Week 2 is in the books as the Jets lost an ugly game in New England 13-10. Despite having numerous chances to tie or win the game thanks to a dominant 2nd half defensive effort the Jets could not get it done. Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly:
1) The Offensive Line – After a terrible week 1 where it was rough sledding to run (only 2 yards per carry) or pass (5 sacks allowed and many more pressures) the Jets offensive line began to gel in Week 2. The Jets ran for 129 yards at a clip of 4 yards per carry and though they allowed 4 sacks they were mostly coverage sacks. Most surprisingly Vladimir Ducasse more than held his own against future Hall of Famer Vince Wilfork. If this performance spurs Ducasse into being the piece that stabilizes the line then that will be the key takeaway from this game. Seeing how Ducasse fares against a more mobile opponent will tell the tale of how far he has come. The line should continue to improve as they get more reps together and grow into a unit.
2) Chris Ivory – After a slow start to the preseason due to a hamstring injury and a forgettable Week 1 performance we saw the Chris Ivory that made the Jets want to trade for him on Thursday. Ivory ran extremely hard and was surprisingly nimble as well. He ran for 52 yards on 12 carries. The fact that he only got 1 4th quarter carry should be a crime. Expect Ivory to start leading the team in carries as they year continues. As long as the line gives him something his productivity will not be able to be ignored.
3) The Second Half Defense – The Jets held Tom Brady and the New England Patriots to 61 total yards and 0 points in the second half. They had 3 first downs and no drive longer than 6 plays. Yes I know the Patriots did not have Gronkowski, Amendola or Vereen but to hold a professional football team to those dismal numbers is significant, especially one quarterbacked by Tom Brady and coached by Bill Belichick. The Jets defensive line was once again dominant against the run holding the Patriots to 54 yards rushing for the game at 2.3 yards per carry. In Week 1 the Patriots ran 35 times for 158 yards against the Bills for 4.5 yards per carry and leading them to a time of possession advantage of 15 minutes. In Week 2 the Jets held the ball for 8 minutes more than the Patriots. Damon Harrison has turned into a very good player and not just a nice story (read Alan’s profile of Harrison here and film study of Harrison here). Sheldon Richardson is quickly becoming a star that makes a living in the backfield. For most of the game the versatility of the Jet defenders and their ever-changing looks held Tom Brady to 19-39 for 185 yards and 1 TD.
4) Geno Smith’s 1st 3 Quarters – Through 3 quarters Geno Smith had not looked spectacular but he made plays when he had to and showed poise. He led an 11 play drive in the first quarter that resulted in a field goal and then a beautiful 9 play drive for a touchdown in the 3rd quarter to bring the Jets within 3 points. He was holding on to the ball too long again but he was making the right decisions and getting progressively better. He led the Jets on a drive to start the 4th quarter that took them to the Patriots 26 but then the rest of his night we will come back to during the Ugly section.