The Jets fell to 1-2 tonight with an ugly 48-29 loss to the Chargers. San Diego showed a real sense of urgency, while the Jets continually shot themselves in the foot in the first half. The Chargers had to drive less than 50 yards for scores four times in the opening thirty minutes. This was one of the sloppiest performances in Jets history, which is saying something.
Miscommunication: Tonight we saw why the Jets were so conservative in the early going. Brett Favre is comfortable with neither his receivers nor his playbook. This was evident during frequent mixups when Favre threw a ball for one route while his receiver was running a different one. This led to one interception that set up a San Diego score and another dropped sure pick six. The passing game had no confidence or flow. Everybody knew that Favre had to pick things up on the fly, but only so many excuses can be made. Yes, he had a late start adjusting to a new team and playbook, but he is also a first ballot Hall of Famer. By the third game, there should be some kind of flow. Twice since 2005 Vinny Testaverde has won a game with a week's worth of experience in a new offense. The Jets are lucky that their bye is in another week so that they can get some time to exclusively try and work out the kinks. The passing game is behind where it should be.
Sutton: After calling a great game against New England, Bob Sutton showed why the team should have never retained him for a third year as defensive coordinator. The game plan was atrocious. The Jets sat back in a soft zone rushing three or four all game, giving Philip Rivers all day to find seams and receivers running free on crossing routes underneath. By the time Sutton started calling blitzes, the Jets were out of the game. The defense was not to blame for this loss. The offense kept giving the ball away as if it was going out of style. That does not take Sutton off the book for his horrid approach.
The First Onside Kick: After a huge Leon Washington kickoff return set up a touchdown to bring the Jets within 17-14 in the second quarter, the Jets inexplicably called for an onside kick. They did not recover, and the Chargers scored a touchdown. It was one of four times in the first half a Jets miscue gave the Chargers less than half the field to record a score. It was one of the many ways Gang Green handed the contest away early. Calling an onside kick is one thing when it is a game like 2006 against the Colts when the Jets are undermanned and need trickery to make up for the talent gap. It is another in the midst of the second quarter in a game like this, handing away all the momentum New York had picked up on the Johnson return.
Sione Pouha: When Kris Jenkins left the game with a back injury, Pouha split time at nose tackle with Mike Devito. While Kris dominated San Diego's interior line, the Chargers controlled the point of attack and ran successfully with Pouha in the middle. Coupled with subpar performances while giving Jenkins a blow in brutal humidity the first two weeks, Pouha has been a major disappointment this year. After playing great in his only significant action last season against the Titans, it appeared Sione could at least be a contributor this year. The time is coming close to call him yet another Terry Bradway Draft Day 1 blunder.
Laveranues Coles: What happened to the guy who used to be as tough as nails? What happened to the guy who played hurt in December for a 4-12 team? After a pair of soft drops last week, Coles had a ball taken right out of his hands by Antonio Cromartie. Cromartie ran it back all the way to deliver yet another wound in the disastrous first half. Coles has to fight for the ball. The intensity has not been there this year.
Leon Washington: As was often the case during 2007, Neon Leon's returns were some of the few bright spots. His 94 yard kickoff run back in the first half momentarily put the Jets back into the game. Another return of 45 yards gave the Jets a shot to do something before the half. At least this team can hold its own in the field position battle because of this dynamic return man.
Calvin Pace: Because of Sutton's vanilla schemes, Calvin was not able to showcase his pass rushing repertoire, but he was excellent in run support. He was always around the ball and registered 4 tackles. In addition to his 2 early sacks and his excellent work when dropping into pass coverage, the free agent gamble looks very good thus far.
Second Half Effort: This team did keep playing hard if nothing else. There was no quit in the Jets. They put together three sustained drives in the second half. Favre seemed to get into a rhythm when Brian Schottenheimer spread the field and called a bunch of short, timing routes. Favre was 20 of 26 for 201 yards in the second half. Until Favre has the more complicated aspects of the playbook down, this is probably the way to go offensively for the Jets. Gang Green got the game within two scores twice and can come away with something of a positive vibe. In a game like this, it is tough to take away much good, but the progress and effort after it was out of hand are positives moving ahead to Arizona.
The bad news is that the Jets are 1-2. The good news is that the schedule will begin to open up starting with a pair of winnable home games sandwiching the bye. When the schedule was released, most observers expected a 1-2 start. This team does have serious issues to address, and it needs to happen soon. Still, this loss should be easy to shake off. The Jets gave this game away through a lack of execution. This many guys will not collectively play this lousy for more than a game.