BGA: Get to the back of the Q!

Whatever the main reasons for the Jets’ five-game losing streak entering last night, one of the last things I’d atrribute it to is the play of Quinton Coples. However, Coples was benched last night for veteran Jason Babin and only played a bit-part role.

While Coples has only one sack so far this season, he’s been generating constant pressure and the run defense has been much better with him in the game rather than Babin. The fact he didn’t play at all until late in the second quarter makes me wonder if this is something of a disciplinary nature. When he got in the game, Coples looked noticeably slow in pursuit compared with earlier this year, so maybe there’s a physical aspect to it as well. He was sporting a large elbow brace for the first time all season.

While the Jets maybe had higher expectations for Coples in terms of his sack total, the pass rush as a unit has been working well, with Coples getting close himself, but often being the player whose pressure results in someone else getting the cheap sack. In fact, he was close to getting a sack again last night despite only rushing the passer eight times, with Brady stepping up to slip out of his grasp and throwing incomplete on an important third down.

I’ve seen in Coples’ body language over the past few weeks that he’s getting frustrated. Whether that’s with not getting holding calls, coming so close on so many occasions and not closing the deal or just with his role generally, I expect that’s a factor in his benching. I just hope this is a case of the Jets trying to motivate him to get more from him rather than a sign they’ve unexpectedly soured on a player who was showing progress and making positive contributions.

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BGA: Blown away

After holding his own when thrust into the cornerback role earlier in the season, many Jets fans were looking forward to seeing Antonio Allen make his return to his natural position of safety and continuing to develop. Personally, I was dubious. Allen had shown promise last year when matched up in man coverage, which is why I wasn’t all that surprised he held his own at corner. However, he had been too inconsistent in coverage support.

Allen moved back into the starting line-up at safety this week. Calvin Pryor had been struggling, so it wasn’t a surprise to see him replaced, although perhaps it was surprising that they didn’t opt to start Jaiquawn Jarrett there instead. Jarrett had replaced Pryor late in the Broncos game and the defense had fared well with him in there, forcing three straight punts. Instead, Allen was paired with Dawan Landry at safety and his error gifted the Patriots an easy touchdown on a day when nothing else came easily for them all day.

As they’ve taken to doing, the Jets will often opt to press a receiver at the line and then pass him off to the deep safety. However, when Phillip Adams did this with Shane Vereen, Allen was not anticipating it and came up too fast to station himself in no-man’s land. Brady would have known this was a touchdown pretty much immediately, but had time to roll out and make an easy throw to the wide open Vereen.

After this gaffe, Pryor took over from Allen at safety and Allen moved into the nickel back role which seems more suited to his skill-set anyway. However, you’d expect a safety’s instinct to be to keep the receiver in front of him on 3rd and goal at the 19. However, when he initially played tight coverage on Danny Amendola, he allowed Amendola to sneak behind him for the decisive touchdown, infuriating Ryan. After that, he was benched for the remainder of the game and it might take a while for him to get out of Ryan’s doghouse.

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BGA: Pushgate sequel fails to disguise special teams woes

As noted, we’re doing this week’s BGA in reverse, partly to shake things up but also partly to get into those areas which had the biggest influence on the game last night. Special teams were obviously a major factor, with Nick Folk’s potential game winning field goal as time expired being blocked to preserve the two-point win for New England.

Last year in the home game against New England, Folk missed a long field goal in overtime but got a reprieve when New England were correctly called for an unnecessary roughness call because Chris Jones pushed a teammate into the line of scrimmage. Folk then made a shorter field goal to win the game a few minutes later. Ironically, it was Jones who blocked the field goal to preseve last night’s win.

Could there have been a repeat though? Dom from points out here than the official prevented Dont’a Hightower from being penalized for lining up over the long snapper rather than just throwing a flag on him, but apparently that’s standard procedure. Let’s assume the Patriots didn’t break the rule that says you must line up with your “entire body outside the snapper’s shoulder pads at the snap” (although they did pinch in right before the snap and it is debatable as to whether there is some overlap in terms of the legs and feet that would constitute part of the “entire body”). Did they break that rule that says “players cannot push teammates on the line of scrimmage into the offensive formation”?

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BGA: Six feet under

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…

This one hurt. However, it hurt more for the fact that it was the Patriots than the fact that it was a sixth straight loss or because it pushed the Jets closer to being mathematically eliminated from playoff contention before Thanksgiving.

At the end of the day, 1-6 isn’t really that different from 1-5, representing, as both situations do, a reality of being basically out of contention already. However, at least after this loss the Jets can feel a bit better about where they’re headed over the remainder of the season because they did play a lot better than in recent weeks (unpredictable nature of their opponent’s season so far notwithstanding).

I don’t like to make predictions, but a line I typed out for inclusion in my preview article yesterday and then deleted (because I don’t like to make predictions) went something like this:

With the matchups the way they are, you can expect the Jets to dominate in the trenches and the Patriots to dominate downfield. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s going to be enough.

That sums up the game quite nicely, as the Jets ran the ball well, protected Geno Smith well enough to enable him to move the chains, stifled the run and pressured Tom Brady pretty consistently. However, they blew a few key coverages, didn’t make any big plays of their own downfield and couldn’t convert in the red zone enough to win the game.

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Jets Post Game Live: The panel breaks down a 27-25 loss

Brian Bassett,

The red zone issues that the analysts talk about here are dead on. The Jets secondary has struggled in keeping opponents out of the end zone, but the offense has been just as bad getting in at the other end of the field.

Great quote from Mike Westhoff when he said of the Jets that “they’re trying to figure out what to do with what [they] have.”

Unfortunately for the Jets, it has taken them through seven weeks and a murderer’s row of the league’s best quarterbacks to get there. The team seems to be getting better and they did it against two of the divisions four toughest teams in the last five days, but time might be winding down on this team and this coaching staff to figure out what to do with what they have.

Game Recap: Patriots 27 – Jets 25

Result: The Jets (1-6) lost to the Patriots (5-2) on Thursday night at Gillette Stadium.

Need to know: The Jets fell behind 7-0 when the Patriots orchestrated a quick 80-yard touchdown drive to open the game. After three Nick Folk field goals gave the Jets a 9-7 lead early in the second quarter, Tom Brady connected with Shane Vereen on a three-yard touchdown pass to put New England up 14-9.

After another Folk field goal pulled the Jets to within 14-12, the Patriots responded with a field goal of their own to take a 17-12 lead going into the half.

Chris Ivory gave the Jets a 19-17 lead when he jumped over the pile into the end zone from one yard out with just over 7 minutes left in the third, but the Patriots soon answered with a Stephen Gostkowski field goal that put them back on top, 20-19.

With the Patriots facing third and goal from the 19 with 7:49 remaining in the game, Tom Brady connected with Danny Amendola in the end zone to extend New England’s lead to 27-19.

Geno Smith connected with Jeff Cumberland in the end zone with a bit over 2 minutes left in the game to cut the lead to 27-25. However, Smith’s pass on the attempted 2-point conversion sailed over Jace Amaro in the end zone.

After the Jets forced the Patriots to punt, they drove to the New England 40 yard line. Nick Folk lined up for what would’ve been a game-winning 58-yard field goal, but the kick was blocked by New England as time expired.

Links: AP recap | Box score

What’s Next: The Jets host the Bills on Sunday, October 26 at 1 p.m.

Brian Bassett,

The Jets did their best to outplay their divisional rival and were one blocked field goal away from beating the Patriots as time expired. Even so, the Jets’ fight wasn’t good enough to knock off the Patriots and now the team falls to 1-6 with a long week ahead.

The Jets accumulated the highest number of yards on the ground ever (218) by an opponent at Foxborough during Bill Belichick’s tenure. The Jets didn’t punt until halfway through the third quarter and held the ball for 40 minutes. Geno Smith might have played his most best game of the season, throwing for 226 yards and a touchdown, in addition to 37 yards on the ground. Most importantly, Geno had his first turnover-free game of the season.

While there are still many problems, one that can quickly be pointed to was the Jets inability to score touchdowns in the red zone during the first half. Part of that problem was Smith’s struggles running the offense in the red zone. A perfect example came on the team’s two-point conversion attempt in the fourth quarter. The play call was good; offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg matched up tight end Jace Amaro on safety Patrick Chung, giving Amaro a distinct height advantage. While the snap was low, Geno rushed the throw and threw the ball too quickly and too far inside for Amaro to turn and react in time to reel the pass in for the needed game-tying two points.

There were signs of life last week in how the Jets matched up against the Broncos and that thread seemed to play through Thursday night against New England. Geno is still not attacking defenses sharply enough, but is doing a better job managing the game. The defense is adjusting to a long-term life without Dee Milliner and finding the balance between pressure and coverage; as demonstrated by the Jets slowing down Peyton Manning and Brady in back-t0-back games.

Now at 1-6, it is unclear what remains for the Jets and their coach this season. While there are still tough games ahead, the Bills, Chiefs and Steelers look a lot more promising than the meat grinder the Jets have just been through. But the thought of the Jets even getting to 8-8 at this point seems implausible.

Ryan might still be one of the game’s best defensive minds, but he has struggled to find ways to win with little talent on both defense and offense. Rex saved his job last year by squaring the team’s record and ending the season on a high note with three wins in the last four weeks, but it seems unlikely to happen again. From what I can see on the field, the Jets still are playing hard for their coach.  But it still wasn’t enough to win and as it stands now, might not be enough to save Ryan for another season.

Geno Smith, Rex Ryan and Nick Folk discuss the Jets’ 27-25 loss to the Patriots.