The New York Jets had their first truly awful showing of the 2015 season today in Oakland, with an embarrassing effort in a 34-20 loss. Despite being without Nick Mangold and Calvin Pryor, there is no excuse for how the Jets played today. The injuries continued to mount as well, with Geno Smith replacing Ryan Fitzpatrick in the first quarter and Brandon Marshall leaving needing x-rays on both his toe and ankle. Can the Jets rebound or is their first losing steak of the season going to compile into a downward trend for what had been an encouraging start?
Defensively, the Jets began the game by allowing Oakland seven scoring drives: four touchdowns and three field goal attempts. They didn’t force a punt until the fourth quarter. Zero sacks. Zero turnovers. It was one of the most pathetic displays of tackling in the NFL so far this season, as the consistent whiffs led to huge plays after the catch for Taiwan Jones and Michael Crabtree. Antonio Cromartie no showed today, missing tackles all over the field and getting torched by Andre Holmes for a long touchdown reception. The Jets opted to put Marcus Williams at safety over Dion Bailey and Williams had a rough outing, as he was repeatedly victimized by the Raiders offense. It was another sluggish game for Demario Davis, who along with Cromartie and Williams headlined the Jets problems.Offensively, the Jets had no running game to speak of. Their running backs finished with 18 carries for 28 yards. Geno Smith was competent (27/42, 265 yards, 2 TDs, INT, 34 rushing yards) until the final few minutes when he made two poor decisions: taking a sack in the two minute drill and running out of bounds on a 3rd down behind the line late in the game. Despite a few impressive throws, he still demonstrated the inconsistency that marked his first two years. Despite getting banged up himself, Smith is likely to start next week while Ryan Fitzpatrick recovers from torn ligaments in his left thumb. Hopefully, with a week of practice, Nick Mangold back and a functional running game Smith will be better.
Todd Bowles deserves heat for how unprepared this team was today and for the second straight week of questionable game management. There is no reason to punt down by 14 points with 4 minutes left. He is a rookie head coach so mistakes will happen but it needs to be something he learns and grows from in the coming weeks and hopefully years. Injuries. A West Coast Trip. Patriots Hangover. There is no excuse for the type of effort the Jets gave today in a loss that will hurt them if they consider themselves a wild card contender.
The good news? They travel home next week to host the Jacksonville Jaguars, followed by a Thursday night home game versus the Buffalo Bills…two under .500 teams. However, injuries will remain a factor. Can the Jets overcome the absence of key contributors on both sides of the football and find a way to keep swimming, even if Geno Smith has to start a game or two? 5-3 at the halfway mark is still very attainable but the Jets are not good enough to overlook anybody.