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Post Game Thoughts: Jets 9 Steelers 19

And just like that the feeling about the Jets goes back to negative..

Offense

I guess the best way to describe the offense is flat. It just always seemed like they were in warmup or practice mode and going through the motions expecting things to click and they never did. You don't want to say that the game boiled down to one play, but when Geno Smith missed Stephen Hill on a deep pass which would have been a touchdown you just knew that the game was over. These were the kind of passes that Smith had been surviving the year on and it just was not there for him. The mistakes at the end of the game I think were just more Smith pressing than anything else. We saw that same meltdown against the Patriots, which I thought was from being tired and trying to make plays and this may have been the same. Smith had an extremely emotional game just 6 days before and this is a fast turnaround for a rookie and I think he just physically wasn't ready for the game.

I didn't feel that the offensive line played that well on the day. It seemed as if both tackles gave up at least 2 or 3 pressures and both Willie Colon and Brian Winters were whiffing in the middle at times as well. They just looked a step slow compared to the Steelers defenders and were not creating the best environment for the offense to succeed. The Jets game is really predicated on these guys controlling the line and I think it is near impossible to win with a rookie QB when the line is losing the battle.

The running game never really got going. Bilal Powell only had 9 carries and other than one 10 yard run was generally ineffective. Once they could not get him going they seemed to just abandon the run in the second half. Mike Goodson may have been the most effective player out of the backfield, but blew a block at the end of the game and unfortunately was injured on the play and lost for the year. My assumption is that he will never play for the Jets again and that ended up as a bad signing for a number of reasons. It's a tough loss for the Jets because the staff seemed to have more faith in Goodson than Chris Ivory who I think they don't trust because of the injuries.

The Wide Receivers are pretty banged up and it showed in this game. For whatever reason the Steelers seemed to do a far better job of understanding the Jets lack of depth and playing into it. Troy Polamalu absolutely destroyed Hill on a sideline catch that Hill did a great job holding onto. My worry is if Hill keeps getting tagged like this it is going to be in his head and lead to more drops. Jeremy Kerley was very quiet on the day and I think the Steelers did a fine job of making sure he was not going to find areas to get open. In general there was a lot of physicality at times being shown towards the Jets players and they didn't respond that well. Jeff Cumberland was the leading receiver and looks like he will make everything out of his opportunity he is being given.

Defense

For the last few weeks we've discussed that Antonio Cromartie does not look like the same player and this week he was absolutely brutal. I know he had a knee injury, but this has been going on all season. The Steelers targeted him and completed pass after pass, got a PI call, and of course hit the game changing bomb to Emmanuel Sanders. I feel like teams are not afraid of testing Cro deep down the middle and he is getting beat off the line and not catching up. There has always been a fear that once Cro loses that special gear that there would not be a slow decline in play but instead a dramatic drop. I think he needs that sideline right now to be effective and if he isn't getting it needs help. Right now it looks like the Jets made a smart move not extending him this offseason.

Antonio Brown killed the Jets even off screens where he just juked his way through the defense to pick up first downs. I believe it was Darrin Walls that missed him on the third and 15 conversion. Heath Miller had all kinds of big impact plays and the Steelers seemed to really like any matchup of Heath versus a linebacker. Pretty much everyone in the passing game had their best game of the season against the Jets coverage, or lack therof. The Jets were shorthanded in the secondary with Kyle Wilson getting injured and Dee Milliner injured but I don't think anyone will consider that an excuse nor should they as neither is really is a game changer.

The defensive line played well and Muhammad Wilkerson notched another sack though he missed a chance for a Safety early in the game. Ben Roethlisberger is difficult to bring down so I don't think people should hold that against Wilkerson. Sheldon Richardson got in the backfield many times on the day as well and he's a great find as a rookie. I think it's fair to say that he is the best rookie defender in the NFL, but I think the way Kiko Alonso fills up the stat sheet for Buffalo Richardson won't win the award. But Richardson looks like a keeper.

Quinton Coples was a bit disappointing and didn't play as much as expected. I have to think that is playing through injury as he is not even flashing the way he did last season. The Jets could have used he and Calvin Pace to generate more pressure, but that did not happen. Demario Davis had a bad game. He seemed to be lost a few times and was getting picked on in coverage. He did play well against the run but the Steelers run offense is almost non-existent so that was not something that would outweigh the bad. David Harris did not make some of the impact tackles he has been making but was consistent and not getting beat.

Special Teams

I'm not sure after a few weeks as to why Ryan Quigley was brought in as punter. There is nothing he does that makes me think he is better than Robert Malone. Nick Folk continued his good streak and Jeremy Kerley had a few decent returns.

Coaching

I personally thought Rex Ryan made a mistake not going for it on 4th and 1 at the two yard line. It reinforces my opinion that he was not going to do it last week either. I can understand the argument for taking the points but at that spot you are going to either get 7 or pin the team on the 2 yard line and force them to move the ball. You have a chance at a Safety and if not are likely getting the ball back around midfield. I thought that took the air out of the team and could have put a dagger in a winless team.

The gameplan was surprisingly conservative and it was the first game of the year that reminded me of the offense of the last few years with more of Rex's hands on it. It was almost as if they were going with the opinion that this was not the 0-4 Steelers who have given up 74 points in the last two games but the old Steelers that were going to hold you to 13 points and force a million mistakes. In particular when Hill outran the coverage on the missed pass I was sure they would come back to doing something like that down the field but they did not.

They did switch things up a little in the second half trying to get anything going, but by then nothing was working and they had no way to just turn it on. There were again some substitution issues creeping up which the team needs to get more control of in the future.

Overall

These kind of games happen in the NFL but this really was a win the Jets needed. I think this makes everyone see the reality of the situation with the Jets and emphasizes the fact that the team has played an incredibly easy schedule and have 3 wins against teams with a combined record of 3-13. Hopefully they are better than that but a no-show like this will certainly make people question it.

You have to hope that the Jets simply showed up flat and learn a valuable lesson about overlooking an opponent. They never were able to match the Steelers intensity and just got physically beat. I think the whole team had a hard time getting up after the big win last Monday and this was just a bad opponent. Not only were the Steelers well rested and desperate but they come with a crowd that takes over stadiums. Instead of coming home to a pro-Jets crowd there seemed to be many noisy Steelers fans in the building.

The Jets will need to play much better next week when they have their rematch against the Patriots. With the Patriots pulling a minor miracle off late yesterday a loss would almost eliminate whatever hope the Jets could have of a divisional crown. A loss would put them 3 games behind the Patriots which in actuality would be a 4 game deficit since they had also lost in week 2 and would then lose almost any tiebreaker.

This Patriots team is not as good as in years past but the standard series has always seemed to go Jets win or play tough in round 1 and then get slaughtered in the rematch. Rex has to avoid that at all costs. If the Jets lose badly there is going to be a great deal of negativity surrounding the Jets and him. So I think a lot hinges on this game.

Sorry for being late with this but I had a wedding to attend after the game yesterday and there was no way to get this written up earlier. We'll be back at our regularly scheduled time hopefully with a review of a good win that puts this game way in the rearview mirror.

Go Jets!

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