Suffering Jets: The Pitts

New York Jets football giveth and New York Jets football taketh away. And in one game, all that was done against Atlanta is forgotten. It’s back to, “still a rookie” for Geno Smith, who was back to turning the ball over at inopportune times. We Jets fans flew too close to the sun of misguided temporary joy, only to have our wings melted by it and crash back hard to the planet of realistic expectations.

It came down to what it always comes down to when the Jets play the Steelers, except the Steelers were 0-4 coming in, so it hurts more than usual. New York got beat up by the Pittsburgh defense (who I’m pretty sure have been running the same scheme since 1974) and allowed way too many third down conversions to the Pittsburgh offense. The end result was not a total surprise, with the hungry, winless Steelers coming in off a bye week, but any loss where the opposition only hangs 19 points on you is still rough.

As always, the majority of the blame falls at the feet of our protagonist, Geno Smith. Smith immediately followed up last week’s “wait this team isn’t the pits?” performance , with a performance indicative of a team that might kind of be the pits. Only things started out kind of, almost promising. After two series on defense where the Jets made it appear as though the Steelers had no rhythm or coherence, Geno took his team down the field, converting first downs on passes to his running backs and… well they settled for a field goal. But, it made Nick Folk 12 for 12 for the year on field goals, the first Jets kicker to do so, which says something both about Folk’s skill and the quality of kickers the Jets normally keep.

Unfortunately, Smith would only take the team down the field to settle for a field goal just one more time in the game. The rest was uninspiring play, rife with not making something happen when something needed to happen. Twice especially, in the fourth quarter,  Smith did the exact opposite of making things happen, throwing his two latest interceptions. And both came in Steelers territory, just when it seemed like the Jets were getting something going, which is just an extra spit in the face. Interception number one either completely missed its target or was intended for Ryan Clark to catch on the goal line. And just when it seemed like he had overcome that one, Smith gets hit hard by Jarvis Jones while throwing, resulting in a wobbly thrown ball that was easily intercepted in the red zone.

Geno Smith however, was not the only one making costly mistakes out there. Antonio Cromartie, who was a game-time decision with a knee injury (one that I think one of the announcers mentioned they thought would keep him out for the year, but who knows,) got beaten by Pittsburgh receivers all day. On one play in particular, he completely lost Emmanuel Sanders who was later found front flipping into the end zone for the only touchdown of the game. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh’s top receiver who theoretically would be drawing the majority of Cromartie’s coverage, caught seemingly every pass thrown his way (aside from that drop in the end zone, heh heh,) catches that always seemed to convert on third downs. Cromartie really looked like he had no business out there and if the injury report was to be believed, probably didn’t.

Additionally, the play call was needlessly conservative. Geno has shown that he can air it out effectively, if given the chance, so why not try to go out there and try to knock a struggling team on its ass early on? Granted, he did end up throwing the ball 34 times, but the passes never seemed to gain any more than 12 yards at the most. Basically, everything about this team, from the players, to the play call, to the absurdity of the things Rex Ryan says from week to week needs to start be more consistent if the Jets want to hang in there this season. Except the defensive front. Stay gold, the Jets defensive front. One this team has been consistently doing though, is winning on odd numbered weeks, which brings us to this week’s matchup, the annual second game against the Patriots.

The Annual Second Game Against the Patriots: New England Patriots (5-1) @ New York Jets (3-3)

Last time these teams went up against each other, the Jets only barely gave it away in the fourth quarterNew England was banged up then and they might be even more banged up now. Since their last meeting, both Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo have gone down for the year, Danny Amendola had time to get seriously hurt again and Rob Gronkowski still has not debuted. Yet, Tom Brady remains Tom Brady, so even with all the injuries, to just say the Jets are going to win this one would be reckless and irresponsible. If the Jets can do what the Bengals did, just completely shut down the Patriots offense, then they have a real chance. I do not think however, that the New York pass defense  has enough to prevent Brady from doing his thing, especially with him now developing a rapport with Kenbrell “UNICORNS! SHOW PONIES! WHERE’S THE BEEF?” Thompkins. As usual, only the game will tell and I am always happy to be dead wrong in these situations.

Spare Thoughts:

– I thought Mike Goodson played well in what we saw of him. Then I found out he tore ACL and MCL. Goodbye Mike Goodson, we hardly knew ye.

– Rex Ryan wants his players to abstain from having sex with their wives, but that’s not what he meant when he told his players to tell ignore their household duties to focus only on football this week, but what football player has actual duties around the house that aren’t delegated to hired help. I don’t know anymore.

– Troy Polamalu was apparently Geno Smith’s favorite player growing up and I for one could not be happier that he did not throw an interception to him. The media would have pounced on that like the media on every little Jets screw up.

– The Jets defensive front still needs a nickname. I am fielding suggestions.

– When CBS showed a replay of Sanders flipping into the end zone, they played “Don’t Do Me Like That” over it. A stroke of brilliance as far as I’m concerned.


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