By Tyson Rauch
On Thursday night the New York Jets did everything in their power to defeat the New England Patriots except for one thing: consistently catch the football. The Jets 13-10 loss to the Patriots is full of could haves and should haves on offense and will leave many with the feeling that the team let a victory slip away.
Offense Grade: C
Quarterback Geno Smith had a solid game on Thursday once again showing composure in the pocket and toughness after taking some big hits. Geno made some big throws but unfortunately the Jets wide receivers had a hard time holding on to the football.
Clyde Gates had a dreadful game, while Stephen Hill had an awful fumble combined with a couple of drops. Even fan favorite Ryan Spadola got into the mix with a big drop. The Jets receiving was borderline embarrassing and was saved by Santonio Holmes who came up with a couple of big grabs. If the Jets do not have open tryouts for the receiver position someone in the front office should be seriously questioned.
Gang Green’s offensive line had a very good game as they controlled the line of scrimmage for the most part. The Jets rushed for 129 yards and were very effective in short yardage situations. The line did give up four sacks but part of that was due to the receivers inability to get open. Chris Ivory (52 rushing yards) ran with authority, while running back Bilal Powell (48 rushing yards) was featured towards the end of the game.
Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg effectively used fullback Tommy Bohanon in a variety of roles including short yardage back and receiver out of the backfield.
Overall Geno Smith and the offensive line played well enough to win the game, but the Jets lack of proven playmakers came back to haunt them.
Defense Grade: B+
The New England Patriots entered Thursday night’s game missing several playmakers and the Jets took advantage of it. Gang Green’s defense held the Patriots offense to nine first downs, 232 yards, and 4 of 18 on third down. The Jets defense was stout and aggressive and never let Tom Brady and the Patriots passing game get into rhythm.
Defensive tackles Damon Harrison, Sheldon Richardson, and Kenrick Ellis continue to make impact plays at the line of scrimmage. The Jets front seven is becoming a dominant force as both linebackers David Harris and Demario Davis are making tackles from sideline to sideline.
The problem in the Jets defense is in the secondary where communication issues and blown assignments continue to be an issue. Gang Green’s safeties seem to get caught out of position/take bad angles while rookie defensive back Dee Milliner is seriously struggling in pass coverage. A very strong argument can be made that Darrin Walls should start to take some of Milliner’s reps. At the end of the day it is hard to find fault with a defense that only gave up 13 points to a Tom Brady led offense.
Quarterback Grade: B-
Geno Smith’s numbers (15/35, 214 passing yards, 3 interceptions) are not indicative of his performance. The rookie made some very good throws, played with confidence, and displayed a good grasp of the offense. The young signal caller still has a tendency to stare down some of his receivers and forced a couple of plays that resulted in turnovers. New York’s overall lack of proven playmakers really hurts Geno in games like this as he does not have a safety valve on which to rely.
Special Teams Grade: C
This was not a good night for the Jets return game as Kyle Wilson made several mental mistakes while back for punts. Wilson does not appear very comfortable returning the ball and called for a fair catch in open space and then tried to force some returns. Gang Green must find better return options. Joe McKnight anyone?
Punter Robert Malone had a shaky night averaging 36.6 yards on his kicks. Some of Malone’s issues could be attributed to the poor weather, but he remains inconsistent.
Need a Full Team Effort
Overall Rex Ryan had his team ready to play Thursday night with smart game plans on both sides of the ball. The Jets defense is ready to take on any team in the NFL while the offense is a true work in progress. Unfortunately for Gang Green you need both sides of the ball to play well in order to win.
Next up for the Jets (1-1) will be the Buffalo Bills (0-1) on September 22nd.
For more Jets news and updates, visit Jets Central.
Tyson Rauch is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.