New York Jets Week 3: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly


Sep 22, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets inside linebacker Demario Davis (56) comes in for the tackle on Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets handed over their 2nd straight game, this time to the Chicago Bears 27-19. There were inefficiencies in the red zone, key mistakes and officiating blunders that led to their demise. The result is a 1-2 team that needs to reverse the momentum quickly before they dig a hole they can’t escape from. Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly:

The Good

1) Jeremy Kerley and Chris Ivory step up on offense – Kerley was Geno Smith’s go-to receiver with 7 catches for 81 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets. Ivory has developed his hands and it has shown in the passing game as he had 4 receptions for 52 yards to go along with 44 yards rushing on 10 carries. Rookie Jace Amaro had a long 44 yard catch and a key reception on a 4th and 3 to extend the final drive to finish with 3 catches for 54 yards. However, Amaro did not block well at all and his other target was a bad drop on a 3rd and 2 that forced a punt.

2) The defense played well enough to win – The Jets threw the kitchen sink at Jay Cutler. They blitzed him, they fake blitzed him, they threw coverage schemes that Jon Gruden admitted to never seeing before all to slow Cutler down. Cutler finished 23/38 for 225 yards and 2 touchdowns with no interceptions. Cutler was able to scramble to extend plays with his legs like both of his touchdown passes but also run for 14 yards leading to 3rd down conversions. The Jets held Matt Forte to 33 yards on 13 carries and most of that was late. They hit Cutler 8 times, sacking him 4 times and causing a fumble but the pressure didn’t get there consistently enough. Wilkerson had 1.5 sacks and 3 QB hits, Richardson had a sack and 2 QB hits, Harris had a strip sack and Demario Davis had a half sack and fumble recovery to go along with 12 tackles and an all around excellent game. Alshon Jeffrey had 8 catches for 105 yards but 44 of those came on a deep ball where he beat Antonio Allen. Other than Allen getting beat a couple of times and Philip Adams blowing a coverage which allowed a score the Jets depleted secondary did a pretty good job. The Bears were 7-15 on 3rd down and gave the offense good field position to work with.

3) The offensive line pass blocking holds up – Smith had a clean pocket for 30 of his 43 drop backs going 23 of 29 for 299 yards with 1 touchdown and both interceptions. He was sacked three times and hit eight times but some of those were due to holding the ball too long. Stephen Paea embarrassed Brian Winters on one play and Jared Allen had consistent pressure for the last series but other than that Smith had the time he needed to deliver.

4) Nick Folk – Folk was 4 for 4 on field goals as part of the Jets 1 for 6 effort in the red zone. Folk has been automatic and continues to be one of the best kickers in the game. He hit from 43, 28, 22 and 42 yards away.

Sep 22, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver David Nelson (86) loses the ball as Chicago Bears inside linebacker Jon Bostic (57) defends during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Bad

1) Bad Geno – Geno Smith had a game reminiscent of 2013 where his footwork and accuracy were off and he tried to force the ball into tight coverage under the guise of trying to make a play. On the 2nd play of the game Smith threw a pick-6 on a screen pass. After that he rebounded and went 14-18 for 177 yards and a touchdown to get the Jets back to within 4 points at 17-13 but once Decker was out in the 2nd half and the Jets didn’t have a reliable running game the old Geno popped up. His footwork came undone and his throws began to be off target even on the easier throws. Smith was able to lead the Jets down the field and into the red zone six times but could only covert 1 trip into a touchdown. A number of balls were thrown up for grabs and should have been intercepted and 1 was on a 1st down from the Chicago 18 as he tried to force it in to David Nelson where there was no room and it was easily intercepted by Kyle Fuller. Still after all that Smith had the ball down eight with 3 minutes to go and led the Jets down to the Bear 10 yard line but a fade to Kerley was incomplete ending a very frustrating night. Since the two-minute warning in the 1st half of the game against the Packers Smith has regressed and that has to be turned around on Sunday because he is going to have to carry the Jets with Decker most likely out.

2) Bad Chris Johnson and David Nelson – Nelson, after complaining about the distribution of passes, had seven thrown his way but he only caught 3 for 15 yards and fumbled two out of bounds. Nelson also didn’t put up much of a fight on the Smith interception in the end zone. That same rapport that he had with Smith last year is gone and they need to work on it because Nelson is the number 2 receiver while Decker is out. Chris Johnson doesn’t look like he has the burst he had. He rushed for 34 yards on 10 carries (3.4 yards per carry) and did not catch a pass out of the backfield including an awful drop with a lot of field in front of him. Johnson hasn’t been able to find a crease and create a big play yet and may find himself buried behind Ivory, who is just better right now, and Powell.

3) Playcalling too cute – Marty Mornhinweg is a creative offensive coordinator that likes to take advantage of match ups. His plays rely on a lot of different personnel groupings, a lot of fakes and double moves. Sometimes they work and he looks like a genius and sometimes they cause mistakes. Case in point the second play of game where Smith fakes a quick WR screen to one side before coming back to the other to throw another screen to Johnson. There was no need for the 1st fake as it just put added pressure on the linemen to block in different ways for a longer time than necessary (you usually block and then release downfield for a screen letting the opponent through) and made the degree of difficulty of Smith’s pass much higher than it needed to be. Smith needed to recognize it wasn’t going to work and throw it into the stands but the play call didn’t help. The other maddening call was a 3rd and goal from the 3 where the Bears were expecting run and instead of giving the ball to Ivory, who was hot at the time, Mornhinweg called a designed QB run that went nowhere. Also, the Vick package reared its ugly head again with Kerley taking one direct snap for 6 yards and Vick taking another on a sweep for 4 yards.

4) Key injuries – Muhammad Wilkerson left the game late in the 4th quarter with a knee injury. Rex Ryan says he doesn’t believe it to be serious but it is hard to know with a knee. Wilkerson was in a lot of pain before he was helped off. The Jets chose to play Eric Decker with his balky hamstring and although he had a beautiful 19 yard catch in traffic to extend a drive, Decker pulled himself out of the game when his hamstring tightened up in the 2nd quarter. He managed just 12 snaps. It is a fair question to ask whether Decker should have just rested his hammy and been ready for the Lions on Sunday.

5) Key mistakes – Combined with Smith’s mistakes, Jalen Saunders muffed a punt that he lost in the 1st quarter that led to a Bears’ touchdown, Antonio Allen not catching an interception on a tipped ball that was directly to him and could have been a pick 6, and the blown coverage by Philip Adams who left Martellus Bennett wide open for a touchdown all are game changing plays that good teams don’t have happen to them consistently. In addition the Jets got no help from the officials as Jerome Boger blew dead a play where Jay Cutler fumbled and Demario Davis returned it for a touchdown. That is completely against the league mandate for officials to let it play out if there is any doubt on fumble or down by contact. The Jets won the ball on review but lost the touchdown. There was also an inexcusable pass interference call on Darrin Walls where he played excellent defense on Alshon Jeffrey, looked back at the ball and didn’t make contact with him yet was flagged and Chicago was gifted a 1st and goal, which they converted to a touchdown.

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

The Ugly

1) The whole thing – The whole game was terrible to watch as you can see the Jets handing the game to the Bears over and over. The mistakes were maddening, the momentum swings were excruciating and you just had a bad feeling in the pit of your stomach that the Jets were going to lose as you watched. It is a very helpless feeling as a fan to know that a painful, gut punch of a loss is coming yet get fed just enough hope to think maybe it will work out before being punched again. The last two games have been horrific losses marred by terrible, inopportune mistakes that were aided by official’s blunders that effected the outcome. You leave watching the game with a bad taste in your mouth wondering what might have been.

2) Geno’s not ready to carry the team – Geno Smith just isn’t strong enough as a quarterback yet to carry the team on his back and will them to victory. He has 5 game winning drives in his 1st 2 years so don’t get me wrong the potential is there but without a better supporting cast around him he isn’t up to winning consistently against good teams. It was there for him last night, even without Decker, the Bears secondary was decimated and Smith couldn’t take advantage. He couldn’t make the one play he needed to finish a drive or two with a touchdown or avoid a game changing mistake. It’s frustrating because there are flashes there but he hasn’t shown he is ready yet. He needs to develop that skill by season’s end to show he can take that next step.