The New York Jets’ defense has to be frustrated. In three of the Jets’ six losses this season, the Jets have played more than well enough defensively to win the game. However, in Week 2 against the New England Patriots, Week 6 against the Pittsburgh Steelers and yesterday against the Baltimore Ravens, the Jets’ offense failed to take advantage.
Geno Smith was horribly ineffective for the fourth straight game, and he hasn’t broken 160 yards passing or thrown a touchdown since October 20th. The Jets have been trying to avoid having a quarterback controversy, but the calls for Matt Simms to start are getting louder and louder. Smith completed just 9/22 passes for 127 yards and 2 interceptions yesterday, and the Ravens were never threatened by the Jets’ passing game.
Smith leads the NFL in interceptions with 18, and he has added eight fumbles, losing five. Both of Smith’s interceptions yesterday were on deep balls that were underthrown, a problem that has plagued him all year. Making matters worse was the poor performance of his receivers, who tallied at least five drops yesterday. Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill and the rest of the receivers repeatedly failed to get open, often giving Smith no options.
The offensive line turned in a second straight poor performance yesterday as well, and Smith was sacked three times. The Jets are tied for 29th in the league in sacks allowed, with 38. Smith’s tendency to hold onto the ball and be indecisive is to blame for many of those sacks, but the line deserves the vast majority of the blame for the last two weeks. They are having huge problems with the blitz, and rookie guard Brian Winters is struggling to adjust to the size, strength and speed of NFL defensive tackles.
The Jets have a solid run game, but certainly not one that is good enough to make up for the disastrous passing attack. The Jets rank 8th in the league in rushing, but defenses know that they can stack the box and defend the run because Smith simply can’t beat them. The Jets rank 31st in the NFL in points per game, with an anemic 16.9. That statistic is the most damning of all for the Jets’ offense, and it is the biggest reason they have fallen below .500 for the first time all season.
The Jets have a playoff caliber defense, and that defense has given the Jets a good chance to win in all but three games this season. Unfortunately, the offense is not good enough to take advantage of those opportunities, and yesterday’s loss was just the latest failure. The Jets’ playoff chances are in very rough shape, and Smith and the offense are to blame. If they don’t get things turned around starting this week, all hope for the Jets this season will be lost.