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Packers 31 Jets 24: Titletown Meltdown

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets fell to 1-1 today, losing to the Green Bay Packers 31-24 in Lambeau Field. The first 25 minutes of the game probably could not have been better. The Jets scored touchdowns on their first three drives. Even though the Packers had put up a couple of field goals, these drives required Aaron Rodgers to make some superhuman throws. The last 35 minutes could not have been much worse. The Jets fell apart in every way imaginable.

Let's paint the word picture with today's unhappy recap below.

The Bad:

Muhammad Wilkerson: I'm sure Mo either realizes or will shortly come to realize how selfish that punch he threw was. He created an awful situation for his team. The Jets needed him out there today. The pass rush was non-existent after he was kicked out of the game. A guy who is the best player on the team should know to walk away. He's too valuable to risk being ejected. And to top things off, after he's just cost his team dearly he responds by smiling and taunting the crowd. Disappointing stuff.

Brian Winters: He was beaten for a sack, and the interception that turned the game around was partially due to him. He blew the block that led to Geno Smith getting hit. You can't quarterback successfully if the offensive line is allowing pressure up the middle.

Zach Sudfeld: I have a lot of respect for players with the talent to make an NFL roster, but I still can't believe what a poor effort Sudfeld made trying to get the ball on that interception. It didn't look like that ball had to be picked off. In that situation Sudfeld's job is to contest for the football and at the very least knock it away from the defender. He certainly has the size to do that.

Darrin Walls: It looked like the Packers were making an effort to go after him, and they had a lot of success. Anything short or intermediate seemed to be there all day.

Dee Milliner: I'm not sure whether Milliner was really healthy enough to be out there, but he got toasted a couple of times by Jordy Nelson, including on the game-winning touchdown.

Calvin Pryor: Rough one for the rookie. I counted three times he took a bad angle, running himself out of tackling position to make a big play even bigger. Again, this included the Nelson touchdown.

Defensive Line: The pass rush seemed to disappear in the second half. It wasn't just Wilkerson either. His ejection certainly didn't help, but the Jets were getting stonewalled before then.

Saalim Hakim: That drop of the kickoff in the second half was not the foot the Jets needed to start on.

Jalen Saunders: He just doesn't look explosive with the ball on punt returns. Something is going to have to give soon.

Chris Johnson: I'm not sure how much I blame Johnson because the issue might be as much with his usage as it is with him. He is not the guy who ran for 2,000 yards or anything close to it. He can't create his own yardage. He can't make people miss. He can't get to the corner on long-developing runs to the outside. You have to use him in a more limited way where you get him the ball with open space immediately in front of him. His 21 yards on 13 touches tell that story.

Receivers Not Named Eric Decker: Maybe I'll see something different rewatching, but I saw nowhere for Geno Smith to go with the ball once Decker left the game. Maybe this is more of a complaint about roster construction, but that wasn't fun to watch.

Rex Ryan: It's impossible to quantify how much stuff like the display the best player on the team put on, wasted timeouts, and incorrect personnel groupings being on the field at inopportune times, but it certainly doesn't speak well of the job the head guy did to instill order this week.

The Good:

Geno Smith: I was really happy with the job Geno did today. I'm not one to take moral victories away from defeats like this, but I thought he was a positive. This was an improvement over an uneven effort last week.

I liked the reads he made. I liked the plays he made with his arm and his feet. Even something subtle like pitching the ball to Jeremy Kerley on the option to pick up a ton of extra yardage with open field in front of him was smart. He didn't lose his composure under the pass rush, moving to buy himself extra time and dumping it to Bilal Powell a couple of times. The first touchdown when he stumbled at the snap looked like improvisation where he kept his cool. He did a better job avoiding big hits as a runner.

As discussed above, I don't think you can remotely put the interception on him. I also think the struggles to move the ball when Decker was out were not on him. And even still he hit a big time touchdown pass that got wiped out because his offensive coordinator took a timeout at a bad time.

I liked the Geno I saw today. I think he can be part of the solution.

Tommy Bohanon: This was the guy the Jets wanted. Four touches, four first downs. He was a useful outlet receiver and tough to bring down. I'd love to see more of this Bohanon.

Eric Decker: He ran nice routes and made some tough catches.

Nick Folk: 52 yards on a late summer day in Lambeau is a lot easier than on a cold and blustery January night, but it still is not a chip shot.

Demario Davis: I loved what I saw from him today. He had a nose for the ball against the run and in coverage. He added a pair of sacks, including one where he wasn't originally supposed to blitz and just read the play correctly.

Quinton Coples: I think this was the force we were all waiting to see. He had a sack a couple more hits of Rodgers.

Other Thoughts:

  • I mentioned this in the quick recap, but this game wasn't on the officials. By the letter of the law, the Jets should not have been granted a timeout. In a more practical sense, that timeout is getting granted almost every time. The official had to keep his eyes on the field. 80,000 people are screaming. When he hears timeout, he's going to grant it. If Rex Ryan knew Marty wanted to call a timeout, Rex would have called it. Yes, it stinks that a touchdown got wiped out, but there would be nothing but complaints had no timeout been granted and Geno took a sack there. If you want to be mad at somebody, be mad at Marty. I'm not, though. That was just bad luck. If the coach sees something he doesn't like, in the long run taking a timeout is going to be the right move a lot more often than not. No timeout is being granted unless somebody is calling for it. Same goes with the Harris interception that got wiped out. Did the extra Jet get off the field? Maybe, but don't have too many men to begin with and give the official a chance to blow the call. The Jets lost because they played a terrible second half and change to this game. Period.
  • I think a number of folks were premature with their analysis that the Jets made all of the right moves at corner this offseason because they manhandled the Raiders, and so and so cornerbacks struggled in Week 1. I think today showed that things like the secondary and receiver depth are very real issues the Jets face going forward.

Disappointing though this might be, the Jets are still 1-1. They can dust themselves off still very much in things. Hopefully we saw their worst half of the year today and have yet to see their best half.