Post Game Thoughts: Jets 3 Patriots 45
That was one of the worst losses I have ever watched….
The coaching staff put a tremendous amount of pressure early on this offense by going to a hurry up and putting the idea in their head that they had to score early. When they did not they got rattled by the crowd and the game situation and struggled for the entire first half, which should not be a surprise considering how slow this offense is to start football games. They did move the ball some, but they did face an awful defense, but again never could get anything consistent going on the field. It was more of a play here and a play there, but there was no substance to what they were doing. QB Mark Sanchez did not play well. The game was long over in the 3rd quarter when he threw a terrible pass to a linebacker for an interception. He just did not even see him there. The second interception was just a prayer pass that he badly under threw. The third was just caused by him being totally unnerved by the score and no longer paying attention. He did a few positive things, mainly with his legs when he ran for a few yards for plays that had nowhere to go, but at this stage we can't be talking about a few positives as a sign of progress. The team needs more from him in these type of games, but the Patriots realized if they defended the bomb he was not going to do well. WR Braylon Edwards had one nice play down the sidelines, but dropped at least 2 crucial third down passes early in the game. He has been good most of the season, but big players are supposed to step up in big moments and he did not do so. WR Santonio Holmes had a few grabs on the day, but never made an impact in the game. TE Dustin Keller continued his disappearing act and is officially in his seemingly annual midseason slump. I think the ship has sailed on the Jets ever thinking that he can be anything special as a player, but he can be a contributor. RB LaDainian Tomlinson, who had a few nice runs, dropped another few screens and there is some miscommunication between he and Sanchez there. It happens too often and it was lucky that one of them did not lead to an interception. The two even had to discuss it on the field at the end of the game after the third occurrence. The best player was RB Shonn Greene who at one point was really getting to the corner and picking up big yards when the Jets were trying to settle things down, but his role quickly diminished as one or two negative plays saw the Jets pull the plug on the experiment. The offensive line missed a few times on short conversions, having the runner get popped short of the first down marker. The Patriots don't often generate much of a pass rush and did not really do so this game, but if the tempo of a game is often controlled by the offensive line, the Jets did not do that here.
The bottom line here is that the Jets showed that they do not have the ability to fall down by double digits early and expect to come back. Deep down we all knew it, but this game proved it. They do not have the ability to weather the storm and kill the clock and keep the defense off the field when things go bad. They don't have the ability to drive down the field to curb the momentum of the other team. What they are is a great big play offense that is very dangerous if you let them hang around. But when things go bad they tend to snowball on the team. It has happened here, against the Packers, and the Ravens. The book is out on the offense and the Jets better figure out how to fiz that when they make the turn to the playoffs against all good football teams.
This was the most undisciplined game I can recall the defense playing since the final days of Eric Mangini. Guys were running around aimlessly. The tackling was terrible. The coverage even worse. It was like they were not even trying. S Eric Smith is just so awful. He handed the Patriots an early TD with a penalty so bad it defies explanation. This happens every single week with him. He ends up one on one deep, the QB sees it and just heaves it knowing it will be either complete or interference. That pass did not even have a prayer of being caught and he just ran over the tight end. He doesn't look like he belongs on a high school field half of the time. I actually think the second touchdown may have also been his fault as he was supposed to back out of the blitz and play the lane, but he just never got there. People are all going to be saying the loss of S Jim Leonhard was the cause of this, but it is something that has happened all season. Even if Leonhard was in the game Gronkowski still would have been Smith's assignment. The position is just a major flaw on the team. The decision to put CB Antonio Cromartie on WR Deion Branch completely backfired. It was evident early when QB Tom Brady missed Branch for a wide open score that Cromartie was not going to have a good night. He also missed an easy tackle early when he made a halfhearted effort to wrap up the receiver. Maybe it was the cold weather but he was just lost in the secondary. The problems continued from there. RB Danny Woodhead went off for a 35 yard gain when nobody picked him up out of the backfield. WR Wes Welker found himself open all day inside the zone and did a great job of picking it apart. The physical effort was not there from the team either. On an inside draw to Woodhead, little Danny carried Jet defenders for a few yards. The small Welker dragged 250 lb David Harris for an extra 2 yards. RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis bowled over CB Darrelle Revis for a score. The worst part about this is that the defense actually quit in the middle of the game. When they allowed Woodhead to go off for a 50 yard run and Ellis to just plow guys over on the ensuing play the Jets should have just gotten on the bus on gone back to New Jersey. They deserved to get the score run up on them with that effort. The coach preaches pride and the defense showed none. They quit. That is a disgrace.
Basically every single problem and chink in the armor this defense has shown during the year was exploited. The Patriots had no respect for the Jets defense and took the game right to them early. They were never rattled by anything the Jets did. They attacked Smith. They attacked Cromartie. They used the slot. They gained big yards on 3rd down. They converted on 4th down. They took advantage of all the secondary miscommunication. It was a complete no show for the first 25 minutes of the game by the defense against a team that was out to prove a point and they got exposed. To them give up a 93 yard scoring drive to start the second half is just an embarrassment. You will never hear another person say that the Jets defense is an elite group because they are not. It is a joke if anyone thinks they are. They were last year with the penchant for dumb mistakes. They still make the dumb mistakes but the quality of play is way down from last season. Once again this type of game proves why you don't overpay for a cornerback as 1 secondary player does not make a difference in the grand scheme of things
K Nick Folk missed another field goal and his job has to be in jeopardy. Was it an easy kick he missed? No, but the manner in which he missed it is alarming. It was not short and on line, or long and just a big wide. It missed the net and was just an ugly looking kick. The way the game unfolded it made no difference but the way the Jets came out they need the morale boost of those 3 points and he did not even come close. P Steve Weatherford was atrocious and had his worst game of the year. When your punter looks tight you know the coaching staff has done an awful job. The return game did nothing and they certainly had more than enough chances to make something happen.
Just a terrible job by Rex Ryan. Both he and his team were so tight it was unreal. It was like the game was too big for them, which is crazy when you consider this team was 60 minutes away from the Super Bowl last season. The Jets made a decision to go for it all early by running a no huddle offense with the hope of eliminating the Patriot subs and tiring out NT Vince Wilfork. It is a very aggressive move, but when it does not pay off you leave yourself in a major hole on the road. Considering the Patriots want a track meet game it was a curious move that is going to be and should be second guessed. What made matters worse was his insane decision to waste a challenge on the opening drive to challenge a spot. It was at that moment when the Jets signaled to the Patriots that they were not ready for this game. If the decision was already made to go on 4th down when you need less than a yard it's a complete waste of a challenge. On top of that between the hurry up and challenge you have made the decision to go “all in” on the drive meaning its touchdown or bust. Instead they settle for a 53 yard field goal attempt by one of the shakier kickers in the NFL. They handed the ball to the Patriots in great field position and the game was essentially over.
The problems continued as Ryan just had his ass handed to him by Bill Belichick. Im not sure if Brandon Tate did or did not come down for a touchdown in the second quarter as I could not tell if his forearm was in bounds or not, but Ryan had already wasted a challenge and was way too slow to decide what to do here. Maybe it worked out for the best, but Ryan clearly looked dumfounded on the sidelines as the Pats rushed the extra point. This is one of those problems with the Jets staff that I talked about in the game preview. They are never prepared for situational football decisions. That's fine when you play the Gary Kubiak's of the world but it does not fly against a team that makes split decisions at almost every turn. It happened on the TD. It happened on the challenge. It happened early when Belichick realized Cromartie did not have it and attacked him with his bigger targets to run up the early score. It happened when they decided to use Tomlinson as QB and had to burn a time out. They just don't know what they are doing sometimes and in big games its evident and costly.
That was an absolute ass whipping on the field. A complete no show by a team that is not ready from prime time. One thing the Jets have made clear this season is that they are not a top level football team. They have played four good football teams this year and only once won the game. In 3 of the games they were held below 10 points. This is enough games now to realize it's no longer just a thought by some “anti Jet” media, but an actual reality. The Jets do not play well against good teams.
This is a crushing loss for the team. They came into the year with the goal of having the best record in the NFL and that is not going to happen now. They again will likely not host a playoff game and will be forced to go on the road and try to get to the Super Bowl. They did catch a break with the Colts and Chargers losing this week, but when you put up a stinker like this you can't complain about your situation if you make the playoffs.
The worst thing about this loss is that the Jets have to now put this behind them and get ready for Miami next week. There is still an outside chance at winning the division, but they have to run the table to make that happen. All week long the Jets players are going to hear about the culture of losing and the “Decembers to Never Remember” with the franchise. They cant lose to Miami with trips to Chicago and Pittsburgh looming. Nothing is secure yet and with the way the teams play there is no guarantee that they will even compete with Chicago or Pittsburgh.
At this point what the Jets need to do is win their two games to get into the playoffs and then start to consider resting players while the division winners have to play into week 17. Every week they waste is only going to hurt them. If the Pats keep winning then 13 wins means nothing. Its no different than 10 or 11 wins, but the last thing they want to do is have a situation where they have to beat Buffalo in week 17 to get in.
The one thing that we all have to hope for is that this loss finally opens the eyes of the staff to look critically at the teams issues on both sides of the ball and actually figure out how to fix it. These problems were all there before and have never gotten resolved. The better prepared team used that to their advantage in this one and embarrassed the organization. They can not allow that to ever happen again. At this point talking about the elite defense by the head coach is going to be looked at as a joke. He has to admit they have problems and make the players accountable for those problems. This is not a Super Bowl defense and once they realize that they can improve. Its all about getting hot for the playoffs now, but they will never get hot if they do not acknowledge the issue.
As a fan this is a crushing loss. We finally thought we were on equal footing with New England and it was a no contest. The Jets are not even in the same league as New England. The coaching advantage is so much greater than anyone thought that it really takes the bloom off the Ryan rose. With time to prepare one coach came up with an artistic masterpiece while the other one came up with a finger painting. It hurts because there is almost no argument to find a silver lining in the loss. The Jets and the fans had the ball shoved right into their face and its time to eat crow for a week. At least it cant get any worse.