The Jets fell to 2-1 today, losing to the previously winless Eagles at the Meadowlands by a 24-17 margin. The Jets fell behind 24-0, a deficit that proved too much to overcome, despite an excellent second half on defense. What happened? Let's get to it below.
Demario Davis: Davis actually led the Jets with 13 tackles, but he was one of the biggest culprits in helping the Eagles build up their early lead. He was prominently involved with some of the tackling and blown assignment issues that plagued the defense. He was burned for a touchdown in coverage and committed a big penalty on an Eagles touchdown drive. I know the penalty was a tough call to go against the Jets, but he had the tackle made. It seemed like he was taking out frustration slamming Darren Sproles when he had the back wrapped and was able to bring him down.
Brandon Marshall: Marshall had 10 catches, 109 yards, and a touchdown. This was on a day when Eric Decker was out, and the Eagles took advantage by devoting big resources to take Marshall away. Why not? No other Jets receiver was able to get separation consistently. How do I put Marshall in the bad column? He was involved in two critical turnovers than more than outdid any other contribution he made. His disastrous lateral in the second quarter led to the touchdown drive that gave the Eagles a 24-0 lead. It was a totally inexplicable play. I could have at least pieced together some sort of logic if it was an clear lateral, and the runner had daylight in front of him. Marshall threw the ball into traffic, and there were plenty of Eagles between Jeff Cumberland and the end zone. There was no upside to that play. In the fourth quarter, Marshall let a ball go through his hands that resulted in an interception. There really isn't much to add to that one. For a receiver of Marshall's caliber, that is a routine catch.
Ryan Fitzpatrick: The formula for the Jets to win is to not make Fitzpatrick carry the load. That went out the window with Eric Decker and Chris Ivory out. It was clear how big the downgrade was going from Decker to Jeremy Kerley and Devin Smith and from Ivory to Bilal Powell and Zac Stacy. With the regulars in the lineup, the Jets have good skill players. Decker runs smooth enough routes to create large windows. He makes defenses pay for keying on Marshall. Ivory helps to slow down the pass rush and put Fitzpatrick into reasonable downs and distances. With those guys out, he was left with skill players who required pinpoint precision to execute. A number of his throws were not awful. Given the lack of skill talent, the Jets needed them to be pinpoint. The biggest play a substitute player made was Jeremy Kerley's touchdown. True to form, Marshall drew the coverage to open room for Kerley. This is the type of performance we can expect when Fitzpatrick loses difference-makers because he just isn't that good. He doesn't have pocket presence. He doesn't have the cannon to fit balls into tight places or touch on his deep ball. He also takes too many chances and tries to make plays he shouldn't. See the deflected interception.If last week showed us how good the defense can be, this week showed us how much the quarterback situation limits the Jets. I know everybody wants to make a quarterback change the second the starter stumbles and that the backup quarterback is the most popular guy in town. I don't think things would be different if the Jets make a change, though.
Brian Winters: If Winters is the best backup lineman the Jets have, I don't get why the team is carrying so many guards on the roster. He was not effective coming in for Willie Colon and has to bear a lot of the responsibility for the Fitzpatrick interception that got tipped.
James Carpenter: I didn't think he had a great day blocking, and I don't think he got out quickly enough on a few screens.
Willie Colon: I guess this is the guard trifecta, but I didn't think he was effective before he went down.
Bilal Powell: I think Powell is the type of back who is more effective the less you see of him. If you can limit his snaps to a few carries to give the starter a breather and then passing downs, he'll look pretty good. He gets exposed as an every down back, which he became today. Powell didn't show much ability to create yardage as either a runner or a receiver. He had about one nice run and one nice reception in 17 touches from scrimmage. He also missed a tackle on Darren Sproles' punt return.
Zac Stacy: I think Stacy is probably better than what the Jets could have gotten with the seventh round pick they traded to get him. I also think he's an all right third back, but he isn't anything more. He isn't fast or elusive, nor does he run with much authority. That is why he was so ineffective as a return man and in his limited carries today.
Devin Smith: Just to be clear, I don't blame Smith for being here. He shouldn't be playing. He's a raw rookie who didn't get a training camp. He is only in due to injury. With that said, he showed his rawness. I didn't see him get separation on deep routes, and he had a shot to break up a Fitzpatrick interception. He didn't make much of an effort. He looks like he needs to put in work on the practice field learning the route tree. It felt like the Eagles sat on the deep routes. He will be able to do that once the other receivers get healthy.
Defensive Front: For as much talent as the Jets have up front, they did not generate a lot of pressure against an offensive line that looked anything but great in the first two weeks.
Quinton Coples: He had a quiet day, and his penalty ended what little hope the Jets had.
Darrelle Revis: Lost in how bad the Jets looked offensively was how bad of a game Sam Bradford played. The Jets deserve some credit for helping him on his way, and as we discussed, the pass rush was not great. Bradford averaged an absurdly low 4.2 yards per attempt. That was even worse than Fitzpatrick's 4.9 (also very poor). The Eagles barely tested Revis. It's nice to know one outside receiver is irrelevant.
Antonio Cromartie: Miles Austin might not be much of a test at this point in his career, but Cromartie had a nice bounceback game. He's gotten plenty of criticism for his play, but he made some nice plays on the ball.
Buster Skrine: He held Jordan Matthews in check.
David Harris: He got a bit of a break when he was isolated against Sproles, and the back dropped the pass. Harris played a nice game, though with 10 tackles and what seemed like a key forced fumble. The Jets needed a game-changing defensive play. Harris delivered, but the offense failed to take advantage.
Leonard Williams: I really like what I have seen out of the rookie so far. He is flashing. Today he put up his first half-sack.
The Jets were never going to go 19-0, but I was disappointed with how they came out. They were facing a reeling Eagles team and let Philly go right down the field on the first drive. While the defense did hold Philly out of the end zone, it allowed the Eagles to set the tone and gain confidence when they had to be doubting themselves. It isn't necessarily a shock to see a team come out flat off a short week and an emotional road win, but it was disappointing to see the Jets handle prosperity in this way.
Hopefully it will be a learning experience. The Jets head to London next week for a game with the Dolphins. A win there would still give the team an excellent first quarter of the 2015 season.