The New York Jets lost to the Cincinnati Bengals in a close back and forth game in Week 1. There are quite a few moments worthy of the film room following the season’s opening game.
Sep 11, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets center Nick Mangold (74) looks at the Cincinnati Bengals defense in the second half at MetLife Stadium. The Bengals defeated the Jets 23-22. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports
If there’s a quintessential example of the typical roller coaster of New York Jets fan’s emotions, Week 1 of 2016 is it. At times the Jets were flying mighty high, only to be grounded in frustration moments later.
It’ll be tough to pinpoint exactly what the Jets are following this Week 1 loss. For Jets fans and most critics, however, expectations will begin to linger on the negative side, especially when it comes to the performance in the secondary.
Nevertheless, Week 1 was a mixed bag for Gang Green. Let’s get into some of the highs and lows of Week 1.
Next: Low: Darrelle Revis and the secondary
Sep 11, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) catches a pass in front of New York Jets corner back Darrelle Revis (24) during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Low: Darrelle Revis and the secondary
Yes, A.J. Green is a stud wide receiver, but if you’re going to compete in the NFL and compete for a playoff spot, you’ve got to be better than the Jets were on Sunday. Green simply had one of his best games ever, catching 12 passes for 180 yards.
Revis’ assignments were thrown to 10 times on Sunday. Each ball was caught. Including this bomb to Green for a touchdown.
There’s something to say about the safety help on that touchdown to Green as well. There was no help up the middle, leaving a noticeably slower Revis alone to cover the streaking Bengals receiver.
All day long the Jets just couldn’t shut the door on Bengals’ receivers when the game was on the line. The most frustrating example being the third and long converted into a fourth and short that placed Cincinnati in ample field goal range for the win.
Next: High: Sack City
High: Sack City
The Jets’ defense up front was in high contrast to the secondary performance. Quarterback Andy Dalton was the victim of seven sacks, the most ever by the Jets on opening day.
Second-year defensive end Leonard Williams and newly acquired defensive tackle Steve McLendon led the way with 2.5 and 2.0 sacks respectively. Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson also joined the party adding a sack of his own.
McLendon promises to be a force for the Jets, joining the team after playing his first six seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He replaces defensive tackle Damon Harrison, who departed in the offseason for the New York Giants.
The defensive line dominated which was a silver lining in a mixed bag of defense for the Jets. Based on the upcoming schedule, the defensive line is one area the Jets must remain solid to stay relevant.
Next: Low: Missed Opportunities
Sep 11, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets kicker Nick Folk (2) kicks a extra point against the Cincinnati Bengals in the second half at MetLife Stadium. The Bengals defeated the Jets 23-22. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports
Low: Missed Opportunities
The Jets lost by one point. It wouldn’t be so frustrating had there not been four points left on the field by a blocked field goal and a missed point after touchdown.
Can we really blame kicker Nick Folk for the loss? Maybe. According to this post on SB Nation, no kicker has missed a 22-yard attempt since 2012. And this is Nick Folk, one of the best in the NFL. From that close, it’s hard to blame anyone else.
Even so, credit has to be given to the Bengals for the block. But in a game decided by one point, the missed PAT is unforgivable. Sure the PAT is longer than it used to be, but in a one score game, you have to convert.
Of all the things the Jets got wrong on Sunday, this has to be the worst, in a game decided by one point. When your defensive line is giving you all its got and the secondary is threatening to give up the lead, converting kicks is of optimal importance.
Next: High: The Jets New Forte
Sep 11, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) runs the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
High: The Jets new Forte
Right off the bat, we can take this with a grain of salt, but it’s a high nonetheless. Running back Matt Forte looked really, really good.
The salt comes in the usage. He carried the ball 22 times for 96 yards and caught five passes for 59 yards, on seven targets. He made the most of his responsibilities, and the Jets and fans hope he can manage this kind of workload throughout the season.
What should excite the Jets most of all is Forte’s ability to move fluidly out of the backfield. He had several impressive cuts, causing some Bengals’ defenders to slip in the wrong direction in addition to few broken tackles.
Honorable mention in this slide will go to running back Bilal Powell who seemed solid in a very limited showing of four carries for 41 yards. He’ll be expected to step up and share the load with Forte this season.
Next: Low: Dead Zone
Sep 11, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) looks over the Cincinnati Bengals defense in the second half at MetLife Stadium. The Bengals defeated the Jets 23-22. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports
Low: Dead Zone
Wide receiver Brandon Marshall, on the Jets red zone play on Sunday, noted in an article written by Darryl Slater of NJ.com, “That was the poorest execution I’ve ever seen on our side in the red zone since I’ve been here.” We feel you, Brandon.
The Jets, coming off one the most impressive seasons converting in the red zone in their history, converted only twice in five trips to within 20 or less. In 2015, the Jets ranked 3rd in red zone efficiency. That was nowhere to be seen on Sunday.
Much can said about the play calling on Sunday in the red zone. At one point in the third quarter the Jets lined up with no backs on the one-yard line in what smelled like a quarterback sneak from the other side of the country. No one, especially the Bengals’ defense, was falling for that. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was stopped well short.
If the Jets hope to compete this year, the red zone performance must improve. Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey needs to improve on a quick turnaround as the Jets open up Week 2 on Thursday.
Next: High: Quincy Enunwa
Aug 11, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) gains yards during the first half of the preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
High: Quincy Enunwa
From the opening play of the Jets’ offense, it felt like wide receiver Quincy Enunwa was destined for a greater role on offense. Of all things, Enunwa ran the ball on a sweep to open the 2016 season.
Enunwa finished the day with a career-high 54 yards on seven catches with eight targets. He also recorded his first career touchdown.
Without a legit tight end, Enunwa figures to factor heavily into the Jets’ offense. His athleticism out of the slot creates a legit third threat outside of wide receivers Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall.
In an up and down day for the offense, Enunwa provides a silver lining moving forward for the Jets. Enunwa can be the sleeper factor for the Jets and fantasy players alike.