Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.comLast week, the Jets beat the Oakland Raiders 37-27 at home, breaking their three game losing streak. Here, we grade the team’s offense, defense and special teams:
The game for Geno Smith wasn’t without its faults, but on the whole it was the best game we’ve seen from the Jets quarterback in a long time, maybe even as far back as the Falcons Monday Nighter.
It has been a long time since we’ve seen Geno Smith show more decisiveness than hesitance with the football. The rookie was getting the ball out before a receiver had made his break on many occasions. Though Geno did hold the ball a beat too long on a few almost interceptions to go along with his one telegraphed pick. On the whole it was a good performance from the rookie and demonstrated that with targets he trusts, he can be effective.
It isn’t lost on us that the availability of Jeremy Kerley and Santonio Holmes against a bad Raiders secondary helped. Kerley only have four catches for 41 yards and a score, but his presence seemed to make life easier for Smith, where he struggles with passes in the middle of the field that at time any NFL quarterback needs to pick up.
The line played well and had solutions to hiding Brian Winters. The running game was buoyed by Geno’s ability to scramble on the ground to the tune of 50 yards and Chris Ivory’s yards after contact is rivaled by only Adrian Peterson and Andre Ellington.
In the end, the Jets did their job on this side of the ball by stopping the Raiders from gaining more points than they allowed, but it didn’t look pretty and there were a number of key issues. First, backup Marcel Reece had more yards against the Jets than any running back this season with 123. Considering the names that the Jets have been up against in 2013, it is odd that Reece would post the best numbers, but he did. The run defense has been a point of pride and with inexperienced quarterbacks in for the Raiders, the Jets had to know it was coming and still couldn’t beat them.
In the secondary it was good and bad. Ed Reed had career pick number 62 and Dee Milliner had his best game as a pro, but the Jets still allowed too much yardage in the air to an inexperienced and undermanned receiver corps. Rod Streater took advantage of Ed Reed’s collision with Antonio Cromartie to go for a long score, again demonstrating the team’s troubles on their back-end.
Special Teams: A+
Nick Folk was once again perfect on a cold day in New Jersey and hit all three of his field goal attempts, one for 51 yards. The coverage on both punts and kicks was very effective and while the group missed some tackles, the second wave was often there to stop the returns before they got too far.
Antonio Allen made the play of the game with his blocked punt and recovery for a touchdown which was set up by Ellis Lankster’s slash and feint to get the punt protector out of position for Allen. That play took a tight game and busted it open before the half, giving the Jets a comfortable lead to hold for the remainder of the game.