Sep 29, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (29) carries the ball against the Tennessee Titans during the first half at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
The Jets fell to 2-2 getting blown out by the Tennessee Titans 38-13. There is plenty of blame to go around from the offensive line to the secondary but the lion’s share of the blame falls on rookie quarterback Geno Smith who had four turnovers and could have had many more. Here is the good, the bad and the ugly from this week:
1) Bilal Powell – Bilal Powell had 14 rushes for 66 yards and three receptions for 42 yards. Once again his quickness and agility shown through on his runs no where more prevalent than his 35 yard reception that he made from a dump off. Powell took the ball, turned up field then juked some defenders and ran clear across field extending the play and gaining more yards. Powell was the best running back on the field today and that field had Chris Johnson on it, a former 2,000 yard back.
2) The run defense – The aforementioned Chris Johnson had 15 carries for 21 yards and became the 4th consecutive quality running back that the Jets have rendered useless. His first two carries were for 12 yards so the remaining ones were 13 carries for nine yards. Damon Harrison, Sheldon Richardson, Muhammad Wilkerson, Demario Davis and Leger Douzable all made their living in the backfield. Calvin Pace and Garrett McIntyre both did an excellent job of setting the edge. It is pretty safe to say that no team will beat the Jets by running the football this year barring injuries. Demario Davis had a standout game going for nine tackles (eight solo) including a tackle for loss. The team had six tackles for loss.
3) Nick Folk – Folk kicked two 40+ yard field goals and was routinely kicking the ball out of the end zone on kickoffs. Folk has yet to miss this year and is 8-8 on field goals. Ryan Quigley also had a good day punting averaging 49 yards and not allowing many returns.
Sep 29, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans defensive end Ropati Pitoitua (92) sacks New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) during the first half at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
1) The secondary – The secondary turned Jake Locker into Joe Montana on Sunday. Locker finished 18/24 for 149 yards and three touchdowns. The numbers don’t do him justice because he shredded the Jets secondary especially picking on Darrin Walls who had a very rough afternoon. The last play of the first half was indicative of this. With less than 10 seconds left in the half Locker threw a jump ball up to Justin Hunter and it looked like Walls had good position but he could not spot the ball and Hunter was able to out jump him for the backbreaking touchdown. The Titans turned four Jets turnovers into 28 points. Late in the game Cromartie got beat on a double move by Nate Washington then caught up when it was under thrown by Fitzpatrick, but couldn’t really locate the ball, then when he did, he couldn’t fully jump to deflect it. In an odd sequence, both he and the receiver ran into an official who decided not to get out-of-the-way even though the ball was in the air longer than some punts. This distraction allowed Washington to make the catch and prevented Cromartie from catching him. It was that kind of day. Dawan Landry took poor angles all day and seemed to be out of position even in his tackling. This team needs a healthy Dee Milliner to play like he did in his limited snaps against the Bills and his time at Alabama because there is just not enough quality in the secondary this year and the pass rush won’t save the Jets every week.
2) The offensive line – The pass blocking of the offensive line was atrocious with the exception of D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Gregg Williams’ blitz packages both confused and overwhelmed the line. Smith was sacked five times, hit 11 more and pressured all day into bad decisions. Vladimir Ducasse played terribly and might have started his last game as Rex Ryan might turn to Brian Winters against the Falcons. Geno Smith needs a clean pocket in order to be effective and too many times today he didn’t get it.
3) Penalties, again – The Jets racked up 10 penalties for 66 yards including 7 for 55 yards in the first half alone. They had a costly illegal hands to the face penalty on Willie Colon that negated a 3rd down conversion that would have given the Jets a 1st down at the Titans 20 in the second quarter. Then, an illegal shift penalty right after that almost cost them the field goal. The Jets also racked up two more personal fouls, one was a stupid post play shove by Ben Obamanu on a kickoff that cost them precious field position and the other on a very questionable late hit call on Garrett McIntyre that extended a Titans drive. The Jets need to play physical football but it needs to be disciplined as well.
4) Injuries – Stephen Hill left the game in the first quarter with a head injury when he did not see a block coming after a Geno Smith interception, his status is unknown. Santonio Holmes left the game with a hamstring injury in the 4th quarter and was very slow to walk off the field. Hill and Holmes are playmakers on a team that is nearly bereft of them and they need both back as soon as possible if they want to be competitive. Jake Locker of the Titans left the game in the 3rd quarter with a serious hip injury after a hit from Muhammad Wilkerson that made him pinball off of Quinton Coples on the way down. The hit wasn’t flagged but it looked a half second late and Wilkerson led with his helmet so he probably will be fined.
Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
1) Geno Smith’s ball security – Geno Smith threw two interceptions and lost two fumbles and did it in away that gave the Jets no chance to win this game today. On the last of Smith’s fumbles he was going to take a sack on the goal line but as he fell he tried to switch the ball between his hands behind his back and obviously he lost the ball and it was recovered for a touchdown. That was after he drifted back so far on a failed screen that when he was sacked he came within an inch of having it be a safety. He also lost a first half fumble when he was scrambling for a first down and had it punched out while he carried it haphazardly in one hand. The first interception was forced into a tight space but it might not have been his fault completely because Stephen Hill ran an indifferent route that didn’t help. The second interception was a forced throw to Holmes when there was no room. The way Smith holds the ball and his lack of awareness of where he is on the field is troubling. The Titans cashed in all four turnovers for touchdowns giving them 28 extra points. The defense could not save the day this time. There will be ups and downs and hopefully there won’t be days this bad going forward.
2) Takeaways? – For the 3rd straight game the Jets did not force a turnover. For all of the pressure and havoc this defense causes they need to take the ball away more often. Geno Smith needs all the help he can get right now and the defense, while getting off the field well, needs to take the ball away and give the offense a short field. Every drive cannot be 60+ yards for a touchdown, it is too difficult on any offense. The Jets have consistently lost the field position battle as well because of the lack of turnovers as well as the fact they are getting nothing from punt and kickoff returns. Jeremy Kerley is one of the worst punt returners in the league. He shows no burst or lateral quickness and either fair catches the ball or is tackled nearly immediately. The new kickoff rules have made kickoff returners virtually useless anyway but when Gates has had the chance he has been underwhelming and barely reaches the 20 if he does at all. Mike Goodson returns against Atlanta and his job needs to be returner. He can spell Powell and catch some balls on 3rd down but he can make the most difference as a returner. He has successfully returned kicks in the past but he needs to be able to return punts as well because the alternative is disgusting.