The Jets’ playoff hopes all but faded away into the Carolina night last night, as the Jets fell to the Panthers, 30-20. Technically they are still mathematically in it, and would be out with a Ravens’ win tonight. But, we all know it’s over anyway.
The Jets hung in this one for a while, and even had the momentum swinging their way in the second half, until a special teams’ miscue changed it all.
Despite the failings of the offense, it was 16-13 in the fourth quarter. The Jets were hanging right in the game, until the blocked punt. The Jets moved some guys to the outside to use their speed in coverage, but that took blocking away from the middle, and the Panthers made them pay. Tolbert scored his one yard TD, and then Geno threw a pick six to Captain Munnerlyn, and that was the ball game.
It’s amazing how a game can change on play. It makes this game great.
A couple of things I took away. The defense did hang in there for the most part, as it has done all year. Despite everything, this was a three-point game in the fourth quarter. The offense, however, never got in a real rhythm, and the defense began to wear down. Once the blocked punt happened, and the pick six, the defense couldn’t get a turnover or make a stop, and the Panthers won the game going away.
When the Jets moved the ball early, it resulted in Nick Folk field goals. Especially against an excellent team like the Panthers, whenever you have the chance, you need the drives to end with seven points, not three. Yes, “Folk Hero” kept them in the game. But touchdowns would have opened up a lead that might have changed the outcome in this one.
Again Geno was inconsistent. Overall, he was 15-28 for 167 yards, with one touchdown, and one interception. He made some nice throws, made some plays with his legs. However, he still stared down his receivers, and tried to force the football in to tight coverage when it came down to it. For Geno Smith to take that next step, he has to consistently put the team in a position to be successful. He does, some of the time, but he needs to do it all the time, and he just doesn’t do that yet.
He will learn, or he won’t be the guy here.
One thing on Marty’s play calling that was interesting. Why did he go away from Chris Ivory in the second half? The idea with these running backs is that you have to give the rock to the one going well. These guys get in a rhythm, and keep it as they get more touches. In the first half, Ivory was averaging over seven yards per carry. Remember that Carolina is the number one rushing defense, and he is running THAT well. Keep giving him the football. You have to feed the beast, and it could have made a big difference.
The Jets return home to face Josh Gordon and the Cleveland Browns next week.
Be there to cheer Gang Green on by getting your Jets tickets here.