coaching style will lead to problems later on.
However, he has a spectacular running back in LeSean McCoy who is playing like a first-team All-Pro candidate. McCoy is attacking the hole every time he gets the ball, and he is taking pressure off of quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
That’s a good thing since Taylor does not have his best receiving weapon in Sammy Watkins (foot-injured reserve). Robert Woods (foot) has stepped up in his absence, but he is not 100 percent.
The offense has been productive, but the defense has been even better. Statistically, the Bills are a middle of the road type of team as they rank 12th in yards allowed. However, they have made big plays. They have six interceptions, among them a pick-6, and have also recovered 11 opponents’ fumbles, returning two of them for scores.
They also have a 20-13 advantage in sacks, thanks largely to the play of outside linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, who has eight, to go along with three forced fumbles.
The Bills are playing ferocious defense, and that’s the formula employed by the large majority of winning teams.
Will it continue? The next four weeks should provide an answer as the Bills go to Miami prior to hosting the revenge-minded Patriots (with Brady) and then go on the road for games at Seattle and Cincinnati.
If the Bills can somehow keep their winning ways going, we will all be subject to the crowing Ryan sideshow, when he turns the self-effacing brag into an art form.
That’s something that Jets fans remember, and wish they could bring back right now.
Follow Steve on Twitter at @ProFootballBoy