Another week, another one possession loss to a NFC North team for the New York Jets. Multiple turnovers from Geno Smith. No turnovers forced by the Jets defense. Another long, game changing touchdown drive allowed when the game was tight. Another big play allowed in the passing game and more head scratching coaching decisions. Yes, it was more of the same for the Jets at MetLife today, as the team fell to 1-3 heading into their most difficult three game stretch on the schedule. Let’s get into it...
Offensively, Smith had his second straight poor performance. With an interception and fumble today, he is now on pace for 28 turnovers this season, an unsustainable number if this team has any aspirations getting themselves back to .500. He also barely completed 50% of his passes (17/33, 209 yards) and despite a handful of drops, looked out of rhythm and rattled at times. The calls for Mike Vick will continue to grow louder (even though many are conveniently forgetting his turnover issues) but Smith will start again this Sunday in San Diego, although he could have a very quick hook if he is turning the ball over in the first half.Eric Decker played despite his nagging hamstring history, he did produce a touchdown but still looks a little bit off, hopefully he is not stuck playing at 80-90% all season. Chris Ivory had another strong game (100 offensive yards, 4.9 YPC) but had a pair of drops. Chris Johnson popped a 35 yard touchdown ruun and at least looks to be properly behind Ivory when it comes to getting touches, as he should be (Johnson only had 9 yards on his other 5 carries and had a minimal impact in the passing game). Today was a positive step in the right direction for Jace Amaro, who had 5 receptions on 5 targets for 58 yards. His role should only continue to grow. Greg Salas also went over 55 yards for the second straight game and is likely in line for more playing time with David Nelson now banged up.
There remained some frustrating moments with the playcalling, as the team would go away from Ivory when he seemed to be rolling but then had him targeted for a pass on a critical 3rd and 2, on what turned out to be the Jets final offensive drive. If you are going to throw to a running back, utilize Johnson or Bilal Powell, particularly when Ivory already has a few drops on the day. The Jets then decided to punt with less than 5 minutes left, despite Detroit moving the ball well in the second half. They never got the ball back. It was a surprisingly conservative call by Rex Ryan, who was already short on timeouts thanks to a failed challenge.
Defensively, the Jets did sack Matthew Stafford four times but again did not force any turnovers. Through one quarter of the season, they have zero interceptions and two fumble recoveries (one of which was thanks to a botched snap). Jeremy Ross (?) beat Antonio Allen and Calvin Pryor deep for a 59 yard touchdown on a 3rd and 10, on what looked to be a miscommunication. Later in the game, the Jets rallied to 17-10 and had the Lions pinned back on their 9 yard line but they promptly allowed them to go 91 yards for a touchdown on a drive that included multiple third down conversions. Golden Tate shredded the Jets from the slot, finishing with 8 catches for 116 yards. Finally, they couldn’t get a stop to give the offense a chance to tie in the final minutes, allowing Reggie Bush and Stafford to run for the game ending first down.
The Jets picked an awful time to end up on the wrong end of three close games, as they will be heavy underdogs in their upcoming three match-ups (San Diego, Denver, New England). Right now, they are a team who regularly loses the turnover battle, has a shaken quarterback and isn’t coaching well around the personnel issues at cornerback and receiver. Geno gets blame. Rex gets blame. Idzik gets blame. Mornhinweg gets blame. There is blame for everybody when you lose three straight games (the eighth time it has happened to the Jets under Ryan).Before I wrap up and I’ll touch on this more in an article this week about tracking the team over the past eight days and my pair of trips to MetLife and Florham Park…it is a shame to hear about Smith’s F-Bomb to a fan. There is no excuse for Geno…you can’t do that, which is why he immediately apologized at the press conference…still a very bad look. A quarterback has to turn a deaf ear to his criticism, particularly on game day. However, I’m consistently AMAZED (and not in a good way) at the things people at MetLife say to players. I’m not talking about regular heckling, I’m talking about rooting for an injury, insulting families/backgrounds…the works. As somebody who has sat behind the team’s bench a few times, I can’t say I’m truly stunned that a 23 year old snapped at somebody.
Reading the quotes/tweets from players like Sheldon Richardson, Eric Decker, Mike Vick and Leger Douzable today, it sounds like a group of players who CAN’T WAIT to get on the road. It is funny reading most analysts think it is a good thing that Smith will be able to get away from MetLife next week. Again, this is supposed to be the team’s home fans. This is September. This is after two one possession losses, not two 40-7 games. I get that people are mad and frustrated but can it get better than cheering Chad Pennington injuries and prompting their generally mild-mannered second year QB to curse out a heckler?
It should be an interesting week…depending on how you define interesting.