EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — In perhaps a last-ditch effort to save his job, New York Jets coach Adam Gase relinquished the offensive playcalling Sunday — but the result was yet another dreary performance in an 18-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills.
With offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains calling plays, the Jets showed an early spark and took a 10-0 lead, but quarterback Sam Darnold cooled off and the offense shut down in the second half as the Jets remained the NFL’s only winless team at 0-7.
Darnold was sacked six times and threw two interceptions.
This was a significant move by Gase, who has been under fire for an offense that has ranked at the bottom of the league in most categories. Sunday marked the first time in 71 games as a head coach that he did not call the plays. Gase on the sideline without his menu-sized play sheet was an odd sight.
Gase had considered a change a couple of weeks ago, but he said he decided to retain the duties after consulting with his staff. Under mounting pressure, he finally decided to make the move after last week’s shutout loss to the Miami Dolphins.
Loggains, a longtime Gase ally, hadn’t called plays since 2015, when he served as the Chicago Bears‘ offensive coordinator. Working from the sideline, he made two noticeable changes for the Jets:
Early on, he capitalized on Darnold’s mobility by calling plays that allowed him to get outside the pocket, including a handful of bootlegs off play-action.
Loggains also featured rookie running back La’Mical Perine, who had been playing behind 37-year-old Frank Gore. Providing an outside speed dimension, Perine rushed a career-high 11 times, but for only 39 yards. He scored his first career touchdown.
In the end, the bottom line was the same. The Jets have scored only seven offensive touchdowns in seven games with an offense that ranks among the worst in franchise history.
Darnold, who returned to the lineup after a two-game shoulder injury, passed for only 120 yards and threw a costly interception late in the first half. He was under pressure throughout the game, as the Jets struggled against blitzes. He completed only 12 of 24 passes.
The Bills (5-2) adjusted to the Loggains wrinkles and held the Jets to only 4 total yards on 16 plays in the second half. The Jets played without top wide receiver Jamison Crowder, who sat out with a groin injury. They got a lift from rookie Denzel Mims, who caught four passes for 42 yards in his NFL debut.