1) Geno Smith’s bad day - Geno Smith was 20/30 for 159 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions, both of which were returned for touchdowns in the second half. In the first half, despite a lot of pressure, a couple of sacks and a number of quarterback hits, Smith hung in there and took what the defense gave him (not much), threw the ball away appropriately and scrambled when necessary. He was 13/19 at that point but he came unraveled after his first pass of the second half was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. It was clearly not his fault as we will talk about it later when we discuss that receiver. You could see that Smith was really upset with the receiver and Smith could not refocus. Smith threw from the far hash mark towards the sidelines late twice and the second one was picked off and returned for a touchdown. That was 100% his fault and Rex Ryan did the right thing by pulling Smith down 40 points. From an accountability standpoint and from an injury prevention standpoint it made sense. Ryan spoke to him personally and explained the decision and Smith on the surface seemed to understand it. I wish they all weren’t returned for touchdowns but these ups and downs are going to happen. How Smith plays next week will show his ability to move on from bad games. He has done it so far this year as the Jets have not had a two game losing streak (or winning streak).
2) Jeremy Kerley - The Bengals’ game plan was to take Kerley out of the game and they succeeded. Kerley finished with three catches for 27 yards and all the catches were insignificant. What lands him in this area is that Geno Smith’s 1st interception was completely his fault. Kerley ran a lazy option route where he was indecisive, rounded it off and made no attempt to get the ball thrown where it should have been. Smith put it where Kerley should have been and Crocker was able to step in front because of Kerley’s poor route. The game was pretty much over at that point anyway but it is lack of effort from a player who is known for giving his all that was troubling.
3) Pass rush? What pass rush? - The Jets had 24 sacks on the season going in to the game and thrive on pressure defense (or the illusion of pressure). Leaving the game the Jets have 25 sacks. Only one coverage sack for Wilkerson and one quarterback hit told the tale of a Bengals line that owned the line of scrimmage in the passing game and gave Andy Dalton all day to do whatever he wanted and most of that was down the field.
4) The kickoff coverage team - Nick Folk’s kickoffs were short of touchbacks every time and the coverage unit, with the exception of Ellis Lankster, could not tackle Brandon Tate. The play that broke the back of the Jets was after they kicked a field goal to move to within 21-6 with just over a minute left in the half Brandon Tate returned the ensuing kickoff 79 yards to the Jets’ 21. The Bengals got a touchdown in the waning seconds and the Jets never recovered. In total Tate averaged 33.3 yards per return and the angles taken to tackle him were terrible.
5) Every wide receiver and running back not named David Nelson - Of Geno Smith’s 20 completions and 159 yards David Nelson had eight receptions and 80 yards leaving 12 receptions and 79 yards for everyone else combined. Kerley, Hill (four receptions for 23 yards) and Cumberland (one reception for 9 yards) were nowhere to be found. The throws down the field, other than one to Cumberland, were nowhere to be found. The running backs (Powell and Ivory) went for 16 carries and 30 yards, a 1.85 yard per carry average. The game plan was flawed in that it started with Powell and ignored Ivory until the 3rd drive and there was one screen and one shot down the field. More shots down the fields could have been called but not open but the game plan lacked creativity and flow.