The New York Jets ended their four game losing streak today with a 24-16 victory over the struggling Baltimore Ravens. They won this game on the back of their defense, who put together their best overall game of the season. Despite an ugly special teams outing and an ugly offensive performance, which included a mid game quarterback switch due to injury, the Jets did enough to get the job done….
First off, Quincy Enunwa is fast and needs more touches. Outside of this play, which is a tremendous individual effort from him, the Jets offense was generally stagnant. Geno Smith went 4/8 for 95 yards with the below touchdown and 7 yards rushing before leaving with an injury. In his limited action, he was victimized by both a Brandon Marshall and Charone Peake drop. It is generally too small of a sample size of action to fully evaluate his performance.
Ryan Fitzpatrick led a strong initial drive that culminated with a Matt Forte touchdown, which included a nice looking 21 yard in-cut to Brandon Marshall. Beyond that, Fitzpatrick was the same mediocre quarterback he was week 1 through week 6. The Jets offense was non existent in the second half, only scoring when set up on a short field from interceptions. By the fourth quarter, they were actively coaching around him. It appears that Geno Smith will not be healthy enough to play next week, so Fitzpatrick will remain under center. If Smith is healthy enough to play, he should still start.
Matt Forte had a strong day catching the football out of the backfield with 54 yards on 4 receptions with a touchdown. He did have 100 yards rushing with a touchdown but it took 30 carries, which is an inexcusably high number with Bilal Powell only getting 4 carries.
This was also an encouraging day for rookie receiver Robby Anderson, who had a clutch 4th down catch in traffic, ripped off a 30 yard run and continued to look smooth in his route running. The offensive line was up and down but Brian Winters remained okay overall and Wes Johnson was relatively competent filling in for Nick Mangold. It was a frustrating day for Brandon Marshall who continued to struggle with drops.On defense, the Jets finally brought their A game. This was a unit playing Victor Ochi and Julian Sanford major reps at linebacker but held Baltimore to 9 points, sacked Joe Flacco twice and recorded two interceptions, one by Buster Skrine and one by Marcus Gilchrist.
Sheldon Richardson was the best player on the field. The Jets are clearly a better overall unit when they only have two of their three defensive ends available, which means there is no need to rush Muhammad Wilkerson back from injury but makes it somewhat frustrating they paid him. Despite early struggles, this was a solid overall game from Skrine who was continually targeted by Joe Flacco. The unit played with much better energy and speed in the second half, including some overdue signs of life from Calvin Pryor and Gilchrist.
The Jets special teams had a field goal blocked, muffed a snap for 7 points on a punt and did nothing in the coverage or return game but still managed to win by 8 points. In one way it was encouraging they were able to overcome that, in another way it is frustrating how bad this unit continues to be for the team.The Jets are good enough to beat mediocre football teams, even if they don’t play a great all around game. They will be in a similar situation next week but hopefully find a way to clean up the mental errors against the winless Cleveland Browns.
Enjoy the win, Jets fans. Enjoy being able to watch three touchdowns in one game and finally a few turnovers…
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com