The Jets fell to 3-8 as they lost the first game after their bye today to the New England Patriots 27-13 at the Meadowlands. New York’s losing streak has now reached five games. Let’s discuss what happened below.
Defensive Front: It’s difficult for me to break this down into individual parts because the Jets were just so outclassed up front this game. The Patriots had 215 rushing yards in this game, and different problems emerged on practically every play. Steve McLendon wasn’t holding the point of attack. Leonard Williams and Jordan Jenkins were failing to tackle ball carriers short of the sticks. Darron Lee was getting kicked out by the fullback on a big run. The Jets were just dominated in the trenches. That carried over to the passing game as well. New York didn’t record a single sack in this game. Football can be a very simple game. When you get dominated up front, you lose.
Zone Coverages: Tom Brady averaged over 9 yards per attempt in this game. Unlike past contests this season, I had trouble pinpointing one culprit who kept getting toasted. It felt like the Patriots just knew how to create and exploit holes in the Jets’ zone coverages. They worked the middle of the field quite a bit. We didn’t get a great view from the CBS broadcast feed, but it seemed like the linebackers weren’t getting enough depth in their drops. The two Brady touchdown passes also appeared to result from zone miscommunication. The second one was particularly egregious. I’m not sure how a receiver can get wide open when eight defenders drop into coverage.
Second Half Pass Protection: After playing a quality first half, I thought the Jets pass protection regressed in the second half. Defenders were always in Josh McCown’s face. I keep seeing people talk about Spencer Long as though he played a spectacular game, but there were at least three hits on McCown I noticed that were his responsibility. My hunch is that when I review the film I’m going to find that the Patriots made some adjustments in their blitzes at halftime that confounded the Jets offensive line.
Coaching: Yes, it’s the low hanging fruit. I actually would give Todd Bowles a pass on accepting the third down penalty that preceded New England’s first touchdown. I think the Patriots probably would have gone for it on fourth and two. In that context, a third and thirteen play is better for the defense.
With that said, there are just too many examples of how this team is poorly coached. Remember how the Jets squandered a penalty the Patriots took on an extra point? It gifted the Jets a kickoff from midfield. Rather than pop up a kickoff to the 5 to pin New England deep, the Jets just took a touchback. These are little areas where coaching can give the team a small edge. The Jets never seem to take advantage.
Then we get to playcalling. When you factor in sacks and scrambles, Josh McCown dropped back to pass 50 times or so. Jets running backs got 12 carries. How under any circumstances is this pass to run ratio a winning formula for any team playing its backup quarterback. Jeremy Bates has been criticized at times for leaning too heavily on the run. A game like this shows that his problems might not be purely philosophical. They might run deeper. He looks like an offensive coordinator who does not know how to read and adjust to game situations.
Jamal Adams: Adams was spectacular in this game. His range neutralized potential big runs. He played effective coverage against Rob Gronkowski. He made hits to separate receivers from the ball. The total stat line was 10 tackles and 3 passes defensed.
Jason Myers: It is a bad year when one of the bright spots is the kicker, but Myers continued his impressive campaign by hitting yet another 55 yard kick.
Chris Herndon: Herndon seems like one of the few young players on the team who might be part of the solution for this team long-term. He had 7 catches for 57 yards in this one.
This lost season continues next week in Tennessee.