Post Game Thoughts- Jets vs Patriots
Itís been a full two years since the Jets were outclassed so badly in a football game. The Patriots came out looking to put a hurting on the Jets and once the Jets offense sputtered there was no looking back for New England in a game that was just torture to watch as a fan.
A total meltdown by the offense and in particular Mark Sanchez who simply seemed overcome by the environment he played in. Sanchez had as many completions to the other team as he did to his own team at the end of the first half. He tried to force the ball too many times and New England made him pay. The third interception killed any little hope the team had and the fourth was simply the icing on the cake. This is the third game he has had like this and the most concerning thing is that so many of these picks come in areas where Sanchez is the only player who can make a play to stop a touchdown. Iím sure that there are some who will complain that he is not learning from his mistakes, but more often than not the QB learns from these mistakes in the offseason. Iím sure some will be pointing out the game Matthew Stafford had today and how Sanchez has never had a 300 yard type effort, but that is simply looking at it in a vacuum as they Jets have tried to rely on the run and typically are within striking distance in almost all their losses. Hopefully now that there are zero expectations left for the ball club he can take the pressure off himself and not have these complete meltdown games. Sanchez did not get much help from his receivers. Braylon Edwards had a drop. David Clowney had a drop. Jerricho Cotchery had a drop. When you are a big underdog with a rookie QB on the road against you can not have all your receivers dropping passes and expect to compete. If there as one thing they had to do it was catch the ball early to help Sanchez get some confidence, but that was not in the cards today. The running game never got going, but they never had a chance today. With Sanchez playing so poorly and the game out of hand quickly the run was never going to be a factor. Thomas Jones ended up with an ok statline, but none of it came when the game mattered. The offensive line continues to have some issues. Sanchez took a few hits today and Ferguson just got run right around by Tully Banta Cain at the end of the game, though the fumble was the fault of Sanchez holding the ball too long. The Jets will be looking to add some depth in the draft next year on the line.
While the defense was put in a bad spot much of the game, there were only two players who deserve credit for having a good game and that was Darrelle Revis and Shaun Ellis. Tom Brady made it a priority to go after Revis down the field every time covered Moss and every time Revis was in a position to make a play. He seemed like he got his hand on at least four passes and the only reason he did not get an interception was because Randy Moss wrapped him when he had inside position. Ellis always seems to play well in New England and had his best game of the season with 2 sacks and a forced fumble. The rest of the defense all did a bad job. Wes Welker murdered the Jets secondary. There was just no matchup where the Jets could find a way to stop him and it led to Brady having his best ever game against NY. At this stage that Lito Sheppard trade, which did not cost the Jets much, has been a waste. They would have been better off keeping the draft choices. He canít play and the Jets may consider sitting him to save a draft selection this year. Kerry Rhodes got picked on by the announcers when he failed to lay out a receiver he had an angle on and those are the kind of non-plays that have put the fans on Rhodesí case. Simms was right that on a play like that a safety in that position should be able to put a helmet right on the ball while Rhodes barely glanced a shoulder. LB Bart Scottís impact has diminished game after game. It seems as if he gets faked out at least one a game now. Whenever RB Laurence Maroney wanted an extra yard running he seemed to get it. His statline may not have been great, but he constantly bounced off players and the Jets rarely seemed to get a hand on him in the backfield. Losing Kris Jenkins has not killed the run defense but it has destroyed the backfield penetration that they used to get. Plays that used to result in no more than a 1 yard gain are now going for at least 3 yards and while that may not seem like much, in the long run it makes a big difference. The red zone defense was poor today and they gave New England an extra set of downs due to another penalty in a big spor.
They blocked a punt today and almost got their hands on another so they get the award for the one unit who showed up to play. The Jets had two nice returns and at this point it has become obvious that they are only holding onto Justin Miller because they will owe him money if they cut him. Itís too bad because this is a team that could use extra practice bodies and they have dead roster space tied up in Miller, Danny Woodhead, Larry Izzo, and Kevin OíConnell.
You didnít see any of the 12 men type penalties today which was a step in the right direction. Ryan must have done a decent job at halftime as the Jets played far harder in the third quarter despite being killed in the first half. A lot of teams would have just given up. You just hope that Ryan takes these things to heart and learns from them. This has turned into an embarrassing season for him after all the offseason and in season bravado. Week 2 must seem like an eternity ago to Ryan. Heíll have to re-evaluate everything here once this season ends.
You can not really complain about much of the play calls this week as there was just no execution from the players, but if you watch that third interception you see a reason why so many Qbs throw picks in this offense. Too often the Jets have the two primary receivers more or less running to the same area of the field. When you have a QB throwing the ball poorly and you call plays like that you basically have at least 3 sets of hands in place to make an interception. If you run a different route or even just have one of the lesser receivers running there the odds are far lower that the ball gets picked off. A cornerback covering a different receiver should not be picking off any passes in any situation, but that happens too much here. A minor complaint, but this offense is just murder for Qbs.
This was really disappointing to watch as the Jets gave far less of an effort than most would have expected. This was their worst loss in New England in over a decade and it really showed very little progress for the team. Not that many fans gave the Jets a shot, but I donít think anyone expected 24-0 at the start. The Patriots just toyed with the Jets and that is a tough pill to swallow. The Jets look far closer to the Buffalo Bills than the do the Patriots or even the Miami Dolphins which is not a pleasant thought.
With the season officially over now it could be tough to focus the team on the remainder of the season. The team expected a lot and may not even end up 0.500. Rather than talking of 10 wins, Ryan may want to set a realistic tone of 8 wins and finding examples of teams that used strong finishes to build on in the following season, with a focus in particular on teams that finished strong with rookie or 2nd year Qbs. The playoff goal never worked this year, but maybe this will.
He also is going to have to let the word leak out that certain players are playing for their jobs and use the time to actually evaluate for the future. Does the team need a back that can catch out of the backfield in the event Leon Washington is never going to be the same player? Do they have a linemen with any potential that plays in reserve? Do the Jets need another outside linebacker or can they get by with Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas? Where can they find a young defensive end? Is any corner on this team worth keeping besides Revis?
Just because the Jets have spent a lot of money on this team does not make it a good team. Granted everything is going to hinge on the development of the QB, but if there is one thing the Jets have proven is that they do not have the ability to overcome the play of the QB the way other teams have in the past. Rex Ryan loved to compare this team to the Baltimore Ravens, but the Ravens were always able to overcome the play of the QB to at least compete more often than not. This team cant do that. They could not do it in 2008. They could not do it in 2007. This will now be three years in a row without the playoffs which is going to put them in a grouping of only 10 or 11 teams to not make the playoffs in a three year stretch. That is on the front office who has to start showing a wiser use of resources in the future.
Letís hope the team can finish strong and find a way to beat another team who saw their season blow up in smoke with a big loss last Thursday when they meet the Carolina Panthers. A strong finish is going to be needed to keep the fan base enthused about 2010. Go Jets!