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Jets 19 Raiders 14: Sloppy Domination

Jeff Zelevansky

The Jets are off to a 1-0 start for the fifth time in the six years of the Rex Ryan Era. New York defeated the Oakland Raiders today at the Meadowlands 19-14. The score wasn't indicative of the way the Jets dominated the game, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Gang Green outgained the Raiders 402-158. You also have to consider that the Raiders gained 73 yards when the Jets were in prevent mode late in the fourth quarter.

Join me below as we talk in more detail about what happened. As always, these are preliminary views based on my first watching and subject to change on subsequent viewings.

The Good:

Rex Ryan and Dennis Thurman's scheme: I think I give the most credit to the defensive gameplan Rex Ryan and Dennis Thurman devised. The Raiders have a new offensive line with some players at new positions and nobody used to working together. The Jets caused a lot of havoc with Oakland's protection. They put a ton of pressure, and there was breakage. Oakland seldom took shots on the vulnerable Jets secondary, and it seems like the reason was the issues they had up front.

Muhammad Wilkerson: The Raiders had problems running the ball, and Wilkerson's ability to tie up linemen had something to do with that. I also counted three passes he batted down at the line.

Antonio Allen: He held up well in his first test. The Raiders got him once on a timing pattern in the first half, but I didn't really see him get beaten again. The completions that came against him tended to be short and have minimal damage because he was quick to the ball and tackled well. AA finished with 5 tackles.

Dawan Landry: He took a bad angle on Oakland's first touchdown, but he did good work flying to the ball and limited the damage Marcel Reece could do. He also read a blitz nicely and registered a sack.

Jason Babin: Babin recorded his first sack with the Jets and was a presence in Oakland's backfield in the second half.

David Harris: The Raiders averaged 1.7 yards per rush, and Harris registered 8 tackles.

Damon Harrison: With those kind of rushing numbers, the nose tackle is playing well.

Chris Johnson: This is what you'd want from Johnson. He isn't really a guy who can create his own yardage. He can explode through small creases, blaze through open field when he gets it in space, and serve as a target out of the backfield.

Chris Ivory: He's only here because of one run, but it was a big one. Ivory's 71 yard run in the fourth quarter put this one away. It didn't look like anything special at the start. He just made a few cuts, broke some tackles, and took it the distance. Johnson gets a lot of the buzz, but I think by the end of the year Ivory is going to be viewed as the backfield's homerun threat.

Eric Decker: Very solid start to Decker's Jets career. He led the team with 5 catches for 74 yards. He worked the intermediate zones well. He looked strong after the catch. He also was open in the end zone on a throw Michael Vick missed and had a 19 yard catch wiped out on a questionable offensive pass interference call.

Jeff Cumberland: Through his career, Cumberland has seemed like a guy whose whole is less than the sum of his parts. He's big and fast but hasn't made much of an impact. I liked what I saw from him today, though. He was there on short stuff, and took one up the field for 26 yards en route to a 4 catch, 50 yard game.

Offensive Line: The Jets had a nice day on the ground even outside Geno Smith's scrambles. It seemed like the guys up front were opening holes. The pass protection was also good. The Jets only allowed two sacks, and one seemed like it might have been on Geno's blitz recognition. Geno generally had a clean enough pocket.

Geno Smith: I think this is going to look better in the box score than it did on the field. It wasn't a terrible performance. Decent is probably the best way to describe it.

In the good category, Geno made a lot of good reads and found open targets. It seemed like Marty Mornhinweg called a good game to put his quarterback in favorable positions, and the quarterback for the most part did his job. Geno also moved well within the pocket and made some plays with his legs. He hit 23 of 28 passes for 221 yards.

What went wrong? There was an interception to set up Oakland's first touchdown. Very few interceptions can be placed 100% on one thing. Charles Woodson made a great play. It looked like Geno also gave him a chance to make a great play by staring down his target and perhaps not getting the ball out quickly enough. Geno also fumbled in the red zone, costing the Jets at least a field goal. Then later in the game his footwork fell apart under pressure, and he backpedaled into a sack that knocked the Jets out of field goal range. He also fumbled. On a smaller scale, he also needs to slide better to avoid taking big hits.

So it was kind of a mixed bag. The good plays outnumbered the bad, but the mistakes cannot be that catastrophic. The Jets are going to pay against better teams when the quarterback's play swings at least 13 points. We easily could be having a very different discussion had the defense not been so dominant. But today it was good enough to win. Probably not as good as his over 80% completion percentage would indicate, but certainly tangible improvement evident. Plenty to build upon. Plenty to clean up.

Saalim Hakim: A 44 yard kickoff return is one heck of a way to start a season.

The Bad:

Darrin Walls: He was decent for the most part, but he was also a guilty party on both Oakland touchdowns. On the first he couldn't get off a block. On the second he seemed to get lost. He also contributed a penalty on that second drive.

Michael Vick: Well, when you are only involved in one play, and you miss a throw on that one play with an open receiver in the end zone, how can you not be in the bad section?

Jalen Saunders: He didn't have many opportunities to return punts, but his performance continues to be underwhelming. On his first return he again didn't take the ball up the field. On the second he started with open field in front of him and didn't make anybody miss.

Greg Salas: He did catch the clinching onside kick, but the blocking made it a routine catch. He had a touchdown on the first drive hit him in both hands.

I think openers like this are a coach's dream in some ways. Your team banks the victory, but nobody is going to be overconfident after a series of penalties, turnovers, and miscues. The Jets did what they needed to do today. They will also need to be a lot better to beat Green Bay in a week.