The New York Jets played a familiar game today, punching above their weight for three quarters before ultimately collapsing in the fourth in a close game. Their 35-27 loss to the Carolina Panthers effectively ends any 2017 playoffs discussion, particularly with their remaining schedule. This team is good enough to compete every single week but not talented enough at the premium positions or well coached enough to beat good teams in close games. Nobody should have felt comfortable up 20-18 today and nobody should be shocked the team found a way to lose, after what happened against Atlanta, New England and Miami this year.
Offensively, the Jets were inconsistent but ultimately produced more points than most expected. Robby Anderson continued his spectacular sophomore season with 6 receptions for 146 yards and 2 touchdowns. Considering his supporting cast and production, Anderson is one of the most exciting young receivers in the NFL and a true building block for this franchise. Josh McCown had a gorgeous box score (19/36, 307 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs) but a killer fumble that was returned for a 4th quarter touchdown. The numbers look good but he can never rise to the moment in a big spot. It was another so so performance from the Jets offensive line who allowed 3 sacks and was never was able to gain any consistency in the running game. Matt Forte led the Jets in carries with 10 for 26 yards (#yuck).
On defense, the Jets were solid for most of the game but never came up with a big play and let up a few critical conversions in the second half. The final score shows they allowed 35 points but two of Carolina’s touchdowns came from their defense and special teams. They held Cam Newton to 11/28 passing for 168 yards and contained the running game for the most part. It was a quiet game for rookie Jamal Adams who is starting to flirt being a more bark than bite player, if you are going to push Cam Newton after he scores a touchdown and jaw after every play, you need to fill up the stat sheet more than you have the past few weeks. It was a big a game for Demario Davis and Darron Lee who combined for 16 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 TFLs, and 3 QB hits. Marcus Maye also continued his strong rookie season, leading the Jets over the top coverage and racking up 7 tackles.
The Jets coaching staff remains too conservative. They need to recognize their lack of talent at quarterback, tackle and pass rusher and coach accordingly. Go for it on 4th and goal from inside the 1 yard line. Be aggressive with your play calling on offense. Throw in some trick plays on special teams or offense. You can’t go toe to toe with Carolina…or Kansas City, New Orleans or New England. If they keep coaching like this, 5-11 is where this team is headed.
Overall, this is a team who is closer to a top 5 pick than a playoff spot but there is some encouraging building blocks on each side of the football, once they are supplemented with talent at the premium positions, this team will be closer to being a contender.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com