Here is Joe Malfa with grades for the Jets’ offensive performance against the Bengals…
In one word, the offense was frustrating on Sunday. I liked what I saw out of Quincy Enunwa, Matt Forte, and the offensive line, but the “big three” of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brandon Marshall, and Eric Decker underperformed. You can point a finger at Nick Folk’s blocked 22-yard field goal and missed PAT as reasons for the loss, but going 4/12 on 3rd down and 2/5 in the red zone was costly. The Jets only had one empty possession in the red zone (the blocked field goal) but had 1st and goal situations from the five yard-line and the three yard-line, and they only came away with three points. If the Jets are going to compete with the league’s top teams and make a playoff run, they need to turn golden opportunities like that into TDs.
Ryan Fitzpatrick — C+ — 19/35, 189 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Fitz had one of his stereotypical performances on Sunday in which he was mostly average, never spectacular, and sometimes head-scratching. He avoided turnovers and mistakes (until the game ending INT), but he took a couple of unnecessary risks. One play that sticks out was this throw to Marshall in quadruple — yes, QUADRUPLE — coverage on a 1st down in the 3rd quarter:
It is encouraging that he was able to avoid any major mistakes, but he reminded everyone that he is still nothing more than a game manager who has trouble throwing the ball down the field.
Matt Forte — A+ — 22 carries, 96 yards; 5 catches, 59 yards
After sitting out for the majority of camp and the preseason, Forte showed no signs of rust in Week 1. He looked like the perennial pro-bowler from Chicago rather than the aging, declining RB some people were expecting. Forte’s play was a major positive, but Chan Gailey cannot expect him to touch the ball 29 times per game without breaking down at some point — his touches need to be limited.
Bilal Powell — A — 4 carries, 41 yards; 2 catches, 7 yards
And here is the guy that needs to get more touches in order to keep Forte fresh and healthy. Powell may be one of the most underrated backs in the league. He made the most of his touches on Sunday, and he showed that he is capable of shouldering the load if Forte goes down or if Gailey comes to his senses and spreads the touches more evenly.
Quincy Enunwa — A — 7 catches, 54 yards, 1 TD
Enunwa has come a long way from the 6th round pick that landed on the practice squad in 2014. He became the team’s primary H-back/WR/TE in 2015 and steadily improved each week. He began primarily as a good blocker but slowly took on more of a role in the passing game. He had his first real breakout game on Sunday, finishing the game as the leading receiver. Outperfoming both Marshall and Decker may have been a fluke, but he will continue to have a major role in the offense.
Brandon Marshall — C — 3 catches, 32 yards
Disappointing — that is the only way to sum up Marshall’s performance. He was beaten by Dre Kirkpatrick on a jump ball in the end zone that he probably would have come down with in 2015. He dropped a pass up the seam on the final drive that would have put the offense across midfield. He looked sluggish overall, and I hope that the hip injury is not worse than he is letting on.
Eric Decker — C — 2 catches, 37 yards, 1 TD
Yes, he scored a TD, but Decker was just as disappointing as Marshall. The duo needs to bounce back in a big way on Thursday night if the Jets want to avoid an 0-2 start.
Offensive Line — A-
I did not dive into the offensive line footage and closely scrutinize its play, but the numbers speak for themselves. Fitzpatrick was only hit three times and sacked once, and he was rarely under pressure. The holes for Forte and Powell were gaping, particularly when they ran to the right side of the line. I thought the likes of Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap, and Michael Johnson would give Brian Winters and Ben Ijalana a hard time, but the right side of the line held its own. We always knew the Jets would win the battle in the trenches defensively, but it was a pleasant surprise to see them win the battle offensively as well.
Overall Offensive Grade: B
Putting up 22 points against a strong Bengals defense was a good way to start the season, but they left too many points on the field, which ultimately cost Gang Green a 1-0 start.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com