The Jets fell to 5-6 today with a 19-3 loss to the Ravens in Baltimore. This marks the first time all season the Jets have fallen under .500 and the first time they have lost two in a row. It was richly earned as this team was blown out on the road for the second straight week. Join me below as we recap the carnage.
Offensive Line: The struggles of this unit have been well-documented all year, but today's outing was particularly ugly with multiple instances where the line seemingly disintegrated as a unit at the snap. Baltimore only recorded three sacks, but they were constantly causing trouble for Geno Smith, which should not have happened considering the high rate of rushing plays the Jets ran. The men up front also consistently lost the battle in the run game aside from a few brief moments of success early and then for a drive in the second half.
Geno Smith's Receivers: I understand Geno Smith is playing quite poorly, but on his thirteen incompletions, I counted at least five that hit a receiver in the hands. Some of these were not easy catches, but you have to help out a young, struggling quarterback.
David Nelson: Not to pick on Nelson above all other receivers, but he had a drop and didn't come up with a ball he might have grabbed on a pass out of the Wildcat. I also thought he made a really poor adjustment on the first interception and could have at least prevented a pick with a better effort. The quarterback is throwing it up there with a receiver one on one counting on him to least make sure the play does not end in catastrophe.
Geno Smith: Unlike a lot of the other losses, I really don't see how one can pin this game on Geno. His pocket was collapsing all game. His receivers were not coming up with passes they needed to grab. Otherwise, they just weren't getting open. I'm not one to pin offensive struggles on players other than the quarterback, but there really were not a ton of terribly off the mark have-to-make throws. I'm sticking Geno in the bad, though, because he has tendencies not to like such as staring down receivers, which Dan Dierdorf wouldn't stop pointing out and not stepping up in the pocket. He also got tricked on the second interception and underthrew the ball.
Ed Reed: Reed made an excellent play early in the game both delivering a hit to separate a receiver from the ball in the end zone and avoiding a flag for a helmet to helmet hit. Later in the game he missed a big tackle and then got toasted on Jacoby Jones' touchdown during which he also set a pick on Dee Milliner, who had been in pretty good coverage to spring Jones for a touchdown.
Honestly, I felt bad when CBS' cameras showed a shot of Reed on the sideline after the play. He had this look in his eye that almost said, "Man, three years ago I would have picked that off." It's sad to see a great at the end of the line coming to the realization he doesn't have it anymore.
As for the Jets, it reminds me of a line from Pam Beesly in The Office. "When a child gets behind the wheel of a car and runs into a tree, You don't blame the child. He didn't know any better. You blame the 30-year-old woman who got in the passenger seat and said, 'Drive, kid. I trust you.'" Only in this case you have a 35 year old safety with declining range instead of a baby, a football team instead of a 30 year old woman, and the deep safety position instead of a car. Maybe the Jets can figure out a use for Reed. Maybe he can play better, but today he didn't look much better than he did in Houston.
Muhammad Wilkerson: He just dominates week after week. I feel like I can just copy and paste, "He lined up all over the place, kept winning his assignments in the run game, and lived in the backfield as a pass rusher." He also registered a pair of sacks.
Sheldon Richardson: He kept making stops against the run, finishing with 9 tackles and also recording half a sack.
Dee Milliner: This was a rare strong outing by Milliner. The Ravens tested him deep a few times, and he held up. He was in good coverage on the touchdown. He might have been able to break it up had Reed not bumped into him. Even if he didn't, it looked like he was counting on Reed for support in that direction anyway.
So the Jets are 5-6. Due to their location in a conference with five good teams and very few horrible teams, and numerous teams that are decent but deeply flawed, they are still in the Playoff mix. That won't last for long unless they start getting something from this offense.