It Is More Than Fitz
What did we all expect? Throughout his decade long career Ryan Fitzpatrick has been a streaky, exciting, tough guy too willing to risk his health at times and too often able to forego game managing for some mirage of water in the desert.
This is Fitzmagic. A guy willing to dive headfirst on the goal line minutes prior to cut a two score deficit to 24-17 in the fourth like he did on Sunday, only to throw into traffic to fringe targets with the game on the line.
So you want to blame him solely for the descent from 4-1 to 5-5? Be my guest. Keep in mind however that the winning blueprint for this 2015 team did not include the guy all of a sudden becoming Tom Brady in the latter years of his bearded career.
These Jets were supposed to control games on the ground, disrupt opponents all day with a D line consisting of first round picks and be locking down big time receivers with a plethora of top level corner guys. Lately, and chalk some of it up to injuries to key names like Mangold, Revis and Ivory and more, they simply haven’t.
I’m not here to make excuses for Fitzmagic who has not been his early season self of late. Since he hurt his thumb in Oakland in fact, it’s gotten steadily worse for him. Surgery last Friday probably didn’t help his game any either.
He is supposed to play smarter than he has been. He missed some make-able throws again yesterday too but with so much breaking down around him, and the growing rate of drops from his receivers, this devastating losing streak is about a lot more than just Ryan Fitzpatrick. It really is.
Ominous Clue Leads To A Quick Six
The first one was a fact finding mission. That’s all it was. A test of the best against the best. Texans QB TJ Yates tried the old shock and awe air raid on Darrelle Revis during Houston’s first drive. A bomb to DeAndre Hopkins who to me, is the one of the game’s top two receivers right now along with Odell Beckham. The ball landed safely for the Jets on the turf, but it was clear that the great Revis was beaten. Thus given another chance with no safety help again, conventional Texans thinking grew to the conclusion that Revis could be had again for a big play if the situation was right.
It was an attempt borne out of the cut Sammy Watkins used last Thursday to free himself up for a key first down on Revis Island to seal a win in the return of Rex, an Island where no player used to shake free under any circumstances. The early failed bomb provided the clues. Then it happened.
The long Hopkins TD well, an astute Jet fan could see it coming. All Yates had to do was put more air on it this time.
It is Hard to Watch The Kid Right Now
So much for big play rookie Devin Smith. Was it the broken rib in camp that stunted his growth and confidence? In successive weeks, the rookie tried to do too much on the kick return against the Bills, and dropped a catchable TD the Jets could’ve really used yesterday. I want to believe this has just been a tough stretch and that he’s better than this. I really do believe that. I hate to pin responsibility on this second rounder as well, but he was poised to be the deep threat on a team with no other field stretcher. The home run hitter. Now it appears as though he’s lost trust in himself. Tell me I’m wrong. I’ll happily stand corrected.
Before I Go…
Let’s all keep in mind that this Jets defense that only a month ago was looking like a unit about to gel into a top three NFL defense, was bested by quarterback TJ Yates who was literally out of the league weeks back, Alfred Blue, the wildcat formation, and one great receiver in Hopkins. This was supposed to be the type of game where a Texans offense led by many second stringers, would be put in their place, even with the confidence they carried over from the win over the undefeated Bengals on Monday night.
– Bilal Powell looked healthy and made plays. Every time the Jets lose now however, a long time friend of mine and fellow diehard reminds me in his patented glass half empty way that we could’ve taken Todd Gurley, yet we HAD TO grab another defensive lineman, which I’ll be honest, and no disrespect to Leonard Williams, kind of takes the enjoyment out any Powell scat for ten yards off of a screen pass.
– Lorenzo Mauldin is beginning to show consistent signs of pass rush ability. From what looked like a career threatening injury when he was strapped to the stretcher that day in September to now, it’s nice to see.
– Yet another disgruntled diehard friend texted me last night saying the Jets slide out of playoff position is Bowles fault. “He has no energy on the sidelines.”
Well, Bowles has a style that’s about no drama, no panic. You know, just execute the plays worked on in practice. Stay the course. Not too high not too low.
I’m fine with his exterior demeanor as long as internally, he recognizes when it’s time to adjust in game schematically. Rah rah stuff doesn’t help anyone make tackles or catch passes either.
– A Jet fan tweeted me Sunday night “the Jets can still beat the Dolphins, Giants, this team and that team and get to 9 wins and get in.” This is true.
Of course the key to any winning streak though is winning one game first. The teams on the Jets schedule are all arguably beatable aside from the Patriots let’s say, but the Jets are the beatable team on their opponents schedule too. It works both ways.
– Guys I think are more impacted by injuries than they would ever admit: Revis (even before the head injury), Cromartie, Marshall, Decker, Ivory, Fitzpatrick.
Photo Credit: NorthJersey.com