The New York Jets defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 25-17 in a very sloppy, penalty-filled game. The Jets were without Eric Decker, Chris Ivory, Jalen Saunders and Jeff Cumberland on offense and Dee Milliner, Dimitri Patterson and Dexter McDougle on defense. The team showed their depth and resolve in coming back from a 17-3 deficit to get the win. How did it happen? Here are the good, the bad and the ugly:
1) Geno Smith’s continued improvement - Geno Smith’s numbers at first glance look pedestrian (10-13 98 yards 0 touchdowns 1 interception 3 carries 21 yards 1 touchdown) but his decision-making, footwork, progression through multiple receivers and accuracy have improved over last year. His interception wasn’t a bad read or forced into double coverage but a miscommunication between he and Nelson on which way Nelson should have turned. That’s a preseason error that can be easily worked out. I also don’t want to hear that Smith’s touchdown drive vs. the Bengals starters was too short, that wasn’t his fault his defense created a turnover giving him the short field which he capitalized on which occurs in real games. In addition, Smith looked good without his number one wide receiver (Eric Decker), running back (Chris Ivory), and tight end (Jeff Cumberland). 16 points on 6 drives is not bad at all. Still a lot of work to do but Smith is definitely a bright spot.
2) Calvin Pryor debuts to rave reviews - Jets 1st round draft pick Calvin Pryor entered the game in the 2nd quarter and played the remainder of the game after sitting out game one with lingering effects from a concussion earlier in camp. There was no rust on Pryor as he recovered a fumble caused by a Demario Davis sack in his 1st series then separated the ball from a receiver with a big hit, knocked down a pass while blitzing on 3rd down, got a tackle for loss against the run and was active in coverage. Plus he didn’t get injured. He couldn’t have had a better 1st game as he showcased all he can bring to the table for the Jets.
3) The offensive line play improves - After having communication breakdowns that caused sacks in game 1, the offensive line kept Smith, Vick and Boyd on their feet for the game and held Cincinnati without a sack. Even more important than that they opened holes in the running game with 124 yards gained on 18 carries in the 1st half (6.9 yards per carry average) with two touchdowns and overall they had 34 carries for 159 yards (5 yards per carry). Chris Johnson looked very good running for 63 yards on 10 carries and catching another twi balls. Bilal Powell had 41 yards on four carries, including a 32 yard carry on a read option handoff up the middle and a couple of receptions for 13 yards. Daryl Richardson looked very quick especially in the open field as he had a 26 yard catch on a screen to convert a 3rd and 25 as well as 23 yards on seven carries. Jace Amaro and Greg Salas were receivers who showed improved play.