Final Score: Ravens 19 – Jets 3

NFL: New York Jets at Baltimore RavensThe Least You Should Know…

The Jets drop to 5-6, knocking them out of the final playoff spot and putting them in a bad situation in their head-to-head against the now-rising Ravens.

The Jets were in the game through the first half, but the continued three and outs on offense made it untenable for the defense to keep the Ravens from scoring.  That Baltimore score came in the last moments of the third quarter in the form of a Jacoby Jones 66 yard touchdown right between Ed Reed and Dee Milliner to put the Ravens up 19-3.

Geno Smith was 9/22 for 127 yards and two interceptions on a quarterback rating of 22.3.

The turnovers were kept to a minimum in the first half, but bit the Jets in the second half. Greg Salas inadvertently caused a fumble in Jets territory while in motion on offense, but Antonio Cromartie bailed out the Jets offense by intercepting a Flacco pass on the next play in the second quarter.  Geno Smith threw two interceptions in the second half, one which was almost the same as a punt after another Brian Winters hold came to knock the Jets out of field goal range.  The second came on an actual drive, but Smith’s throw into the end zone killed any momentum they had just gained from the drive.

The winds played a factor in the game.  Not necessarily on kicks, but in deadening (or aiding) long passes and punts.

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

The Jets offense was anemic all day regardless of whether the wind was at their back.  The Jets running game and Wildcat/Option use did its level best to try and sustain the offense, but the Ravens ability to defend the run eventually won out, and Geno and the receivers were ineffective save for a few drives.  As we feared, the Ravens are not a complete team, but had enough of the right components (run stopping and decent secondary) to best the Jets.

The Jets had protection issues and the receivers dropped many a catchable ball, but Geno’s inability to read progressions were the real problem.  For me, this was highlighted in a series halfway through the fourth quarter where LB Daryl Smith read the eyes of Geno Smith, three plays in a row and disrupted the quarterback’s throw each time causing the Jets to punt from their own territory.

While the score doesn’t perfectly reflect it, the Jets defense played well all day.  The Jets held the Ravens to 67 yards rushing  on 31 attempts … an eye-popping 2.2 YPC for the Jets.  Outside of two long catches (Jones for 66 and Smith for 60) the Jets pass defense performed as best they could considering their offense gave them no cover all day.

Ed Reed might be a help to this team somewhere, but for the second game in a row it is evident to me that it is not in the capacity as a center fielder.  At least not as a center fielder against teams with scary fast receivers.  Let Reed play Big Nickel or work more around the line.  Dawan Landry might not be perfect but seems more comfortable and competent in that role than Reed has for the Jets in two weeks.

Just three weeks ago, the campaigning had begun for Rex Ryan to keep his job in 2014.  Our position is that the Jets should extend Ryan, but would be wise to see how the final seven games played out coming off the zeitgeist of the team’s win over New Orleans.  After two straight losses, Rex’s defense has been the least of the team’s problems.  But we wonder how John Idzik sees things.  Rex Ryan’s strength is as a defensive mastermind and as the head coach and the proverbial buck does stop with him, but based on how well his defense has played it seems hard to blame the head coach for the incompetence of a rookie quarterback and an offense with little real talent in their prime at the skill positions.  Leaving Geno in for the full Ravens game might be unsavory, but that’s not a capital crime considering Idzik is the man who wanted Geno Smith in the first place.

GM John Idzik and the Jets might see future promise in Geno Smith, but he hasn’t shown enough spark over the last four games for his name to be above reproach when it comes to the standard sports radio start-him-or-bench-him talk that will inevitably come all week long … let alone be above reproach for next season.

So far by our count Jets GM John Idzik has traveled to at least three college football games this season: Georgia Tech at Clemson, Oregon at Stanford, and LSU at Mississippi State.

Why does that matter?  While more than six months awaits any NFL Draft prospects, quarterbacks Tajh Boyd (Clemson), Zach Mettenberger (LSU) and Marcus Mariota (Oregon) are all names that are speculated as potential first round quarterbacks.  While those are all good programs, it seems no mistake to us that John Idzik would make those three trips based on the Jets specific offensive deficiencies.  Clemson WR Sammy Watkins would be a nice addition, but a player like Tajh Boyd has the potential to elevate more guys around him.  It is Idzik’s job to be thinking about next year already.

Back to the present, the Jets ship was sinking around them and yet the Jets left a flat Geno Smith in the game.  Matt Simms and David Garrard might provide little over Smith, but if the Jets are truly fighting for their playoff lives, then leaving Smith in as flat as he was sends the wrong message in what we think many will look back at as the definitive game of the Jets 2013 season.