After weeks of skirting around the issue of this team being consistently inconsistent, followed by consistently bad, they finally had a quality game in Week 14. A win, no less, even if it was against the Oakland Raiders, who we now know would go on to give up 56 to Kansas City. Basically, they’re not a great defense, so why should we care (especially more than a week after the fact)?

Well, seeing as how Geno Smith completed just 21-55 passes in his last three games combined… Yeah any win is a good win is an important win, even if that win pushes this team further from the top of the draft order. This win shows that, maybe, Geno Smith does have an NFL quarterback somewhere within him. Maybe, the team doesn’t have to scoop up Jeff Garcia off the NFL Network’s analyst couch for a late season playoff push. Smith recovered not only from his streak of atrocious performances, but also his early interception that gave everyone that, “Oh, here we go again!” feeling we’ve come to dread. 16-25 completions for 219 yards and one touchdown, plus another rushing touchdown with the team inside the Oakland 10 yard line is just what a team built on its defense needs to succeed.

The return of Jeremy Kerley, the greatest number one receiving option who is probably a slot receiver on most other teams in the history of the game, was probably a big help. When Smith threw up what was really an awful pass intended for Santonio Holmes in the end zone, it was Kerley going up, grabbing that ball and making it all look intentional. For whatever reason, Kerley just remains a steady option for Geno; it was the same way with Mark Sanchez before him. I really hope he doesn’t get the Jerricho Cotchery treatment when his contract is up.

Strangely, the defense looked rather ordinary. While the 130 receiving yards for Rod Streater were not exactly unprecedented, the 123 rushing yards for Marcel Reece, who is basically the team’s third running back, was. Still, I’m more than content with one overall ugly defensive game out of 14 games, especially in a winning effort. It’s a weird flip of the script, with the offense propping up the defense and winning a close game.

This week against the Panthers was also, by the final score, a close game. Unfortunately, this one was not close in the Jets’ favor. A loss at this point in the season hurts, especially with a playoff berth still a mathematical reality. But, being that this was the team’s first loss in a while that wasn’t a complete dismantling of them and everything they stand for, you can’t really be too upset. And along with that loss, we learned lots of new information that will be valuable going forward.

The Valuable Information That Can Only Be Gleaned from a Week 15 Loss to the Carolina Panthers:

1) Geno Smith isn’t many things, a quitter chief among those. Even with his team down 17 in the fourth quarter, with no real shot, Smith led the team downfield for a touchdown on a very nice drive. Totally meaningless in terms of the game’s ultimate outcome, but still, you know, nice to see.

2) This team needs a great receiving option and his name isn’t Santonio Holmes. Think of all the quarterbacks in this league and name one who has been asked to do more with less than Geno Smith. Ryan Tannehill has Mike Wallace. Mike Glennon has Vincent Jackson. Even Case Keenum has Andre Johnson! Santonio Holmes basically trashed the Panthers pass defense during the week. (It was really kind of an open-palmed insult as he was praising the team’s front seven rushers, but still, with the season (or lack thereof) he’s had, he should be one to talk. (Also, did I just invent the term “open-palmed insult”?) Holmes of course followed that up with a 14 yards receiving on two catches performance. I love Jeremy Kerley, I’ve already praised him several paragraphs up… but he just does not have enough skill to be the top guy. Jeff Cumberland and Kellen Winslow have done their fair share at tight end, but neither is as physical a presence as say Jimmy Graham or a healthy Rob Gronkowski to make a huge impact on offense. In the upcoming off season, the Jets really need to make a play at a top wide receiver, be it via free agency or the draft. If not, Geno Smith is going to go the way of Mark Sanchez.

3) The CBS broadcast revealed that Geno Smith led the team in rushing touchdowns heading into this game, which I mean, just ew. You’ve got two highly capable runners, let them do their job…

4) Unless of course, you’re using Sheldon Richardson in a goal line package and letting him pound the ball in there. Always great to see linemen getting touches that result in touchdowns, I just hope this doesn’t become a thing for the Jets. If I wasn’t so afraid he would get traded, I would totally buy a Sheldon Richardson jersey. The guy had been amazing.

5) The Jets have another new receiver named Saalim Hakim.

6) Ken Dorsey is improbably the Quarterbacks Coach of the Carolina Panthers. I seriously had no idea. I’m glad he was able to find a career (and based on Cam Newtown’s play, be good at it,) after that whole NFL quarterback thing didn’t work out for him.

7) Nick Folk is a god. Just another routine 54 yard field goal for the individual MVP of this team. If I wasn’t afraid he was going to have to compete for his job in the off-season and lose it as a result, I would totally buy a Nick Folk jersey.

8) Graham Gano is probably not the brother of Gordon Gano, the lead singer of Violent Femmes.

In the end, it’s too bad the Jets couldn’t complete their sweep of the NFC South and it’s sad that they’re most likely out of playoff contention, but at least the future doesn’t look too brutal (at times.) No matter the result of these next two games, I’m kind of proud of this team.


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s