The Jets fell to the Steelers 31-13 today in Pittsburgh. The team is now 1-4 and in total freefall. Let’s talk about what happened.
Defensive Line: By my unofficial count, they only got to Ben Roethlisberger around three times. This was not like a week ago where the Jets had their way up front for much of the game but were done in by breakdowns in the back of the defense. At times it felt like Roethlisberger could have a four course meal back there. Roethlisberger has a reputation for standing strong in the pocket in the face of pressure, but pressure was rarely found today. This is a team that is supposed to be built around defensive line play, but the unit was manhandled for the most part in this game.
Marcus Williams: Once again, the offense gave the Jets an early lead with an opening drive score. Once again the defense gave it right back. This one was on Marcus Williams, who was torched by Sammie Coates for a long score on Pittsburgh’s first drive. Later in the game, Williams had some poor tackling attempts, bad reads in zone coverage, and subpar work on special teams. He also dropped a potential game-changing pick six. I think we are finding out this season that Williams is nothing more than a good dime back. He has not responded to a bigger role.
Erin Henderson/Darron Lee on the busted coverage on a touchdown: I am not sure which of the two was responsible, but one of them was probably supposed to take the receiver who ran wide open in the end zone.
Marcus Gilchrist: He seemed to get lost a little bit on another Pittsburgh score.
Ryan Fitzpatrick: I know some people are arguing this wasn’t a bad performance, but I think that is simply a sign we’ve reached that Mark Sanchez/Geno Smith point where expectations are so low that anything other than a complete meltdown looks good by comparison. His touchdown to Brandon Marshall probably should have been an interception. While the second half struggles on offense were not all on him, I did seem some inaccurate balls and some misreads. I am under no illusions that putting in Geno Smith can turn this season around or even give the Jets quality play from the quarterback position, but I do think it is time for a change. The Jets are in a desperate situation, and Fitzpatrick isn’t doing the job. The team needs to try something to change things up and provide a spark.
Todd Bowles: When you have this many players underpeforming across the board, the coaching has to take some of the heat, but his two punts in the fourth quarter with the Jets two scores down were poor game management. Under any circumstances, the Jets should have gone for it, but their defense was playing poorly, making the decisions even worse. There was no way Bowles could trust his defense to get the ball back.
Brandon Marshall: Sure, there were a few big passes he failed to come up with, but he stole a touchdown that should have been an interception and posted an 8 catch, 114 yard, 1 touchdown game. He came to play.
Rontez Miles: It was a big day for Miles recording 6 tackles and sniffing out that fake field goal the Steelers ran.
Darryl Roberts: He was beaten a few times, but I thought this was a pretty good game for the cornerback. The Steelers made it a point to go after the new guy, and he held up pretty well for the most part. Once Darrelle Revis returns, somebody is heading for the bench. I don’t think it should be Roberts. I am not ready to declare Roberts a future starter, but I do think he has earned more playing time and a longer look.
Nick Folk: A 48 yard kick isn’t easy in that stadium.
So the Jets are 1-4. Next up is a game at Arizona on national television. This thing could get worse before it gets better.