The New York Jets were sloppy in all aspects against the Cincinnati Bengals as it had a huge impact to start the season off with a loss.
The New York Jets had a disappointing start to the season, to say the least. The 23-22 loss in the home opener marked the first time the Jets lost an opening day game since 2010. The Jets looked sloppy on all ends of the field, from Nick Folk‘s blocked field goal and missing the extra point, to wide receiver Brandon Marshall dropping a wide open pass at the end.
Cornerback Darrelle Revis letting up 180 yards and a deep 54-yard touchdown to A.J. Green was a hard sight to see. The only bright spot for this otherwise disconcerting loss was the immediate impact the new faces made to the team in game one, including Matt Forte, Steve McLendon, Darron Lee, and Jalin Marshall.
Beginning with the backfield, Forte had an outstanding game. Forte was signed by the Jets in early March after the Chicago Bears decided not to re-sign him to a new contract. Forte’s statistics speak for themselves.
In Sunday’s showdown with Cincinnati, he carried the ball 22 times for 96 yards, and led all Jets’ receivers, with 5 catches for 59 yards. He proved his versatility while still remaining one of the best dual-threat backs in the game.
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Forte fought hard on every down and was shifty, unwilling to be brought down by tackles and was instrumental in his role as a safety target when Fitzpatrick got pressured.
Forte will look to build on his success this Thursday night against Rex Ryan‘s Buffalo Bills, who aren’t notorious for having the strongest run defense, opening the window for another big day for Forte.
The other bright spot for the Jets’ today was the play of Marshall on the special teams.
Marshall was one of the biggest question marks all preseason as to whether he was going to make the cut.
After going undrafted out of Ohio State, the Jets groomed him to be a force on the kickoff for special teams, one of the Jets’ biggest deficiencies the past few years.
Marshall had three kickoff returns Sunday against the Bengals for 110 yards, an average of 36.7 per return. He returned one early in the game for 65 yards and put the Jets in great field position, breaking multiple tackles along the way. He also had two targets from Fitzpatrick on the offensive side of the ball, both of which drew pass interference plays on the defense.
His burst of speed gives the Jets’ special teams something they really haven’t had in almost a decade when Leon Washington was the man in the back. Marshall will look to build upon his strong first career game and further mature as the season progresses.
Defense is what characterized the Jets’ performance Sunday. Despite allowing 23 points in the contest, the team had an interception from cornerback Marcus Williams and an incredible seven sacks. Both players, new to the Jets’ defensive system, Lee, and former Steeler McLendon dominated. Although Lee’s first NFL game almost ended early when he went down with a
Although Lee’s first NFL game almost ended early when he went down with a lower-body injury, he didn’t miss a snap and helped make some big plays throughout the game. He finished the day with six tackles and great coverage on Bengals’ receiving back, Giovani Bernard, who was limited to just two catches for five yards. McLendon, on the other hand, had
Sep 11, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive tackle Steve McLendon (99) sacks Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
McLendon, on the other hand, had a game of the day for the entire defense in the NFL today. Taking over for defensive tackle Damon Harrison, who parted ways with the Jets this past offseason in free agency, McLendon’s play was so outstanding, that it appears we upgraded by signing him. He had five tackles, three of which went for a loss, and two sacks on quarterback Andy Dalton.
He was a force on the field and his large frame and speed gave the Jets a faster look in the middle of the line. With defensive end Sheldon Richardson set to return shortly, it will be interesting to see how the Jets integrate him into the already stellar unit. This defensive line resembles the dominant years of the “Sack Exchange”.
Despite the great play from the new additions, the Jets certainly need to find their rhythm and they need to quickly. A frustrated Todd Bowles took the podium after the game: “We had a bunch of times to win the ballgame offensively, defensively and on special teams,” Bowles said, per CBS Local Sports. “Each group made their mistakes, but we’re not going to sit here and lick our wounds.”
The Jets have a game in just four days as they travel to Buffalo for Thursday Night Football against the Bills. With a short work week, there is no time to hang their heads down. The new additions showed great promise in their performances in Week 1 and hopefully will continue this success throughout the year. For all the Gang Green fans out there: it is far from over.