The New York Jets opened up the 2016 season with a tough loss. Although the loss is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, here are the top five plays from this Week 1 matchup.
Sep 11, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) is stopped by Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Karlos Dansby (56) during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
The New York Jets proved that they can compete with the AFC’s elite in Week 1. Although it’s tough to take moral victories from these gut-wrenching losses.
The Jets’ defense looked stellar for most of the afternoon and the running game was on point. While many fans will point to kicker Nick Folk leaving four points out on the field, the game was lost in other areas.
So without further ado, let’s get right into the top five plays from this contest. In this 23-22 loss, there were plays on offense, defense, and even special teams that deserve recognition on this list.
Every week we’ll be breaking down the top five plays of the game overall. This edition is the initial kickoff of the top five plays of Week 1.
Next: 5. Marcus Williams gets fancy
Sep 11, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill (32) scores a touchdown against New York Jets cornerback Marcus Williams (20) and linebacker Darron Lee (50) during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
5. Cornerback Marcus Williams gets fancy
While on 3rd and 15 in the middle of the third quarter, cornerback Marcus Williams had his highlight of the day. He batted the ball up and intercepted an Andy Dalton pass.
That’s one of the keys for the Jets this season. Getting turnovers and giving the offense short fields to work with.
Unfortunately, even with the short field, the Jets weren’t able to turn that into points. The ensuing field goal was blocked at the line and would play a huge factor down the stretch.
That would be the lone turnover of the game for the Jets. While Williams made a great play, the rest of the game was a reel of lowlights.
Next: 4. Sack-a-palooza
Both TDs, @TheRealMarcWill's INT and all seven sacks.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) September 11, 2016
While this seems like cheating in an article labeled top-five plays, the whole defense deserves recognition. As a result, the entire defense, particularly the defensive line dominated the trenches.
Leonard Williams wanted to improve his sack total and he almost eclipsed it. Consequently, no one on the defensive line wanted to get outdone which sparked defensive tackle Steve McLendon and defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson.
They also got involved combining for 3.5 more sacks on the afternoon. The other positive to pull away is the fact that this was against one of the better offensive lines in the NFL.
Also, the Jets will be getting defensive end Sheldon Richardson back for Thursday. In conclusion, the Jets are going to be in the upper-echelon of sack numbers, they just need the secondary to step up.
Next: 3. A.J. isn't so green
I got AJ Green a condo on Revis Island for Christmas. https://t.co/TkDEfJTtSM
— Football Santa (@NFL_Santa) September 11, 2016
3. A.J. isn’t so green
Wide receiver A.J. Green proved that he was one of the top receivers in the league on Sunday. While he is a stud and will make multiple appearances on this list, you can’t blame cornerback Darrelle Revis for this one.
While this “Revis is old” talk has been fired up again, it seems a bit premature. It didn’t matter who was covering Green on the above play, it was a ridiculous catch.
It didn’t help that the Jets didn’t do a good job communicating and the “team effort” to cover Green, failed miserably. Green dominated in every part of the route tree: short, intermediate, and as we’ll see deep.
As a result, the Jets should see the writing on the wall and prepare for opposing team’s No. 1 receivers even better. Because clearly, their game-plan against Green wasn’t very well executed.
Next: 2. Green gets behind Revis Island
Deeeeeeeeeeep TD to @AJGreen_18.
— NFL (@NFL) September 11, 2016
2. Green gets behind Revis Island
While the Jets’ defense had a ton of highlights in this game, there are still some causes for concern. Namely their propensity for giving up the big play.
Early in the second quarter on what head coach Todd Bowles called a “busted coverage”, Green got away from Revis. 54 yards to be exact and it put the Bengals on the board in a big way.
The Jets have to turn it around quickly and they face another dangerous receiver in Sammy Watkins. They can’t give up these chunk plays because it kills the defense and really takes the wind out of their sails.
The Jets should have won this game, they got after Dalton and made his day a lot tougher. When you sack the opposing quarterback seven times, you have to win a game like that.
Next: 1. Brandon La-who?
Jul 29, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Brandon LaFell (11) makes a move past cornerback Adam Jones (24) during training camp at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
1. Brandon La-who?
The name should sound very familiar to Jets fans, he was most recently with the New England Patriots. Wide receiver Brandon LaFell created a new legacy on Sunday showcasing his elite speed and solid hands.
In addition to Folk making critical errors, the defense really let the team down. LaFell burned the Jets on third and long and that was the story of the game.
Due to the down and distance, the Jets manned up and Williams couldn’t keep up with LaFell. For a team that prides itself on defense, that was a gut wrenching blow.
The Achilles’ heel for the Jets is their secondary. Communication will be key for a turnaround this season.