The Jets started their 2016 season off on the wrong foot today. New York lost to the Cincinnati Bengals at MetLife Stadium 23-22. The Jets now face a short week and a road trip to try and fight off an 0-2 start. What went wrong? Let's talk about it below.
Nick Folk: Folk had a 22 yard chip shot field goal blocked. If it is a 55 yard kick, and you have to hit a low line drive to get the ball to the post, it is one thing. A 22 yard field goal being blocked is always at least partially on the kicker except when somebody breaks through the line and takes it off his foot. That did not happen here. Folk's try did not have enough elevation. It was a big block too. It cost the Jets an early 10-0 lead. If this was not bad enough, Folk missed an extra point in a one point loss. One thing I always hear about Folk is that his mediocre stats aren't important because he is clutch. I think his clutchness factor has been overstated, but today's game shows the flaw with this theory. Field goals and extra points count as much in the first half as they do late in the game. Sometimes you also don't get that opportunity to make up for a miss in the fourth quarter.
Darrelle Revis: The headline will be "A.J Green: 10 catches, 180 yards, 1 TD." Revis wasn't, "10 catches 180 yards, 1 TD," bad, but he was "The Jets are in for a long season if he doesn't get better," and, "He is going to be a cap casualty after this season if he keeps playing like this," bad. At the very least, this confirmed our suspicions about the days of Revis Island being over. On the long touchdown, he should have had help, but A.J. Green got too much off him. Perhaps the most pivotal play of the game was the 11 yard reception Green had on third down against Revis that put the Bengals in range for what became the winning field goal. An incompletion there forces Cincinnati into either a fourth and long or a desperation 58 yard field goal attempt.
Marcus Gilchrist: He got lost on the Green touchdown. He got run over on another touchdown. He also had a big personal foul penalty that put the Bengals in business on the winning drive.
Marcus Williams: Williams had an interception, but the rest of the game was not pretty. Him losing his man helped to start the chain reaction on the Green touchdown as Gilchrist got caught trying to cover. He allowed another long completion to Brandon LaFell. If the Jets can't trust Williams to cover LaFell one on one, this defense has problems. He also did a matador act on a 54 yard C.J. Uzomah completion.
Chan Gailey in the red zone: I actually thought Gailey had a solid gameplan on my first view. He had a lot of quick passes to neutralize the pass rush and help the offensive line. He found a groove in the second half leaning on the run game. I have to give him some heat, though, for his playcalling in the red zone. In the first quarter, the Jets had three straight plays from the four yard line where they threw out of the shotgun. That isn't play calling that maximizes the chances of scoring. Then on a second half drive, the Jets got to the three yard line with six rushes of seven yards or more. Once they got down there, there was one handoff to a back. Why? At the very least, a throw should have been off play action. The Jets were dominating running the ball. The Bengals probably would have sold out, and the Jets could have slipped somebody out.
Todd Bowles/Kacy Rodgers: The defense was too frequently lost when the Bengals used complex formations and motions. They frequently were caught with too few players on screens. This drives me crazy because this was all on film. The Bengals did the same thing to the Raiders last year in the opener. The team should have been more prepared here.
Brandon Marshall: It was a quiet day for Marshall, and his drop on the last drive was a killer. The Jets would have been in business.
Ryan Fitzpatrick: Fitzpatrick was too erratic today. This was one of those games where you'd probably feel like he was good enough had the Jets won. Since they lost, it feels like he wasn't. He just left too many throws on the field. One that stands out was a miss to Marshall that would have put the Jets up 14-0. That game would have been on the verge of getting out of control if that pass is completed.
Leonard Williams: You want to see guys get better between years one and two. Williams looked unblockable at times in this game. He had 2.5 sacks. He helped set up another sack and had at least two other hits I saw.
Steve McLendon: Don't go too crazy about how the Jets have upgraded their pass rush because McLendon had two sacks. This is a guy who had five sacks in six seasons entering the game. Still, this might be the type of defense when he can flourish making plays by getting up the field.
Muhammad Wilkerson: Next to the other guys, his seven tackles and 1.5 sacks seem quiet, but Mo was very effective.
Lawrence Thomas: He had a big special teams tackle and then a pair of big stops on the final series.
Darron Lee: It probably flew under the radar, but I was impressed with Lee. He had a quiet six tackles, one of which required him to shed a block that also saved a touchdown.'
Matt Forte: Forte looked like he had fresh legs. He had 155 total yards. He was crafty reading his blocks and hitting holes. He also looked smooth as a ball carried.
Quincy Enunwa: Enunwa led the Jets with seven catches. Yes, a few of those were flips on plays that amounted to sweeps, but he showed he might be a weapon in the passing game this year.
Bilal Powell: Powell looked good in netting 48 yards on just six touches on offense. That number should increase. It isn't just about getting Powell more touches. Forte looked good, but it isn't a good idea to give a 30 year old back 27 touches from scrimmage if you want to preserve him for the full season.
Offensive Line: The line really found its groove run blocking in the second half. The pass blocking wasn't spectacular but held up better than anybody would have expected against the Cincinnati defensive line with some help from the offensive coordinator and quarterback dialing up some quick passes.
I don't think there is any other way to put it. The Jets should be kicking themselves over this loss. This was a golden opportunity to get a home win, and they squandered opportunities. This team isn't talented enough to lose many games like this. This is not a roster that is likely to rip off ten wins in a row. They need to get things turned around in a hurry because Buffalo awaits Thursday.