The Texans sent the Jets to their fourth loss in five games today. Houston triumphed 27-17 to send Gang Green to 5-5 on the season. What didn't go right? Join me below as we discuss.
Coaching: I am putting this loss on the coaching staff above anything else. The Jets had three extra days to prepare for this game than they usually do because they played on Thursday last week. The Texans had one less day to prepare for this game than they usually do because they played on Monday last week. A fan could be forgiven for thinking the situations were flipped watching this game. The Texans were the team that came up with all of the wrinkles on offense from the Wildcat to the trick play that resulted in a touchdown. On the other side, the Jets did not seem prepared for any of it. I know it is too much to ask the Jets to shut down JJ Watt by scheme, but I felt they left Breno Giacomini without help too often and ran right at Watt too often. I also question leaving Marcus Williams on an island against DeAndre Hopkins in the red zone. Then how do you get a too many men penalty out of a timeout on a critical play? That one seemed to be right out of the Rex Ryan playbook. I thought it was a very disappointing job by the coaching staff on numerous levels.
Darrelle Revis: This week I could not help but think back to the last time the Jets visited Houston. It was six years ago, the start of the 2009 season. The Texans had arguably the best wide receiver in the league, Andre Johnson. I remember being very confident Darrelle Revis would be up to the task of not just holding his own against Johnson but shutting him down. That is exactly what happened. I compared it to this week when I was nervous about a six year older Revis against DeAndre Hopkins, the current Texans receiver who might be the best in the league. I think we can say Hopkins clearly won the battle today, capped by a 61 yard touchdown where he toasted Revis one on one. He beat Revis deep earlier as well, but T.J. Yates missed the throw. On other completions against Revis, the Texans executed at a top level. There were a few completions where he had good position. I guess this is a subtle or perhaps not so subtle way showing Revis has declined. How has he been the rest of the year? Revis has been a top notch cornerback. He has rarely been beaten. He is still among the best, but he maybe can't hang with the very best receivers by himself anymore. He can't shut down the precision back shoulder passes like he could years ago.
Devin Smith: I have defended Smith this season because a lot of his problems have had to do with being an inexperienced rookie. I don't think you can say that today. There were two key passes he failed to haul in that hit him in the hands. On one he seemed to let up because he sensed he would get hit hard. That one is troubling. Sometimes you have to absorb contact to make a catch. Another would have been a touchdown and hit him in the hands. These aren't rookie errors. Smith is contributing so little that he's is nearing, "This guy shouldn't dress," status. I think some of the calls for Jeremy Kerley have been overblown. Kerley hasn't exactly lit the league on fire when given a chance. Still, with how little Smith is providing this team, I think it is worth asking why he seems to be ahead of Kerley on the receiver hierarchy.
Breno Giacomini: I blame the coaching staff more than I blame Breno for the problems JJ Watt gave him. They never should have left a mediocre right tackle one on one against the best defensive player on the planet. Still, being a mediocre player isn't exactly a feather in Giacomini's cap. He was beaten pretty soundly.
D'Brickashaw Ferguson: Ferguson was also beaten for a sack and flagged for a holding penalty on a rough day.
Ryan Fitzpatrick: It was a rough spot to be in with the Jets unable to block Watt and receivers dropping too many balls, but Fitzpatrick made a lot of bad reads and off target throws on his way to a 19 for 39 day including a pair of interceptions when the Jets had a chance to tie the game. On the second, it seemed like he didn't feel a defender moving into his passing lane. It was a gutty effort. His rushing touchdown required him taking a shot to the head. It wasn't a good effort, though.
Antonio Cromartie: He tried to undercut a route on Cecil Shorts that turned into a 35 yard completion. He didn't have any help behind him so it was a major gamble, one he lost. It also looked like Cro got lost on the ensuing trick play that gave the Texans the lead back.
Demario Davis: He also appeared to be fooled by the trick play.
Quincy Enunwa: He failed to come up with a few balls that could have made a difference.
Damon Harrison: He did a really nice job shedding blocks and shutting down the Houston run game. The Texans struggled to gain much out of their conventional run game and generally saw their only success on Wildcat plays. Harrison had an absurd 12 tackles.
Calvin Pryor: He made a number of key plays on defense from holding up in coverage against Watt to covering for Antonio Cromartie on the flat near the goal line as presnap motion tried to get Cro caught in coverage to cleaning up on a screen after a Marcus WIlliams missed tackle. Pryor had 6 tackles.
Leonard Williams: I thought he did a good job getting a push against the pass and the run. He had 6 tackles as well.
Marcus Williams: I could go either way since he was beaten by Hopkins, but the way I see it he had two big positive plays compared with one big negative. Yes, Hopkins beat him for the touchdown, but Williams did break up a pass intended for Hopkins when left one on one on a key third down that gave the Jets one last shot to tie the game. He also had a big strip sack where he read the play correctly on a delayed blitz and actually delivered a big hit.
Eric Decker: He really got involved in the second half with 4 catches for 81 yards and a pass interference he drew.
We are onto Miami.