A disappointingly under-the-radar storyline from this game was the awful display by the Jets’ punt coverage units. Baltimore racked up 108 yards on punt returns, equivalent to 49% of the Jets’ total offensive output – or 79% if you exclude the two garbage time drives at the end.
The gunners – Ellis Lankster and Isaiah Trufant – were doing a good job of getting down the field, but even if they slowed the runner down, the second wave was so far off that Jacoby Jones was able to create positive yardage. On one play, Jones slipped Lankster’s tackle and there wasn’t another Jet within 8-10 yards, so Jones gained 37 yards. Can the loss of Konrad Reuland have been more serious than first thought? Zach Sudfeld was one of the players that was slow to get down there, as was Troy Davis, who was lit up on one return.
It perhaps didn’t help that Ryan Quigley was outkicking his coverage either. Even with one 67-yard punt that took a fortunate bounce and was downed inside the 10, his net average was still only 37.9 yards. It’s still not entirely obvious what he provides that Robert Malone did not.
Nick Folk braved the difficult conditions to nail his only kick of the day, but it was a short one. Justin Tucker made four of four for Baltimore, with one of them from well beyond 50-yards.
Josh Cribbs didn’t have much of an impact, but did make a few guys miss on one 16-yard punt return. Even Leger Douzable returned a kickoff for 10 yards this week. Speaking of Douzable, he didn’t jump offsides on a 4th and short punt this week, but Lankster almost did. The Jets were lucky that the call went against the long snapper for simulation.
One bright spot was Josh Bush, who had two special teams tackles and downed a punt inside the 20, but overall, this was a lackluster performance by the special teams unit.
Coming up…we wrap up with our final thoughts…