The Jets are on their first losing streak of the season. Gang Green lost to the Raiders 34-20 today in Oakland. It was not pretty. The Jets allowed Raiders touchdowns the first three times Oakland had the ball. New York was never closer than 14 points down at any point in the second half. The Jets were thoroughly outclassed. Let's talk about it below.
Defensive Line: It is supposed to be one of the league's best units. It did not look that way today. I will give you two stats. The Jets had zero sacks of Derek Carr. There were points where it felt like he had all day. The Jets also allowed a large 4.7 yards per rush. It seemed like the Raiders kept blowing holes open on the right side of the line for big runs in the first half. Muhammad Wilkerson was to blame on some of them. Leonard Williams took a big penalty to extend a touchdown drive early and otherwise did not make an impact. The Jets just did not get much of an effort out of their best players today upfront.
Antonio Cromartie: He was burned by Andre Holmes for a 49 yard touchdown. He was part of the crew that blew multiple tackles on Michael Crabtree's touchdown. He missed numerous other tackles. This is a defense that requires its players to make tackles in space short of the sticks. I also thought he missed a golden opportunity for an interception on the first series because he gave too much of a cushion. Carr was under pressure and threw a ball up for grabs. The poor throw allowed Cromartie to recover and make a play, but had he taken a better approach, he might have made a pick to change the game.
Marcus Williams: He saw a lot of time today in place of Calvin Pryor. Williams had played pretty well up to this point in limited duty against favorable matchups. He showed an ability to play well as a depth guy. When he saw big time today, he got exposed. I lost count of the tackles he missed at five. Two of them came on long touchdowns. He also allowed a completion in coverage that allowed the Raiders to kick a field goal. Williams is a nice extra, but today suggests he might not be starter material in the NFL.
Buster Skrine: He was beaten for the first touchdown of the game and got lost a couple of times in traffic where he might have been able to make a play.
Darrelle Revis: I'm being a little harsh here because Oakland did not get much off Revis. He was beaten by Amari Cooper a few times on an early touchdown drive, though. Revis is still one of the game's top cornerbacks, but he is now on the other side of 30. Athletically, he is not the guy he used to be. There are a handful of moments when it shows. Those plays ended up helping Oakland set the tone and jump out to a big lead.
Demario Davis: I liked a lot of what Davis did today. I thought he was active and moved well on defense, but I have to put him here for the role he played in missing the tackle on the Crabtree touchdown and on the Taiwan Jones long touchdown. That play was so important in this game.
Marcus Gilchrist: If only for the way he missed the tackle on the long Jones touchdown.
Offensive Line: When you replace one of the best centers in the league with a guy fresh off the practice squad, you can expect bad things to happen. They did. On running plays when the back loses yardage, it is the line's fault. You can't blame the back when the defense makes contact in the backfield. This happened to Chris Ivory no less than six times in this game.
Coaching: Even if we get past how sloppy the team played or how unprepared it looked, the late game strategy made no sense. How do you punt down two scores with under four minutes left or run a draw down two scores with under two minutes to go? Granted, the Jets probably would not have won anyway, but coaching needs to maximize the potential for a comeback. The Jets minimized theirs.
Geno Smith: I've gotten tired of talking about Geno Smith. I feel like there is no objectivity. Everything good he does is either because he's a future star to some people or because he's a total victim of circumstance to others. Everything bad he does is because he's awful or a victim of circumstance. So let me try and offer some middle ground.
I thought on the whole, it was a pretty effective effort. He netted over 300 yards of offense and shook off early rust. Part of that was because he played much of the game down two to three scores, and the Raiders went soft defensively. Part of that was because he made some really nice throws and plays, a deep strike to Brandon Marshall, a 29 yard scramble, and the touchdown where he bought himself time and made a nice throw. There also is something to be said for taking what a prevent defense gives you. Does it mean a whole lot? No, but it is at least something.
Geno also made a handful of really bad plays. These are the catastrophic tendencies that have limited his early career success. The interception seemed like it came because he locked onto one receiver and gave Charles Woodson a beat on him. The two late game sacks were really bad.
At the end of the day, I think this was a nice effort. The Jets are not going to win games when the defense plays this badly no matter the quarterback. Did I see enough to make me think Geno Smith should be starting over Ryan Fitzpatrick if everybody is healthy? No, I did not.
Brandon Marshall: He played hobbled and went over 100 yards.
Kembrell Thompkins: He provided a nice short outlet for the passing game with 6 catches and drew a penalty to set up a score.
Jeremy Kerley: Had a nice catch and run to set up the field goal that gave the Jets their only lead.
David Harris: He led the team with 9 tackles. I thought he was one of the few Jets on defense who effectively got to the ball.
I think we learned something about the Jets today. I am not going to go over the top and say this is a bad defense. I do think expectations have been tempered a bit. Off a loss, one of the top teams in the league, finds a way to win this game. A merely decent team gets trapped on the road against an up and coming Oakland squad. This is looking more like a 9-10 win Wild Card contender than an 11-12 win team that is going to be a really tough postseason matchup.
We move on.