Aug 22, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) steps to pass as New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) closes in during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
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The Jets lost a horrible game to the Bears 27-19. Multiple mistakes both by the Jets and the referees prevented the Jets from winning the game. Geno Smith needs to play better than this. How did it happen? Here are the quick hits:
1) The game couldn’t have started worse – On the 1st series Geno Smith threw an interception on a fake screen throwback to a backside screen. It was an awful throw and play call. After the Jets force a Bear three and out deep in Chicago territory, Jalen Saunders muffed a punt at the 49 yard line which Chicago recovered. Then Chicago got a gift with one of the worst pass interference calls I have ever seen called on Darrin Walls which gave the Bears a 1st and goal. The converted it for a touchdown on a 3rd and goal pass to Martellus Bennett. Just like that it was 14-0.
2) But then… – Geno Smith caught fire and went 14-18 for 177 yards and a touchdown after the interception leading the Jets on 3 long drives. Smith finished the 1st half 14-21 188 yards 1 TD 1 INT. The defense, although leaky at times, only allowed a field goal after that to make the halftime score 17-13 Chicago.
3) Then again… – Smith was sailing along until a horrible interception thrown into the end zone to David Nelson. Smith had scrambled around and no one was open and he forced it to Nelson but he never had any room to fit the ball. Then the Jets got the ball back at the Bear 29 but could only muster a field goal drive. Smith was accurate again for the most part although there were many throws that were placed incorrectly. Smith could have been intercepted a couple of other times. He wasn’t terrible by any stretch and had to take the team completely on his shoulders but Geno needs to play better and avoid mistakes. This game felt like last year.
4) Officiating gaffes – The Jets got a terrible whistle in the 1st half with two game-changing plays officiated incorrectly resulting in a 14 point swing. The pass interference on Darrin Walls was beyond awful as Walls played the ball and the receiver but was called for a foul when Jeffrey held his arm. During the 2 minute drill David Harris came clean up the middle and strip sacked Jay Cutler with Demario Davis returning it for what appeared to be a go ahead touchdown. Instead the referee blew the play dead and although replay reversed the call and awarded it to the Jets they had to start a drive at the 46 instead of having a 19-17 with an extra point pending.
5) Run game can’t get going again – The Jets only had 47 yards rushing and 3.6 yards per carry in the 1st half. Both Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory were ineffective as the Bears stacked the box. Believe or not the Jet running back that was a factor catching the ball out of the backfield was Chris Ivory who suddenly has hands this year. Ivory caught 4 balls for 52 yards.
6) Defense can’t get enough pressure consistently – The Jets threw some exotic stuff at Jay Cutler, including lining Quinton Coples and Calvin Pace out wide to jam Brandon Marshall, they blitzed and they bluffed but Cutler had too much time to pick apart the secondary. Jon Gruden, a Superbowl winning coach, admitted to never having seen some of the looks. In the end the Jets needed to get home faster. Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson got into the backfield often but the pressure wasn’t often enough.
Sep 22, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Chicago Bears defensive tackle Ego Ferguson (95) sacks New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
7) Key mistakes – Geno Smith’s pick 6 in the 1st minute, Smith’s inexplicable red zone interception, a muffed punt, Allen not catching a pop up interception, Philip Adams’ blown coverage on Bennett’s 2nd touchdown were all inexcusable game-changing plays. Through three weeks this has been a recurrent theme unfortunately as it is something the team wanted to improve on. The Jets could have been 0-3 because of these errors and they would have been 3-0 without them.
8) Not finishing drives – 1/6 in the red zone. The Jets had 4 field goals with none being longer than 43 yards meaning that the team was in an area of the field where they needed to put touchdowns up not field goals. Eric Decker missed the 2nd half and it showed. Other than Jeremy Kerley and check downs to Chris Ivory there were no reliable receivers and very little space to throw but Chicago had terrible injury problems in their secondary so there is no excuse.
9) Iffy play calling – Mornhinweg continually tries to get too cute with his play calling. Whether it is continuing to use a Vick package that just isn’t working, or calling plays that have multiple fakes, or calling a quarterback keeper in a power running situation. Sometimes simple play calling is best, line up with your best against their best and power run against a team that has trouble stopping it. If they stack the box you spread them out then run the ball.
10) Injuries – Muhammad Wilkerson left in a lot of pain after colliding with Calvin Pace while sacking Cutler in the 4th quarter. Eric Decker re-injured his hamstring at the end of the 1st half. Jalen Saunders injured his shoulder muffing a punt. The list of inactives was led by Dee Milliner, who did warm up and try to give it ago, and includes AJ Edds, TJ Barnes, Dakota Dozier, IK Enemkpali, Ben Ijalana and Walter Powell.