I’ve often thought that if NFL teams started practicing lateral passes more often, it could revolutionize the league. Sure, it’s a risky play, but if players practiced it, used it at the appropriate time and were on the same page in terms of expecting it, this could stretch a defense and turn a lot of plays into big gains. Unfortunately, none of those things applied to the play Brandon Marshall tried to make in yesterday’s game.
Marshall called his ill-advised attempt to lateral the ball to Jeff Cumberland, the “worst play in NFL history”. He’s wrong, but at least he recognizes it was a reckless thing to do. The Jets were driving, down 17, at the time and seven plays later that lead swelled to a what-proved-to-be-insurmountable 24 points.
What was he thinking, though? Let’s take a look…
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While he might not be as talented as Chris Ivory, I sometimes feel that Bilal Powell is under-appreciated by Jets fans, myself included. Powell plays hard, is versatile and I absolutely love his hustle even when chasing down lost causes like the punt return in yesterday’s game. By all rights, he should probably be one of my favorite players, but he seems to be caught in between being in a reserve role where he doesn’t get many chances to contribute and a lead back role he perhaps isn’t ideally cut out for.
With Ivory not playing, you can’t help but wonder how much of a downgrade the Jets’ running game suffered with Powell in there. Maybe there was none at all. After all, Powell started another week three game in place of Ivory three weeks ago and ran for almost 150 yards, more than Ivory ever has as a Jet. The outcome yesterday was very different though, although the Jets abandoned the running game pretty early on.
To Powell’s credit, he generated some excellent production in the second half. While he rushed just four times for 11 yards, Powell caught six of his career high seven receptions after half time, for 44 yards, breaking a few tackles and fighting for extra yardage on his way to three first downs. It’s a shame he couldn’t do more in the running game, though, because he did appear to hesitate on a couple of runs where he looked like he could have made a good gain if he hit the hole hard.
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Many people are surprised that Brian Winters is still on the roster. However, with Willie Colon struggling with a knee issue, Winters played the entire second half and the prognosis for Colon to start next week doesn’t sound good. So, for now at least, it looks like the much-maligned Winters is back in the starting line-up.
However, while Winters did have a couple of bad moments, he was far from the only reason for the offensive line’s struggles in yesterday’s game. I know the Eagles have a couple of talented guys up-front, but they were also missing three starters from their front seven and the Jets struggled to win at the point of attack in the running game and to protect Ryan Fitzpatrick as effectively as you’d usually expect.
There would be no settling into a good second-half rhythm as there was last week. The line couldn’t seem to get it going and, while each player made individual errors, it seemed like most of the problems came from a failure to block effectively as a unit. With such a wealth of experience on the line, could the downside be that the short week has affected them more than it would most other teams? If so, that doesn’t bode well for the Thursday and Saturday night games against Buffalo and Dallas, respectively, later on in the season.
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After two solid performances in the first two games, Ryan Fitzpatrick underlined how this Jets team isn’t really built to come from behind, as the team’s efforts to recover from a 24-0 deficit came up short with Fitzpatrick throwing three interceptions after that point.
Fitzpatrick missed some opportunities, both in terms of not seeing open receivers and also with a series of off-target throws. Still, about halfway through the second quarter, he had completed two-thirds of his passes and had a quarterback rating of over 90. From that point onwards, his number reflected his performance more accurately though.
As noted, Fitzpatrick misfired on several throws. He was also unable to connect on several long passes, had too many passes batted at the line and generally seemed to throw too many short passes early on. It’s the interceptions that were the real killer though, even though they didn’t factor into the 24-point deficit.
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Welcome to BGA! We’ll be here the day after every Jets game for an in-depth review of what happened. We’ll look at each position group throughout the day, so keep coming back to TJB to check it out. We’ll also post a summary with links to all the articles later on today.
Let’s move on to discuss yesterday’s game…
Yesterday’s result was disappointing, but there was always a chance this could happen. The Jets are not without their flaws and any one of these could cost them a game at any point this season. In yesterday’s game, several of these manifested themselves at once. The Jets’ special teams personnel is not established and appears to lack any stand-out performers. Their new quarterback might be more consistent than the last one, but that doesn’t mean we should expect him to play well every week. Also, a lack of offensive depth always had the potential to force some inexperienced or inferior players into action.
I guess after falling so far behind, last year’s team would have crumbled and lost in even more embarrassing fashion, so maybe they deserve some credit for getting back into a situation where they almost got back into it, almost like a pitcher who keeps his team in the game when he obviously doesn’t have his best stuff. That’s scant consolation though.
With Eric Decker unavailable and Chris Ivory active but not used – presumably because the Jets were leaning towards not using him but would have used him as cover in the event of an injury – the Jets were down a couple of playmakers on offense and didn’t have a great deal of early success with a conservative offensive gameplan. Having fallen behind, they were forced to take more risks and both Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brandon Marshall made a couple of costly blunders, perhaps because they were pressing. More on that to come, obviously.
The good news is that Decker and Ivory should return and therefore the offense will be stronger. In addition, Sheldon Richardson should be back soon too and that’s going to enhance the defense. I’m not sure about the offensive line or the special teams unit, though; they’re just going to have to somehow figure it out.
Jets fans could forgiven for thinking “life’s been good” after the first two games, but the long run by Ryan Mathews early in the game was an early warning sign that things would get out of control. Now, the Jets’ two-game winning streak is already gone and most of us are sad. We’ll get over it though and, while I can’t tell you why they are struggling I’m sure the coaching staff will be working all night long and tryin’ to get to the heart of the matter.
Ummm…something something Hotel California.
Next up…our first positional review breaks down Ryan Fitzpatrick’s struggles.
Receiver Brandon Marshall told reporters he “played like crap” after the Jets lost to the Eagles 24-17 Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
Marshall had 10 catches for 109 yards and a touchdown, becoming the first Jet since Laveranues Coles in 2006 to have consecutive 100-yard receiving games. He also became the 45th NFL receiver to surpass 10,000 receiving yards.
But Marshall also fumbled on an ill-advised lateral attempt at the end of a 15-yard gain. The Eagles converted the turnover into their third touchdown of the second quarter.
“Wrong time to gamble,” Marshall said. “I was pressing, trying to make a play. But can’t do that. That was probably the worst play in NFL history.”
Jets coach Todd Bowles didn’t disagree.
“We can’t have those type of plays during the game; you just can’t do it,” Bowles said. “He understood. It was a play too late, but he understood.”
Marshall also took responsibility for one of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s three interceptions.
With the Jets trailing 24-14 and less than four minutes to go, the ball bounced off his hands and into defensive back Walter Thurmonds’.
“I thought the safety was right there, so I tried to catch it really quick and bring it in, and short-armed it,” Marshall said. “I gave up a pick, so that’s on me.”
The Jets Postgame crew discusses the Jets’ offensive struggles without Eric Decker and Chris Ivory and how turnovers hindered production.
Jets head coach Todd Bowles discusses how turnovers plagued Gang Green in Sunday’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium.
What do you think about the Jets loss?
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The Jets had four turnovers, including three second-half Ryan Fitzpatrick interceptions, and gave up a punt return for a touchdown as the Eagles won 24-17 Sunday at MetLife Stadium to hand the Jets their first loss.
The Eagles (1-2) scored three second-quarter touchdowns, including Darren Sproles’ 89-yard punt return, to take a 24-0 lead before the Jets (2-1) came to life.
Fitzpatrick was 35-for-58 for 283 yards with two touchdowns. He didn’t get any help from the Jets’ running game, which was held to 47 yards.
The first Jets TD came late in the first half, when Fitzpatrick hit Brandon Marshall with a 16-yard TD pass.
Earlier, Marshall lost the ball at the Jets’ 43 when he tried to lateral the ball to teammate Jeff Cumberland at the end of a 15-yard reception. But the lateral hit an Eagles defender and was recovered by Jordan Hicks, who returned it 11 yards.
Sproles got his second TD soon after, a 1-yard TD that gave Philadelphia the 24-0 lead.
A scoreless third quarter included Fitzpatrick’s first interception, Eric Rowe’s pickoff in the Eagles end zone.
Fitzpatrick threw a 7-yard TD pass to Jeremy Kerley with 9:37 left to cut it to 24-14 and soon after David Harris forced a Ryan Mathews fumble with 7:23 left at the Eagles 41. But three plays later, Brandon Bair tipped a Fitzpatrick pass that was intercepted by Walter Thurmond.
The Jets got the ball back and Nick Folk kicked a 53-yard field goal with 2:37 to go. But the Jets couldn’t recover the onside kick. Even after two Eagle procedure penalties following their final timeout stopped the clock, a hands-to-the-face call on the Jets’ Quinton Coples ended any chance of a Jets comeback.
Mathews, playing for the injured DeMarco Murray, ran 25 times for 108 yards for the Eagles. QB Sam Bradford was 14-for-28 for 110 yards and a touchdown, a 23-yard pass to Mathews that made it 17-0 with 4:48 left in the first half.
Marshall had 10 catches for 109 yards and became the first Jet since Laveranues Coles (2006) to have consecutive 100-yard receiving games.
The Jets travel to London to meet the Dolphins next Sunday at Wembley Stadium (9:30 a.m.).
I couldn’t get on board the runaway enthusiasm floating around the Jets after their Monday night win over the Colts and this game was the reason why.
Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com
The Eagles are a talented team and their 0-2 record didn’t properly reflect their abilities. If the Jets could stand on the throat of a wounded Eagles team, then you would have my attention.
The Jets could never get it going against a talented but struggling Eagles team. The weight of the world seemed to be on the shoulders of the Eagles and in a “back to the wall” situation; what was clear on Sunday was that Philadelphia wanted it more than the Jets and bested the Jets in all the right places. To read more of this story, click here