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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

The Jets Defense Somehow Made Matt Barkley Look Competent

Illustration for article titled The Jets Defense Somehow Made Matt Barkley Look Competent
Photo: Bill Kostroun (AP)

Before today, every Bills quarterback who had played in a game this season was either injured or deeply flummoxed by the game of football, so Buffalo’s had to dig deep into the scrap heap to find new guys to trot out. Fishing around with a rubber-gloved hand a few weeks back, they eventually grabbed hold of Matt Barkley, who hadn’t gotten into an NFL game since New Year’s Day 2017.

Barkley went on to back up Nathan Peterman last week, and despite Sean McDermott’s terrifying threats, Barkley got the nod over Peterman in today’s Bills game against the Jets. In this marquee afternoon matchup between Barkley and Josh McCown, it was the former USC QB who truly looked like a respectable NFL passer. In a 41-10 win, Barkley helped produce one of the best games for a Bills offense in quite a long time, and he somehow steamrolled a strong Jets defense that had done their best to carry the team up to this point.


Barkley started the game with a career-best 47-yard pass to Robert Foster and didn’t look back. With the help of a rejuvenated running game keeping the Jets on their toes, Barkley went 15 of 25 for 232 yards and a pair of TDs. It wasn’t always pretty, like on their fat-guy touchdown, or on this fumble-recovery score after a completed pass to Zay Jones:

But at other times, like on this dagger of a TD pass late in the third, Barkley seemed totally comfortable as an NFL starter, stepping up in the pocket and firing spot-on throws through the Jets’ coverage.


This game was a legitimately baffling development for a New York defense that completely shut down Brock Osweiler and the Dolphins offense just a week ago. Maybe this was just how they protested the Jets’ lack of offense? Whatever the reason, congrats to Matt Barkley, who will surely parlay this performance into some sort of absurd payday from a desperate team this offseason.

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