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Colts 45 Jets 30: Defense Goes Missing in Indy

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star Christine Tannous/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

I said to somebody I know this afternoon that it was Jets’ fans luck that this is the week the team played its Thursday night game. After one of the most thrilling victories in years, we didn’t get a full week to enjoy it. We only got three days before a difficult road matchup on a short week. Tonight’s 45-30 loss to the Indianapolis Colts was about as frustrating of a game as anybody could have imagined. This was definitely a case where the final score was deceptive. The Jets were never really in the game at any point in the second half.

There isn’t any deep analysis necessary in this one. The Jets defense got embarrassed. On the Colts’ first seven drives they scored six touchdowns. On the only stop the Jets got in this stretch, Indianapolis got the ball all the way down to the 2 yard line before turning it over on downs. The defensive line was totally manhandled. There was seldom pressure on Carson Wentz during the competitive portions of this game. That paled in comparison to how dismal the run defense was, though. The Colts had over 100 yards by early in the second quarter. At halftime they were averaging around 8 yards per attempt. Before the end of the third quarter, they already had the most rushing yards of any team in a single game this season. Nobody played well on defense. CJ Mosley and Jarrad Davis had shaky moments. Bryce Hall came up short on a number of key first half plays. Ashtyn Davis doesn’t seem to understand where he needs to be. It was ugly all the way around.

What made the game especially frustrating was what happened in the early stages of the game on offense. If Mike White had come out and showed last week’s amazing performance was some sort of aberration, I think most Jets fans could have lived with it. Instead, he looked just as efficient as he was against the Bengals, completing 7 of 11 passes for 95 yards and a touchdown. It was on that touchdown that disaster struck as he suffered some sort of wrist injury that knocked him out of the game. We still don’t have a definitive answer on how good White is, but we got a very enticing sample, the type that makes you wonder what could have been in this game. Could White have led the Jets in a shootout trading touchdowns with the Colts? In some ways the timeframe of Zach Wilson’s injury was perfect heading into this game. White would get at least one more start against the Colts and quite possibly another next week. We would at least be able to get a better sense of how sustainable his success could be. His injury changes things. We will wait to learn more about its severity, although in the event both White and Wilson are healthy for next week, I think there is at least a credible argument to be made for starting White.

Take nothing away from Josh Johnson. Given the circumstances, I’m not sure the Jets could have asked much more from the journeyman third stringer. He threw for 317 yards and 3 touchdowns. Most of the production came in garbage time of a blowout, but he couldn’t control the circumstances. All he could do was go out and produce. That Johnson did. Other offensive stars for the Jets included Elijah Moore with 7 catches, 84 yards, and 2 touchdowns, Keelan Cole with 5 catches for 66 yards, and yes...Ryan Griffin with 4 catches for 28 yards and a touchdown. With most snaps coming after the game was decided, it’s difficult to understand what to make of this 486 yard, 30 point outburst.

Really, though, the offense wasn’t relevant anyway. This defensive performance gave the Jets zero chance to win. It was the second time in three weeks the defense imploded in embarrassing fashion. Unlike the game in New England two weeks ago, they don’t have the absence of CJ Mosley as an excuse.

The Jets now must prepare to face the AFC East leading Bills. The silver linings? They have three extra days to prepare. They also get Buffalo at home, where this has been a much more competitive team.

The defense couldn’t possibly be less competitive than it was tonight.