The New York Jets were competitive in Carolina today against a superior team. However, as they have done many times this season, they made one mistake too many to steal a victory. Today, it was a blocked punt that helped break the game open for the Panthers and a late game pick six to seal the deal. At 6-8, the Jets are only playing for pride the next two weeks as Rex Ryan fights to keep his Head Coaching job.
It remains baffling why Ryan continues to play an ineffective, old Ed Reed over a rising young player in Antonio Allen. Reed was late to help on a DeAngelo Williams 72 yard touchdown and along with David Harris showed that the Jets still have speed issues on defense. Outside of that big play, the Jets defense was good, not great overall. They didn’t force any turnovers but they locked down in the red-zone and allowed the Jets to remain competitive up until the blocked punt, which looked to be a brutal mistake from both Garrett McIntyre and Tanner Purdum. Cam Newton finished with 273 yards passing and the Panthers had 131 yards rushing as a team.
Offensively, the Jets ran the ball surprisingly well. Chris Ivory gashed the Panthers for 66 yards on only 11 carries, Bilal Powell chipped in 37 yards and 8 carries and Geno Smith ran effectively with 44 yards on 6 carries.
Smith wasn’t very good but was far from the train wreck we’ve seen in previous road games. The pick six remains inexcusable but overall he finished 15/28 for 167 yards along with a touchdown, that came on the drive following his interception. Smith was under constant pressure from a Carolina front seven who regularly overwhelmed the Jets offensive line. Smith also holds the football for too long on many occasions which doesn’t help the issue. His wide receivers didn’t do much to help either, as Santonio Holmes dropped a pass early in the game and didn’t seem to be on the same page on many of his routes. This isn’t breaking news: the Jets need to improve the receiver and tight end position, along with receive more steady play at quarterback.
Any loss is frustrating but in the grand scheme of this season, this was one of the Jets better overall performances both on the road and in a loss. We predicted before the season that the Jets would be a 7-9 team and that seems to be exactly what they trending towards. They haven’t overachieved. They haven’t underachieved. They have some nice young pieces but overall still have many major holes, that will hopefully be addressed with their 40 million of cap space and likely 12 draft picks.
Let’s hope they continue to play hard and compete in the final two weeks and there are strides from the rookies and younger players. Let’s also hope we get to enjoy more Sheldon Richardson touchdown runs…