The old saying goes “when it rains… it pours”! The New York Jets experienced the downpour both figuratively and literally Thursday night in the 13-10 loss to the New England Patriots. It was almost a tale of two game: The first half was your average humid, autumn evening typical to the Massachusetts area. The second half featured a monsoon Noah and his band of merry arc-builders would’ve been impressed by!
The Pats score first, after a very impressive 39 yard catch and run by rookie Aaron Dobson. It looked like the perfect call against an aggressive defense. One blown assignment and Dobson streaks untouched for six. It looked like it was going to be a long night for the boys in Green & White. Tom Brady finished his day a mere 19/39 for only 185 yards and that lone touchdown. What started off easy enough for Brady, would turn into a frustrating day behind center for the future Hall of Famer.
Geno Smith, who led his team for the only second-half score Thursday night, finished 15/35 for 214 yards and 3 costly interceptions. Geno threw all three picks in the second half, one an unfortunate tip-drill interception when his team was in the red zone. He knows he can’t continue to make mistakes like that and succeed in the NFL. On his red zone interception, Geno explained he “tried to fit the ball into a tight window…” and that he should “be more mindful of the situation.” He took responsibility for his mistakes, which is commendable, but THREE second-half interceptions in a game your team has a chance to win can’t happen again.
I can understand Geno feeling like he needed to force the ball, being put in a tough position with the high number of drops by guys like Clyde Gates, Stephen Hill and Ryan Spadola. They may have had as many combined drops… as Geno had drop-backs! This was a winnable game, and it seemed like the only WR stepping up was Santonio Holmes and his recovering foot. Yes, the tip-drill INT was intended for Holmes, but it further illustrates the point. Geno felt he needed to get it to Holmes any chance he got, because the other receivers weren’t catching a thing… especially during the heavy rain in the second half.
Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell brought their lunch pails Thursday night. They provided the Jets with a consistent running game I wish we saw more of in the second half. Way too many pass-attempts for Geno in the rain, especially when the run was working. Ivory had 12 rushes for 52 yards and Powell finished with 13 rushes, 48 yards, and the team’s only touchdown. Even rookie FB Tommy Bohanon got into the mix with 4 rushes for 12 yards. OC Marty Mornhinweg needs to see what’s working and stick with it. A rookie QB standing in the rain chucking at guys with a case of the drops wasn’t going to win that game, and three second-half interceptions and an “L” were the end result of his questionable play-calling.
Other than one huge play for six and a play here-or-there, Brady and the Pats were held in check by a Jets defense that has teeth. The front-four are a legitimate force, featuring monsters like Mo Wilkerson, Kenrick Ellis and Damon Harrison. “Snacks” Harrison has played himself into the rotation and doesn’t look like he’s slowing down anytime soon. He’s developed his game from just being a guy who clogs the middle, to a player that is a force against the run. Demario Davis and David Harris tackled well and exploited the frontline’s effective pressure on Brady. Antonio Allen led the team with 4 tackles, and Kyle Wilson saw extended time in the base defense after Dee Milliner was benched for poor play. Wilkerson limping to the sideline late in the fourth quarter was something no fan of Gang Green wanted to see. The team says he has an ankle sprain, and has released no further information at this time. Dee Milliner and Mo Wilkerson on the sideline while the defense is on the field… definitely NOT what HC Rex Ryan had in mind at all! All have ten days to lick their wounds and prepare for another divisional battle, this time against the Buffalo Bills.
-Joseph Haas Editor, HCoftheNYJ.com