1) The secondary can’t cover anyone including me well maybe not me - The Jets refused to let Steve Smith beat them and he didn’t having three catches for 20 yards. However, Greg Olsen, Brandon LaFell and DeAngelo Williams also played in this game and they were running free, especially Olsen. Olsen had five catches for 88 yards and looked dominant with his speed and strength. Brandon LaFell had three catches for 61 yards finding the seam and Deangelo Williams had a 72 yard touchdown off of a screen pass. It was a group failure as no one member of the secondary stood out as terrible just no one was able to stop their man. The zones were played too far off allowing underneath completions and the safeties were terrible with coverage and angles taken so there were many big plays. Give the defense credit for most of the game when the Panthers would drive the field the defense would not break in the red zone. In the early 4th quarter Carolina had only 16 points and it was a three point game. A punt block that set the Panthers up inside the Jets’ 10 yard line changed the game after the Panthers punched it in for a touchdown and a pick-6 by Geno Smith sealed it.
2) The Panthers were able to run at will especially in the second half – The Panthers may have averaged 3.5 yards per carry but they were able to run whenever they wanted against the Jets. They had 131 yards on 36 carries. Deangelo Williams had 81 yards on 15 carries and specialized in outside cutback runs that got him around the defensive line and into the linebacking core. Mike Tolbert had a touchdown and did all the short-yardage heavy lifting needed. The defensive line would make a play here and there especially Wilkerson’s 3rd down stop in the Panther’s 1st drive and the amazing play where Richardson chased down Cam Newton and dragged him down with 1 hand to force a field goal. But there weren’t enough of those plays. Wilkerson is nursing a wrist injury and isn’t able to get off blocks as well and Sheldon Richardson despite that nice play and scoring a touchdown running the ball as a goal line back had a very quiet day too.
3) The offensive line’s pass blocking – The decline of D’Brickashaw Ferguson, especially as a pass blocker, has been surprising. He has had a bad year by his standards and most starting left tackle’s standard. Today he gotten beaten clean by Greg Hardy and there was backside pressure on Geno Smith all day. Brian Winters is very much a project and isn’t ready now. He also was beaten cleanly and quickly by Hardy for a sack. The unit was able to get it together for spurts and that’s when, not surprisingly, the scoring drives occurred. Killer sacks like the one on the 1st play of the second half set a bad tone and ruin the rhythm of the offense. There are no capable backups on the team either and the line must be addressed in the offseason.
4) Special teams other than Nick Folk – The key play in this game was the punt block that the Panthers recovered inside the Jets 10 yard line. It led to a touchdown and took all of the momentum the Jets had. The play was almost a mirror image of the block Antonio Allen had to spark a Jet victory. My question is if you saw that as a problem for another team wouldn’t you look at your own unit to see if you have similar issues? The punt block wasn’t Quigley’s fault but his 44 yard average was. The Jets need to find a good college free agent or use a compensatory 7th round pick to find a long-term solution at that position. The kick return team was very close to having Ted Ginn Jr. break off two long kickoff returns before arm tackles saved them. That needs to be tightened up.