The Jets seemed to approach this game like they figured that if Geno Smith could avoid any big mistakes, that would give them a chance to win. To some extent, he did avoid major errors, with one of his two interceptions coming on a third and long shot that gave Baltimore the ball in the same area that they would have field a punt anyway and the other coming late in the game. Unfortunately, this overly simplistic approach has led to a serious drop off in production from Smith and made the Jets’ offense very easy to stop.
Too many times, Ravens defenders were able to get a jump on the ball and that’s because – as the announcers pointed out – he’s falling into that trap that many young quarterbacks do and locking onto his intended target; staring at the same tree, missing the forest.
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The Jets’ string of winning every other game always looked likely to come to an end in a tough matchup in Baltimore and so it proved. They now find themselves under .500 for the first time this season. However, while that pattern was destined to come to an end, the way the game unfolded was all too familiar.
New York kept the game tight in the first quarter, more than holding their own in a field-position battle that looked certain to end in a tight, low-scoring affair. However, the Ravens were able to widen the gap with some big plays, each of which intensified the pressure on the Jets and narrowed their already flimsy margin of error.
Things were under control until Joe Flacco completed a 60-yard pass to Torrey Smith to set up the go-ahead field goal, then the Jets turned the ball over in their own territory on a freak play where Nick Mangold’s snap hit the man in motion. These key moments always seem to go against the Jets when the game is still in balance and when they start to pile up, you know you’re gon’ get got.
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During the season, Bent’s Game Analysis charts games for some of the Jets’ upcoming opponents, enabling a break down of what to watch out for on gameday…
The Super Bowl champions are only 4-6, but still have a ton of talent and it’s a tricky matchup for the Jets on the road.
After the jump, I break down the positional groupings (BGA-style!) to try and highlight what the Jets need to look out for. To read more of this story, click here
Earlier this week, the Jets signed 25-year old free agent defensive end/linebacker Jermaine Cunningham. Cunningham provides the Jets with cover at the edge rusher position with Garrett McIntyre injured, Antwan Barnes already on injured reserve and Ricky Sapp now on the Houston Texans.
The 6-3, 255-pound Cunningham was a second round draft pick in 2010 and started 14 games over the past three seasons with the Patriots, recording 3.5 career sacks. He was injured in preseason and did not play, failing to make it through final cuts in August. He went on to spend four weeks on the 49ers roster in October, although he did not play for them either. To read more of this story, click here
Welcome to BGA Extra, where I draw a line under the previous weekend’s game by responding to your questions from Bent’s Game Analysis during the week. After the jump, I respond to your questions about the loss to the Bills. If you would like your questions answered in future, remember to read my BGA game breakdowns every Monday and leave your question in the comments section. To read more of this story, click here
After opening the season by making all 23 of his field goal attempts, Nick Folk had to miss eventually. And when it came, you knew it would be at a really bad time.
Folk’s kick looked to be right down the middle, but then got swept wide right by a huge gust of wind. At the time, the game was scoreless and the Jets were in control of clock and field position, but this gave Buffalo the ball back just shy of their 40-yard line. Although they were only able to generate one first down on the drive, this enabled them to pin the Jets inside their 10-yard line, from where they ran the ball three times and punted. Now in control of the field position battle, the Bills took a 3-0 lead and from there the Douzable penalty/Milliner losing sight of the ball/Winters giving up strip sack trifecta bit them hard.
It’s interesting that Folk’s kick took such a sharp right turn there, almost as though Dick Dastardly was controlling it with a remote device or something. Dan Carpenter’s go-ahead field goal in the same direction was straight and true. As we’ve all observed, Folk’s kicks do have a strange tendency to veer right and then come back to the left and I wonder if this makes them more susceptible to being caught by the wind.
In an effort to reverse-jinx Folk into not falling into a slump, I should remind you all of these statistics he had entering the season (from Bent and Bassett’s Season Preview):
[T]here’s been a worrying trend since the end of the 2008 season. Since then, he has only missed four of 49 field goals in weeks one to seven, but has missed 27 of 70 (almost 40%) in week eight or after. Prior to his hip surgery, this wasn’t an issue – he made all 13 field goal attempts after week seven in 2008. The cold weather could be a factor – over the last three years, he has made 97% of his field goals when the temperature was 60 degrees or above, but only 65% when it is colder than that.
As I said, it did seem to be a perfectly good kick that just got caught in the wind. I’m really hoping that his reduced workload is the main thing you can attribute his success so far to, because that would mean it’s hopefully sustainable this time. To read more of this story, click here
So, I’ve been waiting at least 10 years to see Ed Reed in a Jets jersey. Maybe it’s not all it’s cracked up to be if the secondary is going to give up a 121.9 QB rating to a rookie quarterback, leading to a 23-point blowout.
While you can’t blame Reed for much, if any, of the success the Bills had, it was arguably a boneheaded decision to get him to start and play the whole game when the other safeties had been performing perfectly adequately. What this seemed to achieve was to remove the advantage the Jets had with two weeks to prepare coming off their bye week and instead made their defense slightly vulnerable.
Maybe it only affected a handful of plays, but when those plays could be momentum-changing third down stops, you’re adversely affecting your chances of winning. On one play, Antonio Cromartie was talking to Reed and pointing out where he should be at the snap and the Bills quick-snapped and threw an immediate pass to his man for an easy first down. On another, Reed ran deep when he perhaps should have picked up an intermediate route, which led to a receiver being uncovered and the Jets got lucky that EJ Manuel missed Scott Chandler with his pass. Cromartie was – not for the first time this year – visibly frustrated with some of his teammates following what he obviously saw as coverage breakdowns caused by them. Of course Ed Reed is a legend, but throwing him in there when it was obvious he perhaps wasn’t 100% ready was never going to fix those issues, just add to it. To read more of this story, click here
Three of the four starting linebackers played every snap this week, with Calvin Pace the only one to get a rest (for nine snaps, on which rookie Troy Davis replaced him.) Despite the fact there were a ton of plays stuffed at or close to the line of scrimmage, they were all able to make contributions, led by Quinton Coples who continues to settle into his edge rushing/setting role.
Coples was in on several run stops, including one for a loss and a handful more at or close to the line of scrimmage. While it was hard for the Jets to generate much pressure with Manuel getting rid of the ball so quickly, he did beat his man cleanly twice to nail Manuel as he threw. He was forced to the inside on one running play and got fooled on a Manuel bootleg, but on the whole he is really starting to produce. Despite the injuries, he has 21 tackles already this year, having had 30 all of last year. To read more of this story, click here
Even in the worst blowout losses, you can pretty much rely on being able to see the silver lining in the performance of the defensive line. Once again, that was the case here, with the Bills being held to just 68 yards on 38 carries — including just six yards on 13 carries for CJ Spiller.
The pass rush was less productive than usual, with EJ Manuel under pressure just seven times in 31 dropbacks, but that’s mainly attributable to Manuel getting rid of the ball quickly. Manuel got rid of the ball 0.3 seconds faster than he usually does on average, holding onto the ball for more than 2.5 seconds just 27% of the time (he averages 47%).
Ironically, if there’s one unit on the team that did come out a bit flat, it probably was the defensive line. On the first few series, Muhammad Wilkerson got blocked out of a play and Sheldon Richardson was driven off the line, while Damon Harrison was driven off the line twice and sealed inside once. That didn’t affect the outcome, though, because the defense stiffened, and from that point onward dominated up front.
As usual, Wilkerson was at the center of everything, as he was in on nine tackles (seven solo). The longest gain on any of those nine plays went for two yards. As a pass rusher, he pressured Manuel just once, breaking a string of five straight games with a sack. However, it was a dominant display against the run. Sometimes, however, you can be punished for being too good. To read more of this story, click here
With Jeff Cumberland, Kellen Winslow and Santonio Holmes (the three of whom comprise over 35% of the Jets’ passing offense so far this year, in terms of yardage) returning to the fold, the Jets had almost a full compliment of receivers, but still couldn’t get anything going in the passing game.
The big story is probably Stephen Hill, who once again had no catches. Over the last seven and a half games, Hill has caught just 10 of 28 passes, with none of them going for over 20 yards. His production has completely dried up.
During the game, the announcers made several references to the fact that the Bills’ emerging possession receiver Chris Hogan is nicknamed “7-eleven” because he’s always open. Cute. Perhaps we should call Hill “Chick-fil-A” because he’s never open on Sundays.
What if that’s not entirely fair, though? To read more of this story, click here