Post Game Thoughts: Jets 9 Bengals 49 Tweet
Following the usual pattern for the season, the Jets look to be a bad team again..
This was pretty much the same as the effort against the Steelers on offense, meaning there was no effort. The Jets offense didn't look like it belonged on an NFL field. The matchup itself was not good. The Jets are a big play team and the Bengals are great at preventing that. The Bengals have a great interior line and the Jets don't. The Bengals also had no respect for the Jets offense and were incredibly aggressive, specifically in the middle, and the Jets had no clue how to answer. It led to a blowout where the Jets waived the white flag early in the 4th quarter. I'm not sure I can remember the last time the Jets were beaten so badly that they conceded the game.
For as good as Geno Smith was last week he was that bad this week. Whether it is basking in the accolades of a win or simply a bad game, he was terrible. Two pick sixes in one game and what may have been a third that was dropped is about as awful as it gets. But I still say these are good learning experiences. The league isn't about one game and greatness following its about being great for multiple games and gutting it out on the days when you don't have it. Smith did not have it today and he'll have to learn to deal better with days like this. He is going to hear all week about how bad he is and he'll have to use that to challenge himself to get better.
He received no help from the running game as neither Chris Ivory nor Bilal Powell could do a thing. Credit the Bengals defense who was just swarming the middle of the line giving those players nowhere to go. The offensive line is a problem. Nick Mangold is not the player he used to be and the guys flanking him are not good which accentuates the problem even more. They just look physically overwhelmed and outmatched. You can't win in the NFL when that is the case. D'Brickashaw Ferguson also has not been the same player as he was last year. The last time I saw the line look this bad was 2007. That needs to be fixed.
I tweeted out during the game that the best move GM John Idzik may have made during the offseason was to not extend CB Antonio Cromartie. I had discussed in the offseason that option and luckily they did not consider that same option. Partially that may have been due to market conditions (Corners salaries plunged and Cro had no reason to take a lower salary) but give credit to the GM. Cromartie looks finished. The amount of big plays he is giving up or should have given up this year is obscene. On many of the plays he is not even in the ballpark in coverage. I've always said when Cromartie goes there is not going to be any slow fade, it would be fast and hard. I think that time may be now.
The whole secondary is poor. Selecting Dee Milliner in the draft was always going to be difficult because of the natural comparisons to Darrelle Revis. Not only had Milliner continued his college history of being banged up all the time, but he's looked completely lost on the field. I don't think this is necessarily uncommon as its an incredibly difficult position to learn, but he also has a situation different than most because of the shadow looming over him. He is going to hear a tremendous amount of criticism in the offseason, much more than other players in other cities.
The defensive line is the key to the defense and if they don't generate consistent pressure the secondary is not good enough to prevent anyone from passing all over the team. Today they had a great goal line stand but other than the usual Muhammad Wilkerson greatness (including an interception this week!) they did nothing to make anyone take notice. You would have had no idea that this unit was anything special with the way they played today. They were just out there.
Not that it was a turning point or anything but the one thing this group had to do is not give up a big return at the end of the first half and they couldn't hold up their end of the bargain. It ended up setting up a score that pretty much put the game away.
Rex Ryan had a challenge ahead of him of getting his team up for a game after a big win and again the Jets came out flat and unprepared. It's hard to explain. Rex has had good teams before and they have been able to put together back to back efforts but that simply doesn't exist with this team. This was disappointing because the Jets had no answers. There were no adjustments. No improvements. Last week the Jets came out in the second half great. This one was more of the same. It was like they didn't expect the defensive attack by the Bengals and just threw their hands up and assumed at some point it would stop.
I'm not sure what I think of the decision to concede the game when they did. Part of me says it was Rex not wanting to see 50 points hung on his team but part of me says he just wanted to avoid injury and be ready to play his brother next week. I actually think there is something to be gained by keeping a young QB in these kind of games, but perhaps Rex felt more would be learned by just watching from the sideline. I guess I just didn't expect to see him roll out the reserves like that.
You just have to try to chalk this up as "one of those games" and move on. At some point the Jets have to stop this win a game, don't show up for a game trend that they are on. I know many of us were excited about the prospects following the win against New England, but this now marks the third non-competitive game of the season. That is usually not the sign of a team that competes for the playoffs, though the Colts played like that at times last year and made it.
Playing the Saints next week will be difficult. They can expose the Jets secondary the way many other teams have. The Jets have to find a way to get in Drew Brees' face all day if they want to have a chance to win. I don't expect the Jets to win next week but they have to compete. They can not go out and lose 49-9 again. Nobody is happy with moral victories, but the Saints are a different class of football team and keeping up with them will be impressive especially after a stinker like this.
Still I don't think many people expected the Jets to be 4-4 at the halfway point and that is a positive. Have they played an easy schedule? Absolutely, but you still have to win these games and bad teams would probably falter much more than the Jets have this year. I still say you can map out a path to 9 or 10 wins, but the team has to be more consistent to do it. Beating the Saints and then losing by 20 to the Bills two weeks later is not progress and it won't help Rex keep his job. They need to figure out what is going wrong during the week and hurry up and get it corrected.