New York Jets Week 11: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly


Wilkerson is just one of the many young studs on the Jets defensive line

The Jets were blown out yesterday in Buffalo 37-14. They were outplayed in all facets of the game including being out coached. They once again failed to win two games in a row and dropped back to 5-5. Here is the good, the bad & the ugly:

1) Jets run defense – The Jets once again were stout in stopping the run this time holding the pair of CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson to 25 carries for 40 yards which is an average of 1.6 yards per carry. Wilkerson, Coples, Harrison and Richardson were excellent against the run combining for 33 tackles and three tackles for loss. This is the 2nd consecutive positive game for Quinton Coples as he had two quarterback hits as well as his play against the run. Sheldon Richardson had an amazing play where he read the screen as he was running toward the quarterback then reversed field and was able to tackle Fred Jackson for a loss.

2) No major injuries – The Jets came out of this game relatively healthy except for their pride. Geno Smith was knocked around like a piñata and may have minor chest and right hand injuries. The Jets got Santonio Holmes, Jeff Cumberland and Kellen Winslow back and only Holmes made a major contribution. He had 2 catches for 71 yards which ended up being 70% of the passing yards. The problem is he was targeted 8 times and two of the throws to him were intercepted as Smith locked in on Holmes all day instead of spreading around better. Cumberland had 3 catches for 25 yards and a meaningless touchdown late in the 4th quarter. Winslow had 1 catch for 17 yards on only 1 target and he did not look happy about it.

3) Chris Ivory – Chris Ivory had a good day statistically going for 15 carries for 98 yards and a touchdown. He had a 69 yard carry late where he showed great speed and power and for that and his 1 yard touchdown run on a 4th and goal to get the team temporarily within 13 points in the 3rd quarter. Aside from that he had 13 carries for 28 yards which is 2.2 yards per carry. It seems that it was more the offensive line losing the upfront battles than Ivory being off his game.

4) Everyone else in the playoff race lost too except Miami – Baltimore lost at Chicago, Cleveland lost at Cincinnati, San Diego lost at Miami and Tennessee lost at home against the Colts dropping all of those teams to 4-6 a game behind the Jets. Miami’s win ties them with the Jets but since they play each other twice before the end of the season the Jets still control their own destiny but after a day like today the playoffs seem a long way away.

The Bad

1) Rex Ryan and Marty Mornhinweg were out coached – When you play a team a second time especially after you embarrass them putting up 513 yards of offense they are going to make adjustments. When you sack their quarterback eight times and dominate defensively they will make adjustments. Nathaniel Hackett and Mike Pettine made adjustments and Rex Ryan and Marty Mornhinweg were not prepared for them. On offense EJ Manuel was flawless finishing 20-28 for 245 yards and 2 touchdowns. In the first half without their top 2 wide receivers the Jets blitzed and played off the wide receivers which wasn’t a good combination as Manuel was able to make quick throws to open receivers. The touchdown throw in the 1st half was a ball flung up for grabs by Manuel on a 3rd down that Milliner had good coverage on Graham but Milliner turned the wrong way and Graham saw it was an underthrow and made the adjustment for the touchdown. In the second half the Jets pressed the Bills receivers and Buffalo adjusted by throwing deep with Graham beating Milliner for 40 yards followed by Goodwin beating Cromartie for 43 yards and a touchdown. For those wondering on the Milliner throw Dawan Landry was the deep safety that came into the picture late and on the Cromartie one Reed was helping Milliner on the other side of the field. Defensively Buffalo took away the Jets run game and blitzed Geno Smith like crazy and the more they hit Smith the more he locked on to his receivers and turnovers followed. The Bills held the Jets to 3 yards per carry without the late 69 yard run by Ivory included which left the Jets in 2nd and 3rd and long situations. Buffalo sacked Smith 4 times, pressured him at least 9 times and hit him 8 times. Mornhinweg had no answer he had relied on the offensive line winning the battles in the trenches.

2) The team was overconfident and paid for it – As David Nelson said after the game the team remains inconsistent because of a lack of maturity. The Jets have a ton of young players on both sides of the ball but they need leaders to step up among them. On defense it was thought that Demario Davis, David Harris, Muhammad Wilkerson and Antonio Cromartie were the leaders but whatever they are doing isn’t working because they are dominating one week then getting picked apart the next. On offense Geno Smith and the offensive line have been up and down as well. Veterans like Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson along with Smith himself need to be the ones to right the ship. These leaders need to be able to tell the players every week to not believe the headlines or the hype to stay focused and be professional every week. There is only so much the coaching staff can do to motivate the team, the leaders need to do the rest.

3) No pass rush and poor corner play together are a big problem – As was opined on Twitter after the game today that as the defensive line goes so goes the defense. If they are blocked and ineffective then the secondary will be picked apart. If they get pressure and sacks that helps the secondary attack more and the defense moves towards being elite. Today the Jets had no pass rush. The 1 sack they recorded was a gift because Manuel was scrambling anyway and Pace pushed him out a 1/2 yard behind the scrimmage. They registered 4 quarterback hits but they were not impactful for the most part.  Antonio Allen got beaten more than a few times covering Hogan or Chandler, Harris got burnt by Chandler for 31 yards, Cromartie played a bit better but once again allowed a long touchdown pass against him. Milliner got beat twice on long throws the first was good coverage with a technique flaw at the end that had him lose sight of the ball and fail to make the key adjustment, while the 2nd touchdown he did not have the closing speed to catch up with Graham.

4) Remembering what the expectations were/are – When the season started most everyone thought this was a rebuilding year and the team would win 4-8 games tops. It was about evaluating and developing the young players as well as the coaching staff. It was a team Frankensteined together without a lot of cap space that had talent but also a lot of holes. At 5-4 going into the bye everyone, myself included, began to get a bit carried away and raise the expectation level to the point where a lack of a playoff appearance would be a disappointment. Slow down. This team still has a rookie quarterback that has been more down than up this year, a left guard that is not competent, and a very inconsistent secondary. If they come back and beat Baltimore then make a run like 2009 that is great but the most important thing remains to evaluate and develop the young players. Let’s not forget that.

Nov 17, 2013; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills outside linebacker Manny Lawson (91) tackles New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Jets 37-14. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The Ugly

1) Geno Smith’s day – Smith finished his day 8/23 for 103 yards with 0 touchdowns, 3 interceptions and 2 fumbles (1 lost). The problem was that he was hit so hard especially in the 1st half that he began to speed up his process which affected his accuracy as he was consistently high with the ball. As Buffalo gained a bigger lead and the running game wasn’t working he tried to force things. He locked in on his receivers (usually Santonio Holmes who had 2 catches on 8 targets) didn’t look off or see the safety allowing Jarius Byrd 2 interceptions and his day was culminated with a pick 6 on a screen pass. These are not new things these are the recurring problems that Smith has had in his brief career. While making the playoffs would be nice, finding out if Smith is the quarterback of the future is the biggest question the Jets have to answer. That cannot be accomplished if Smith is benched for complete games. It is silly to put Simms in, who has never faced starters that weren’t playing a prevent defense, to try and win games when you need to find out how Smith does throughout a full season. How Smith responds to this bad stretch of games he has had since the second New England game will determine his fate as the quarterback of the future as well the fates of Mornhinweg and possibly Ryan.