The Jets lost yesterday to the Bengals. Let’s get to our anti-game balls. I also have a single game ball to give out.
Defensive Line: I feel like if you look at the overall numbers they don’t look terrible. The Jets got a fair amount of heat on Joe Burrow. Still there was something missing. The Bengals jumped out to an early lead, one they would never surrender, and controlled the trenches in those first phases of the game. The Jets failed to finish on a number of sack opportunities that turned into positive plays for Cincinnati. The unit also got shoved around on a time-consuming drive by the Bengals that ate up over half the fourth quarter, effectively ending the game. This unit is supposed to carry the defense, and it just hasn’t been carrying its weight the last few weeks.
John Franklin-Myers: Although technically he got his anti-game ball as part of the defensive line, I feel the need to give him a special mention for the roughing the passer penalty that extended a Cincinnati drive which turned Into a touchdown.
Jordan Whitehead: That drive turned into a touchdown because Whitehead completely whiffed on what should have been a routine tackle. That turned a bad play into a catastrophic 66 yard touchdown by Tyler Boyd. Jets safeties have been brutal all season long, and it is having massive negative repercussions on the team.
George Fant: I think Fant is clearly playing hurt. He has been on the injury report every week of the regular season and been sitting out early week practices. Still he’s been healthy enough to take the field on Sunday. We have to judge his play. It has not been good. In this game he was beaten for a pair of sacks and committed a penalty in just over one half of football.
Laken Tomlinson: You never want to completely throw in the towel on a signing after three games, but sometimes a player’s early performance gives you immediate vibes the team made a massive mistake. There aren’t a lot of great statistics for guards, but Tomlinson is really struggling out there.
Conor McDermott: It is never easy when you are down to your number five tackle, but McDermott is a replacement level player. It didn’t even feel like he was impeding pass rushers at points yesterday, namely on a drive ending fourth down sack early in the fourth quarter.
Joe Flacco: I went back and forth on whether to put the old man on the list. I think everybody understands his limitations at this point. But he’s really not giving the offense much of a chance. It felt in the second half like he had no idea where he was throwing it when he put it up. There was namely one throw off his back foot that looked like it hit the goal post. The Jets should consider themselves lucky they navigated the first three games at 1-2 with the caliber of quarterback play they got.
Greg Zuerlein: Zuerlein is the only Jet I can justify giving a game ball this week. The veteran kicker seems to have shaken off a rocky first week. He provided the Jets with all of their scoring in this game, connecting on all four of his field goal attempts. A pair of these kicks came from beyond 50 yards. Kicking performance is one week away from turning into a disaster, but Jets fans can be cautiously optimistic that they might have competent placekicking for the first time since 2018. In a note that is probably related, Zuerlein is the first kicker the Jets have had in that span with an actual proven NFL track record.