A loss to the Patriots; not exactly an unprecedented occurrence for the New York Jets. What is unprecedented, is that the Jets kind of outplayed the Patriots (accumulating 86 more total yards, possessing the ball for eight more minutes,) held them scoreless in the second half, and still found a way to allow the Patriots to win. And I think that is an important distinction; the Patriots did not win this game, the Jets lost it (New England has actually looked pretty beatable this year, but that’s another story for another blog run by a pessimistic Patriots fan who has no business being pessimistic.)
I might as well re-title this whole thing “Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword: The Geno Smith Story” because it really is going to come down evaluating his play every week. This time it was three interceptions, which by the way all came in the fourth quarter, which by the way all came on drives where the Jets could have pulled ahead. But we’ll get to that.
The first half of the game was overall, just too dancy. Too much of Geno Smith dancing around in the pocket, waiting to throw, and too much of Chandler Jones dancing after dropping Smith for a sack. Either the offensive line needs to improve or Smith just needs to stop hanging onto the ball for so long and throw it away when there is nothing there. Mark Sanchez suffered from the same problem and got hit hard on the regular. NOW LOOK AT HIM.
In classic Jets fashion (read: doing the opposite of what is good,) the team completely abandoned what was working for them: This time, the run game. Chris Ivory wasn’t running all over the New England defense, but it seemed nearly every one of his rushes amounted to a nice gain. Basically, it was a plan that you would probably want to stick with, you know, see where it leads. Obviously, the team thought differently. A much more bombastic fan than I would have been yelling, “WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH YOU GUYS!? DON’T YOU WANT TO SCORE!?”
Even with all their questionable play however, at the half, the Jets were miraculously only down 13-3, a score that really makes you say, “You know, it could be worse. They’re still in this.” The awful part is, they were always still in it!
A heavy downpour ushered in the second half, which could be read as representing the tears of thousands of crying Jets fans, because their team would give the game away in the second half. After one great drive where the team ran the ball, to set up the pass, to set up a rushing touchdown, they began to rely way too heavily on the pass. For the game, Geno Smith threw 45 passes; he only completed 15. Smith is way too inexperienced and does not have nearly the receiving corps to throw that many times. Clyde Gates alone dropped three passes, including two potential touchdowns.
And then there’s the three interceptions. They all really cut deep, but if I had to pick the one that hurt the most, it would probably be the first. Deep in New England territory, coming off a tipped pass, it really was the crushing blow. The Jets offense would never get that close again. His next two both came on the wrong side of the 50 yard line, and that was that. It is, of course, still early in the season, but if this team actually wants to succeed (and I think that they do,) the play call cannot force Geno Smith to work outside of his current comfort zone. Effective running of the football was a very big part of the Jets’ two AFC championship game trips; they need to incorporate it more. Ok, let’s get on to this Sunday’s game.
Getting on to this Sunday’s game: Buffalo Bills (1-1) @ New York Jets (1-1)
The annual battle for New York bragging rights in the AFC East begins again. Those bragging rights usually never go to anyone, as the teams always seem to split their two game series with each other. When I originally looked at the Jets schedule, I had this game marked down as a win for them. But, with the way Buffalo has been playing, I’m not sure it’s going to be that easy. Rookie quarterback EJ Manuel is already a great leader for this team, and after last week’s exciting last second win, the Bills certainly have momentum. It’s not even a big stretch to say that they should be 2-0 right now. Add that to Mario Williams going up against the Jets offensive line after his 4.5 sack performance last week, and things could get dicy for the Jets. At home though, I think (I’m hopeful) the Jets will be able to bounce back from Thursday’s disappointment and get a win (which I’m sure the Bills will get them back for, in Buffalo, later in the year.)
– The Rex Ryan job security watch is at a steamy “Throwing your players under the bus for dropped passes in a post-game press conference.”
– Jeremy Kerley is supposed to be back this week, which should be a nice boost for the Jets receivers. His consistent play was sorely missed in that ugly Patriots game.
– Defense continues to be the team’s calling card; I’m really liking what I’ve seen from them so far, 13 receptions for Julian Edelman notwithstanding.
– I hope for Marty Mornhinweg’s sake that the offense becomes more reliable; Jets fans eat offensive coordinators alive.