The Jets put together their second lifeless performance of the year Sunday in Chicago, losing 24-10 to the Bears in a game where the Jets appeared to have no motivation to win. Dumb pre snap penalties, not being able to get a stop when needed and a conservative game plan doomed this team from the jump. Here is my Week 8 report card.
For as much as it appeared the Jets didn’t want to play in Chicago on Sunday, Sam Darnold hung in there the entire game. He didn’t make any dumb turnovers and really did all he could with the game plan that was being given to him. He was off on a good amount of throws but his receivers weren’t doing him any favors in getting separation.
I thought he moved the ball fairly well given that he was stuck in a bunch of third longs due to a bad running game and pre snap penalties. He did key on Jermaine Kearse a lot but that’s almost to be expected with a rookie quarterback. Kearse was also the only real NFL receiver that Darnold has had extended time with that played on Sunday.
Running Backs: C
Want to know who had the highest YPC on Sunday? Sam Darnold with 4.4 YPC on five attempts. Isaiah Crowell continued his cold streak with another measly 13 carry, 25 yard game but I don’t think it was entirely his fault. The game plan for the Jets was the run of the mill run-run-pass-punt. If I know what the Jets are doing sitting on my barstool, I’m fairly certain that a defensive coordinator who gets paid to do this knows what the Jets are going to do. Crowell did have a catch for 13 yards on a screen play but that was it. Trenton Cannon six carries for 10 yards and three catches for 12 yards.
Wide Receivers: F
I get it. This was a rag tag group of receivers but still, you’re an NFL receiver. You should get at least some separation at some point right? The leading receiver was Deontay Burnett (four catches for 61 yards) and he was on the practice squad two weeks ago. Jermaine Kearse had three catches on 10 targets. All we can do is hope and pray that Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson get back sooner rather than later.
Tight End: C
Chris Herndon had his third consecutive game with a touchdown catch but only had one other target outside of that. Neal Sterling went out with a concussion but he’s seen a massive dip in production since the preseason albeit he’s been out with injuries. He didn’t block well. Eric Tomlinson was okay as a blocker but this tight end group outside of Herndon needs a rehaul.
Offensive Line: D
Pre snap penalties shouldn’t happen at the rate that they did on Sunday. When you don’t have your usual set of weapons, you need to essentially play perfect to just below perfect football. The Jets offensive line consistently put them in bad positions on first down and with an already conservative game plan in the mix, doomed Darnold from the start. They played pretty well in protection (only allowed one sack) but the pre snap penalties are infuriating. The saving grace? Brandon Shell. Who continues to be the shining star of this offensive line.
Defensive Line: F
Mitch Trubisky wasn’t very good on Sunday and still had an eternity to throw the ball. The Jets defensive line once again (I’m beating a dead horse here) provided very little to no pressure all game. Trubisky struggled under any pressure that he did face. The Jets allowed 179 yards rushing which is a lot but it was the manner in which the Bears got them. Whenever the Jets needed a stop, they couldn’t get one.
Let’s start with a positive. Brandon Copeland tallied yet another sack on Sunday. He’s not the edge rusher the Jets will stick with long term but he’s been their best pass rusher (not a low bar to clear). Avery Williamson missed his assignment on an all out blitz that allowed Tarik Cohen to scamper for a 70 yard touchdown untouched. Trubisky constantly out ran any Jets linebacker. It was another frustrating performance against a mobile quarterback.
Darryl Roberts had his second consecutive great game as the number two corner. Morris Claiborne played well also. Marcus Maye led the team in tackles. Jamal Adams had his worst game of the season. Trubisky left him in the dust on a handful of scrambles and faked Adams out on an option early in the game. For as good as a run stuffer as Adams is, he got fooled more times than usual. This unit and the linebackers need to get better at: tackling angles and reading the quarterbacks on these options from mobile QB’s. They got burned by Tannehill and again by Trubisky.
Special Teams: C
Jason Meyers made all of his kicks and continues to be in the race for NFL MVP (slightly kidding). Andre Roberts had one return. The Jets had two special teamers by Tarik Cohen, including Charone Peake who was kept on this roster for special teams purposes, and didn’t recover. These are the types of plays that can turn a below average team into an above average team.
We need to come up with a lower grade than “F”. Todd Bowles once again showed his game management skills are on par with first year Pop Warner coach. Running plays instead of kneeling the ball before the half in a situation where there was no need at all to try anything besides a kneel was atrocious. The Jets are lucky that didn’t turn into a complete disaster. Punting on fourth down late in the fourth quarter down by two scores is laughable. Todd Bowles needs to go.
Undermanned on the road in a game you shouldn’t win. Why not throw the kitchen sink out there? I hate the Bills but credit to them for at least trying some exotic plays in the same situation Monday night against the Patriots. Bates wanted to get out of that game the minute the ball was kicked off. Conservative play calling will get you nowhere. The one touchdown drive was the only drive where the cuffs were taken off Sam and what do you know? It worked out. Do more of that and less of whatever you did the other 99% of drives we saw on Sunday.