On Sunday the New York Jets beat the Detroit Lions 23-20 in overtime to move their record to 6-2 on the season, and first place in the AFC East. The victory did not come without some questions as the Jets played sloppy, undisciplined football for the majority of the game.
1) Where is the running game? Once again the Jets struggled to run the ball against an inferior defense. The Lions ranked 27th in the NFL in run defense and the Jets could only muster up 110 yards. Is it the blocking, the play calling or a little bit of both? If the Jets want to be a “ground and pound” team maybe someone should pound that notion into the offensive coordinator’s head.
2) Why such predictable playcalling? Another slow start for the Jets offense which was spearheaded by predictable playcalling. Opposing defenses are onto the little pump fakes and cute formations. Why not just focus on what you do best which is run the ball? Why not get Dustin Keller established early in the game, which seems to always open up the offense? The entire Jets offense seems out of sync which starts to make you wonder about what the team actually practices during the week.
3) Penalties, drops, and turnovers- It is remarkable that the Jets found a way to win this game because they definitely did enough things wrong to lose it. The mistakes included fumbled snaps, fumbles, dropped passes, terrible penalties, poor route running, and confusion in the passing game. Everyone has a bad day, but this sloppy play has been going on for a couple of weeks now.
1) Cannot get off of the field on 3rd down- The Jets defense does an excellent job getting the opposing offense into 3rd and long situations. But for some reason the defense cannot make plays on third down to get off of the field. Whether it is communication problems in the secondary, blown coverage, or the inability to get to the quarterback, something always goes wrong. This trend continues week after week and it is going to haunt them sooner rather than later if not addressed.
2) Pass defense- Once again the Jets defense struggled to shut down the passing game as Nate Burleson racked up 113 receiving yards. It appears that the league may be onto Rex Ryan’s attacking style of defense, which puts a lot more pressure on the team to get to the quarterback. The Jets blitz packages are being exposed when they do not get to the quarterback. It will be interesting to see if Ryan can make some adjustments as the season progresses.
As mentioned earlier it is remarkable that the Jets won this game as they definitely did enough things wrong to lose it. Gang Green’s sloppy play which included 11 penalties, 5 fumbles, and 2 wasted timeouts, has to raise some eyebrows, especially since it has been occurring for a couple of weeks now. Rex Ryan and his coaching staff have to start taking some of the blame for the team’s sloppy performance. There is a saying that winning is a great deodorant, which is definitely the case in the Jets situation. I am pretty sure if the Jets lost to the Lions, there would have been tons of finger pointing throughout Jets nation.
Not all doom and gloom
The Jets did find a way to pull out the victory, which is something that they did not do last year. Some positives from the game:
Mark Sanchez- Sanchez started out slow, but when the game was on the line the kid shined leading 3 effective scoring drives. Mark threw for a career high 336 yards and looked like a seasoned veteran leading his team late in the fourth quarter.
Darrelle Revis- It appears that Darrelle Revis is back to his All-Pro form as he completely shutdown All-World receiver Calvin Johnson. Revis held Johnson to 1 catch for 13 yards.
Nick Folk- Kicker Nick Folk remains consistent for the Jets as he nailed all 3 of his field goal attempts, including the game winner.
Brandon Moore- Moore did an excellent job containing Ndamukong Suh, not allowing a sack. That is saying alot as Suh entered the game with 6.5 sacks. This is turning into a Pro-Bowl season for the underrated Moore.
6-2 and in 1st place- At the halfway point of the season the Jets are 6-2 and in first place in the AFC East. It has not been pretty at times but as Bill Parcells always says “you are what your record says you are” and right now that means the Jets are amongst the best in the NFL. If Gang Green clean up some of their issues there is no reason why they cannot make a serious run into the playoffs.