The Jets defeated the Giants last night 24-21 in overtime to claim the Snoopy Bowl. It was a rough game for the Jets offensively but a very good one defensively and with that said here is the good, the bad and the ugly.
1) The Jets defensive line – The Jets dominated the Giants poor offensive line last night as Muhammad Wilkerson, Damon Harrison, and Sheldon Richardson were consistently in the backfield whether it be blowing up the running game or pressuring Eli Manning. After an opening play 84 yard touchdown run the Jets held the Giants to 55 yards on 22 carries many of them were late when the 3rd stringers were in. Eli Manning finished 8/20 for 83 yards and looked confused by what the Jets were throwing at him. Wilkerson was lined up as a linebacker on a few plays where he rushed the quarterback. The Jets got sacks from Richardson, Leger Douzable and Tevita Finau.
2) Geno Smith’s 2 touchdown drives – Geno Smith definitely played like a rookie last night and one that might need to hold a clipboard for a while until he is ready but there were bright spots. Smith was poised and looked in control on two touchdown drives that he led. The first was an 8 play 86 yard drive on the Jets second possession where Smith went 4/5 for 41 yards and a 22 yard touchdown to Ben Obomanu that required some patience for him to get open. The next scoring drive Geno led was the one to start the 3rd quarter where he was 3/3 for 50 yards in a 7 play 62 yard drive capped off by a Bilal Powell touchdown run out of the wildcat. Smith also showed deft touch on a couple of screen pass, threw a nice deep ball to Hill for 32 yards, and has a good, strong arm.
3) Receiver standouts – Ben Obamanu had another good game with 3 catches for 56 yards and a touchdown. Obamanu has found the ability to get open either in man or find a spot in a zone. That coupled with his special team ability will probably garner him a roster spot. Stephen Hill caught all 4 of the balls sent his way for 56 yards including a 32 yard catch from Smith. Hill lost his cool and was baited into an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and fumbled his final catch of the game. I think Hill’s hands and route running are definitely improved over last year and he will benefit from Santonio Holmes coming back and less attention focused on him defensively. Ryan Spadola continues to impress having 3 catches for 110 yards including the go-ahead touchdown with 2 minutes to go on a laser from Simms as well as a 70 yard grab in overtime on a scramble play that set up the game winning field goal. Spadola had a ball he caught from Smith ripped out of his arms by Amukamara for an interception. The ball was slightly behind Spadola but he should have been strong enough to not let the defender steal the ball from him. Kellen Winslow also had a nice night and cemented his roster spot with 4 catches for 35 yards. He has a nice chemistry with Smith and is a good safety valve to have.
4) Robert Malone nailed down the punting job with an excellent showing with 4 punts averaging nearly 57 yards per kick. The kicks had good hang time as well. Quigley shanked one punt and only averaged 37 yards per punt on his 4 chances.
5) Santonio Holmes ran at full speed and cut hard in the pregame and looked very good doing it according to those watching him. Holmes was activated from the PUP list on Friday and should begin practice this week.
Aug 24, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez leaves the field with a shoulder injury during the fourth quarter against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Munson/The Star-Ledger via USA TODAY Sports
1) Geno Smith’s miscues – Smith threw 3 interceptions Saturday night and stepped out of the back of the endzone for a safety. He also stared down receivers and took too long getting rid of the ball on some occasions. The first interception was on a slant to Spadola where it was slightly behind Spadola and Prince Amukamara ripped it out of his hands for the pick. The second ball was a terrible throw made under extreme pressure that went right to Giants’ safety Stevie Brown, who tore his ACL during the return. The third pick was on a quick out to Winslow where he was covered and the window was small. Not only that Smith never saw Justin Tuck dropping into coverage as part of a zone blitz and Tuck was able to intercept it. The last interception was especially troubling because Geno had just completed a long ball to Hill and had momentum in the drive. On the safety he was pushed up against the goal line and the Giants called an all-out blitz. Smith tried to escape but stepped out of the back of the end zone as he tried to throw it away. He needed to have the awareness of where he was on the field but it would have been a safety anyway because it would have been intentional grounding because he was not outside the tackle box.
2) The Jets running game – The Jets just had 39 yards on 29 carries which adds up to 1.3 yards per carries which is terrible. The blocking just wasn’t there as the Jets really struggled at the guard position. Both Winters and Colon were getting pushed back and that left Mangold and the tackles having to help out and the results were disastrous. Bilal Powell had 11 carries for 16 yards and Chris Ivory had 8 carries for 15 yards. The only time the running game picked up were on a couple of wildcat plays that netted Powell 6 on one and a short touchdown on the second. Ducasse was lost to injury early in this game and the Jets need to figure out quickly if they have a starting guard from Peterman, Winters or Ducasse or do they need to make a move from upcoming roster cuts. Winters is behind both by being raw to start with and missing the 1st two preseason games due to injury. Peterman hasn’t played well but at least the line was cohesive last week when he started. Ducasse has played well, especially against the run but Ducasse is no savior especially with his awful pass blocking.
3) Other poor performances – Joe McKnight never even saw the field despite supposedly being healthy. This is a sign that his spot is in jeopardy and Mike Goodson might soon return. Kyle Wilson looked overmatched against outside receivers getting called for 3 penalties and allowing a long completion to Hakeem Nicks. Jeremy Kerley has had a case of the drops this preseason and Saturday he had 2 more. Kerley needs to be a sure handed player because he has the ability to get open and open quickly which is a necessity in this offense. The second team offensive line were dreadful and could not protect Sanchez (see below). Clyde Gates has disappeared and his guaranteed roster spot doesn’t seem so safe anymore. Gates did not return kicks after his success last week. The Jets will continue to scout the waiver wire even after picking up Mohammad Massaquoi this week.
4) Injuries – Vladimir Ducasse left this game early but reports are that he is fine. Stephen Hill went for x-rays on a sore wrist, the x-rays were negative. Antonio Cromartie sat out as a precaution after the 1st quarter with a sore hip. Sheldon Richardson left the game with a minor injury.
1) Mark Sanchez’s injury – Sanchez came into the game with 12 minutes left in the 4th quarter along with the second team offensive line. Sanchez was repeatedly getting hit through both of his series and in the second series took a nasty hit from Marvin Austin that caused a shoulder injury. According to reports, the x-rays were negative for broken bones and the MRI today was inconclusive. The Jets reported Sunday evening that Sanchez was “day-to-day” and would not play in the preseason finale which he probably wouldn’t have played in anyway. Adam Schefter of ESPN tweeted Sanchez has a bruised right shoulder joint. That isn’t an injury that should keep him out very long. The Jets need Sanchez to get them through the early part of the season while Smith watches and learns from the sidelines. I don’t love the decision to put Sanchez in the game there knowing he probably had won the job already based on Smith’s performance but it is not as big of a deal as it is being made out to be. Sanchez was told he was going to play this week after Smith so he should have been ready and injuries could happen anytime.