After a stirring Week 1 rally over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, there was hope that the New York Jets had found some life with new starting quarterback Geno Smith. They showed fight, poise and mental toughness that many people doubted they possessed. Unfortunately for them, the real Jets showed up in Week 2 against the New England Patriots as they proved that simply changing quarterbacks isn’t enough to fix what ails this New York roster.
Dropped passes, huge mental mistakes, turnovers and an inability to seize an opportunity all featured prominently in the Jets’ ugly 13-10 loss to the Patriots. They were completely futile as they attempted to get past their division rival despite gaining more first downs than New England (15-9) and forced the Pats to punt 11 times in 16 drives. The Jets outgained New England per play (4.5 to 3.6) but couldn’t make the plays when it mattered the most and it cost them once again.
Part of the problem was drops from the receivers. Clyde Gates appeared to have a touchdown in the first half, but an official review showed that he failed to maintain control as he went to the ground. Numerous other occasions, passes hit the ground that should have been caught. If they had, they could have sustained drives or put points up on the board. The receivers as a group failed to do that, however, and it cost New York in the end.
Another part of the problem was a complete absence of mental maturity when things got rough. At no point in the game was it more evident than at the end of regulation when the Jets started a scrum following the game-sealing interception from Smith. Nick Mangold took a cheap shot on Aqib Talib out of bounds and in the ensuing ruckus, D’Brickashaw Ferguson started punching a Pats’ player and Willie Colon contacted an official resulting in both players being ejected for the final 30 seconds of the game. Their status for Week 3 is still very much in doubt as the league office reviews whether or not to suspend them for their actions.
Yet another part of the disaster that was the Jets’ performance was Geno Smith. While he showed plenty of resolve in rallying the Jets in Week 1, he was absolutely brutal in the rain of Foxboro. He completed just 15 of 35 passes for 214 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions. He held onto the ball in the pocket for far too long resulting in four sacks for New England, whose pass rush is a serious question mark this year. He was inaccurate and had no feel for the game as it went along, leading to a completely impotent offensive performance outside of a few strong plays.
In short, Mark Sanchez may be sidelined with a shoulder injury, but it’s still the same-old, Rex Ryan-led Jets taking the field. It’ll take more than just a change at quarterback to get this franchise truly turned back around.