The New York Jets suffered a heartbreaking loss in Week 6 at the hands of their division rivals, the New England Patriots, due in part to a controversial call. Besides the controversy, what specific players are to blame for this harrowing defeat?
The New England Patriots defeated the New York Jets by a final score of 24-17 in Week 6. That’s what the record books will say, but that’s not what people will be talking about.
WIth 8:31 left in the game, quarterback Josh McCown dumped the ball off to tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the flats who proceeded to charge upfield through defenders and break the plane to score a huge touchdown that would’ve shifted momentum.
Instead, the play was reviewed and overturned as the referees insisted that Seferian-Jenkins did not have complete control of the ball and that he had fumbled it into the end zone and thus the touchdown was taken away and the ball was given to New England on a touchback.
Apart from that atrocity, the Jets were beaten in the trenches all game long. They struggled to get any sort of a pass rush on Tom Brady finishing the day with zero sacks and failed to get any sort of a run game going as the offensive line got manhandled by a sub-par Patriots front-seven.
Which individual players are to blame for Sunday’s heart-rendering loss? Let’s begin.
Next: 5. Buster Skrine
5. Cornerback Buster Skrine
To be fair, veteran Buster Skrine may very well have had his best game of the year on Sunday. This, however, isn’t enough to keep him off this list.
Skrine honestly played pretty well for the majority of the game. He got beat on a couple of plays but had a nice interception in the second quarter on a pass intended for the speedy Phillip Dorsett. All in all, it was a decent day in coverage for the former Cleveland Brown who has struggled mightily this year.
But Skrine is on this list for his actions on one particular play.
The score was 14-0 and the Jets had all the momentum in the middle of the first quarter. Brady tried to fit a pass in to his tight end Rob Gronkowski on a quick out route when Skrine jumped the route and put both of his hands on the football…..only to drop the ball both literally and figuratively.
Brady and the Patriots went on to score the first of their 24 unanswered points on that drive and completely changed the momentum of the game. There’s no telling what happens if Skrine picks that pass off.
All we know now is that, as the old football idiom goes, there’s a reason he’s a defensive back and not a wide receiver.
Next: 4. Jamal Adams
4. Safety Jamal Adams
Asking any human being on this planet to try and cover Gronkowski one-on-one is like remembering to take the chicken out of the freezer…..it’s just too much damn responsibility for one person Mom!
That being said, Adams followed up last week’s mediocre performance with the worst outing of his career on Sunday as Gronk had his way with the rookie out of LSU beating him multiple times throughout the game. One of which resulted in a touchdown on a quick 2-yard out route while on another Adams was called for defensive pass interference which set up a quick 1-yard TD run by Dion Lewis.
The latter isn’t as concerning because as we’ve established it’s a lot to ask of a rookie to cover the NFL’s resident leviathan, but the former demonstrated a small flaw in Adams’ game. Gronk was quick to the outside but Adams was slow in recognizing the play route which gave the star tight end an extra step en route (no pun intended) to an easy score.
Adams is still adjusting to the speed of the NFL game and it was made apparent on that one play. It’s a common theme for rookies to be a little slow in play recognition as skills like that become more polished and refined with experience.
This isn’t anything to be too worried about, however, as it appears the Jets do have a future star on their hands in Adams. He just needs to cut back on the missed tackles and adapt more to the speed of the play in the NFL.
Sunday’s game was merely a step in the maturation of a young and talented budding superstar.
Next: 3. The Officiating Crew
3. The Officiating Crew
Listen, I understand that this isn’t an individual player, but with these last three entries, we’re going to break some of the pre-set guidelines for this article series.
Now this entry isn’t intended to bash the officiating in the NFL as I’m sure you could find many articles on that online elsewhere, especially following Sunday’s game. Rather this is an objective look at the controversial call made during the Jets game against the Patriots and how it contributed to their ultimate demise.
Got it? Good.
Whether you agree with it or not, there is no denying that the call made on the field hindered the Jets chances at winning and may have very well cost them the game. For this very reason, the officiating crew ends up at number three on this list.
Alright, enough beating around the bush here. It was a bad call. There are no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. The referees got the call wrong and the outcome hurt the Jets…..bad. Here is a video of the play in question if by some chance you haven’t seen it yet.
— FanSportsClips (@FanSportsClips) October 15, 2017
There is absolutely no way that there is conclusive enough evidence to overturn the call made on the field which was a touchdown. The ball is clearly bobbled by Seferian-Jenkins but he is able to regain possession and hit the pylon with the ball still in his hands. Somehow, the officiating crew, however, felt that there was enough evidence to overturn the ruling on the field and rule the play a touchback and New England ball.
This was the statement from referee Tony Corrente on the ruling, per John B of Gang Green Nation:
“When he lost the ball short of the goal line, when he lost the ball, he re-gained control but that doesn’t mean he possesses the ball. He doesn’t possess the ball until he’s completed going to the ground now and re-controlling the ball, which he did not survive the ground, which is why it wasn’t a touchdown. Had he never lost control of the ball in the first place, you would have a touchdown. But because he lost the ball and now has to re-establish control of the ball, that was the period of time.”
So essentially, the officials are saying that he loses control of the ball twice, once while he was an established runner and once again while he was going towards the ground. Now I’ve watched that playback around 20 times and I still can’t for the life of me figure out how he “does not survive the ground.”
PRO FOOTBALL FOCUS: The best in football stats just got better. Elite packages now on sale!
It’s a garbage call, one that angers many Jets fans and could’ve very well lost the Jets their game on Sunday. Regardless, deflecting blame on others is always a losing battle, which is why there are still two more entries that top this one.
It’s just disappointing that the officials weren’t able to get this one right.
Next: 2. Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams
2. Defensive Ends Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams
While it may be easy to place the blame on others, sometimes it’s even more effective to look ourselves in the mirror and realize that what we thought was a strength is, in reality, a weakness.
This is what the Jets should do with their supposed “star” defensive linemen Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams.
Going into this season, the talk of the Jets defense (as it’s been for the past few years) was their defensive line. They had two former Pro Bowlers in Wilkerson and the recently traded Sheldon Ricardson and they had a budding star in Williams. Despite Richardson’s departure, the Jets still had Wilkerson and Williams who have the talent to be game-changers up front.
This sadly hasn’t been the case.
More from Jets News
- NY Jets: Why the team should target cornerback Shaquill Griffin
- NY Jets reportedly non-tendering linebacker Harvey Langi
- NY Jets: Why the team should not cut Jamison Crowder
- NY Jets should try to sign Kenny Golladay in free agency
- NY Jets: Jonnu Smith would be a smart free-agent target
It’s time to face reality here. Wilkerson is not, and may never be the player he used to be. He’s getting paid nearly $15 million to give minimal effort on every play all the while becoming invisible as a pass rusher and opening up holes in the ground game wider than himself after all the weight he’s gained. You just can’t expect Wilkerson to be a significant factor in any game at this point, as disappointing as that may be to some Jets fans.
But the real issue here is with Williams.
Williams, a former sixth overall draft pick, looked to be a star on the rise last season after accumulating seven sacks and 68 total tackles. He was a consistent presence as a pass rusher and a force to be reckoned with in run defense. This year he has 21 total tackles and ZERO sacks through six games, per Pro Football Reference.
Zero. None. Zilch. Nada. However you wanna say it, Williams hasn’t been effective and has taken a major step back this year.
The Jets got destroyed in the trenches and allowed Dion Lewis, yes Dion Lewis, to run all over the team’s front-seven on Sunday. If this team is going to be effective on defense going forwards they’re going to need to stop the run better than they did against the Patriots.
And that starts with the big guys up front.
Next: 1. The Offensive Line
1. The Offensive Line
Speaking of the big guys up front, look no further than the Jets offensive line who put forth their most offensive (pun very much intended) game of the season.
In what has become a recurring theme over the past two weeks, the Jets failed to establish any semblance of a ground game mustering up just 74 yards a week after putting up 34 against the Browns.
Part of this could be blamed on the lack of Bilal Powell for the majority of those two games, but the Jets have two capable backs in Elijah McGuire and Matt Forte. The problem is no human is capable of running through brick walls and that’s just what this offensive line has been giving the Jets running backs over the past two weeks.
The Patriots came into this game with the 24th ranked rush defense allowing over 124 yards per game on the ground. There is no excuse to not run the ball effectively on the Patriots front-seven, especially not when just two weeks ago they ran for 246 yards against the much more talented Jaguars front-seven.
This offense is not structured so that they could throw the ball 40 times and be successful. Josh McCown threw the ball 47 times against the Patriots. It’s a gosh darn miracle the Jets were as competitive as they were.
Moreover, the pass protection, which wasn’t horrible for the majority of the game, completely fell apart on the final drive. The unit allowed two key sacks and let up constant pressure on that final drive and a main reason for the team’s failure on their last possession can be contributed to the fact that McCown was under pressure on essentially every play.
Going forward, the Jets are going to need to win the battle in the trenches or risk more impotent defeats such as this one. You could blame the refs all you want but when it comes down to it, the Jets play in the trenches was the slow, prolonged illness that ultimately widdled the Jets chances at a victory away.
The officials just put the dagger in.