New York Jets: Loafers Need Not Apply!
The Jets departed on a two week sortie, and nearly didn't make it back. Their coast to coast run from New England, to Oakland, then back to NYC was distressing at best - partly due to mechanical in-flight issues, and partly due to several players perhaps fearful of being on the same flight home as Coach Bowles. Suffice to say the mission was an utter failure. They came nowhere close to hitting their targets, and returned with casualties to key personnel.
Insult and Injury Sandwich an Otherwise Competitive Effort in Coach Bowles' much anticipated first game at Foxboro as HC of the NYJ.
Week Seven Final
NYJ 7th straight loss at Foxboro
NYJ 7th straight loss at Foxboro
Ryan Fitzpatrick got sacked and fumbled on the Jets second play of the game. The Patriots recovered, and immediately parlayed that into an early field goal.
The Jets then short circuited on their very next possession at the New England 2-yard line, after marching 78 yards on 15 plays, only to settle for a tying field goal.
After another Nick Folk field goal put the Jets ahead 20-16 with 12:50 left in regulation, New England proceeded to score 14 unanswered points. The Patriots promptly marched 80 yards in 10 plays to take a 23-20 lead. Then, with 5:32 left in the 4th quarter, Tom Brady initiated another 10-play, 68-yard scoring drive giving the Patriots their ultimate 30-20 margin of victory.
Meanwhile, the Jets not having Chris Ivory running on all engines was not anticipated. The power back compromised his hamstring during the Jets very first play of the game. Were Ivory playing at full strength, who knows what sort of control the Jets could have exacted over the Patriots - as the overall effort and respective play sandwiched between the opening and closing minutes of the game was otherwise competitive.
Generally speaking, though, a hamstrung Chris Ivory is going to mean a compromised Jets attack. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Eric Decker, and to a lesser degree Brandon Marshall, managed just enough offense to trick one into thinking potential upset, if only fleetingly.
Chris Ivory's curiously hampered effort:
- @ New England - 17 rushes/41 yards - 2 catches/12 yards, touchdown.
- @ New England - 22 of 39, for 295 yards, with two touchdowns.
Tom Brady very literally performed his usual one man gang routine. He completed 34 of 54 attempts for 355 yards, with two touchdowns, and was also New England's top rusher. Tom Statue scrambled for 15 yards on 4 carries, with another touchdown.
Gang Green (in the face) suffered their biggest blow in the closing minute of the game, when center Nick Mangold injured his neck during the Jets final possession of the game.
All told, this game cost the Jets considerable altitude in the AFC East standings, while sustaining injuries to three key offensive players whom touch the ball most - Center, QB, and RB, in that order.
Oh no! Not you again: Geno Smith
Week Eight Final
Geno Smith emerged from the Black Hole of Oakland only to remind everyone just how little he's improved after three years in the business. His appearance was made possible when Ryan Fitzpatrick (re)injured his non-throwing thumb that will eventually require surgery.
Moving forward, Ryan's availability will be based on his personal threshold for pain. He's been listed as a go for Sunday's game against the Jaguars. Taking snaps under center will prove most difficult, with handing off a close second.
I think Jets fans would even favor playing Fitz wearing oven mitts rather than risk falling further behind New England in the standings with Geno at the controls.
- Geno completed 27 of 42 pass attempts, for 265 yards, 2 touchdowns, and one INT.
Not the most terrible looking line, but the visual was easily worse. Smith has moments when he shines, but the lights quickly go out and his mind fades to black when put under NFL duress. The Jets better hope Fitzpatrick can gut this out, otherwise Geno Smith will smear his own thumbprints all over the Jets chances for the postseason.
So, is Chris Ivory hurt, or not?
Chris Ivory's performance against the Raiders was even more peculiar than that against the Patriots. He rushed 15 times for 17 yards - that's no typo folks. He also caught 3 passes for 24 yards.
So what gives? Is he hurt or not?
The Jets did not just suddenly forget how to run block. And while Mangold's situation is certainly a hovering black cloud, I do not think his injury impacted the running game so greatly that the Raiders defense was able to limit Chris Ivory and Zac Stacy to a mere 28 combined rushing yards on 18 carries.
Something else is at work here, and I do not believe it was necessarily the Raiders.
If Ivory needs a week off, better give it to him against the Jaguars. A proactive rest now could potentially benefit the team later. I say with great confidence - no Chris Ivory entering December means no playoffs for the Jets.
Taxing his barking hammy for a third straight week could spell trouble. Take that to the hangar Jets fans.
Otherwise, if the Jets thought they were going to abandon the run, and match Tom Brady in a shoot-out, then what a colossal mistake it was.
Adversity at the Gates: Todd Bowles negotiating his first Gang Green crisis.
Todd Bowles is pissed off - and that's good. A return to health, a little luck, and constructive well directed anger can potentially transform the Jets into a fearsome second half opponent.
Half way though the regular season, though, they're already running low on margin for error.
As a defensive minded coach, Tom Brady's overall performance must have been an assault upon his senses. Everyone on the east coast knew Brady was either throwing, or running the ball himself - because that's all he did! What a ponderous game plan, or genius if you consider the source. I digress.
The Patriots made no secrets; employed no deception. Brady and Belichick effectively said here's what we're doing, we defy you to stop us. And, well, the Jets failed in that endeavor, crushingly, late in the game.
We are, after all speaking of a capable defense though. The recipe to beat Brady is public knowledge. You must hit him, often. The Jets sacked Brady three times, and hit him another five times through most of the game - just not late when they needed to most. But, hey, it's not like they lost to Steve Grogan.
What transpired the following week in Oakland, however, inspired Todd Bowles to utter a word I haven't heard used by a head coach in decades. Bowles dropped a #loafing bomb when summarizing their deplorable defensive effort against the Raiders. Indefensible lapses in brain function, poorly executed and missed tackles were all topic one. I'm sure the Defense was incredulous and embarrassed when presented the game film. If they weren't already, I'm sure Coach Bowles humbled them with haste.
Moving forward, the last two games were on the players. That damage is now a matter of recorded NFL history. The next game will reflect on Todd Bowles more than anyone. That's just the nature of the beast. The previous two weeks called for corrective measures, attitude adjustments, what have you... So, the next move was his to make.
That said, adversity is designed to knock one down. How one recovers is what matters most.
I like Todd Bowles. I like his demeanor and style. But that doesn't win games. Players win games, just ask Rex. I would add Bowles is far more poised and adept at administering discipline, and generally concerning himself with all aspects of the game than Ryan ever was. Two weeks does not a season make, and this is already a smoother flying Jet than its been in a few years.
After spending a week back in the Hangar getting lubed and retrofitted by Todd Bowles, I can't wait to see how the Jets respond this Sunday at home against the Jaguars.
A loss would incite a home crowd maelstrom - victory, a hero's welcome.