The New York Jets continued their roller coaster of season Sunday with a major plunge, getting absolutely dismantled by the Cincinnati Bengals in a 49-9 blowout. Andy Dalton shredded the defense for 5 touchdowns, Geno Smith threw two pick-sixes, and the team as a whole simply looked unprepared and overmatched.
The Jets have alternated wins and losses every game this season, but this was their worst performance of the season. Coming off their overtime victory over the New England Patriots, the Jets were feeling good about their chances in the playoff race. They remain in the thick of the Wild Card race, but they must improve dramatically.
The best thing for the Jets to do now is forget about this game and move on. They play the New Orleans Saints this week, and they need to be fully focused on nothing other than that challenge. The Saints are one of the best teams in the NFL, and the Jets cannot afford to play anywhere near the level they did against Cincinnati.
The Jets’ schedule gets much easier after the bye week, and Santonio Holmes will also make his return after the break. The Jets are still very much in playoff contention, especially if they find some consistency. The ability to move on from a blowout loss like this one and focus on the next game will be a challenge for this young team, but they have to find a way.
The Jets should begin by coming up with a game plan to get Smith going early against the Saints, as they may need to rebuild his confidence a little bit after his poor performance. The Jets also need to get the run game figured yet, as the Bengals completely shut them down, holding Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory to 30 yards on 16 carries.
Defensively, the Jets need to improve dramatically in their secondary, because if they got burned that badly by Dalton one can only imagine what Drew Brees will do to them. The Jets have been outstanding against the run and have a good pass rush, but poor play in the back has repeatedly been the undoing of the defense.
Rex Ryan and his coaching staff will need to work quickly to make sure that their team gets its collective mindset right for the next game, and they cannot allow the negatives from this week to be the focus. Most teams have to deal with one or two bad losses in a season, and the Jets need to move on from this one.