FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Geno Smith replayed the mistakes in his head, pondering what he could have done different.
There were forced throws and poor decisions in a frustrating fourth quarter that led to the New York Jets’ 13-10 loss to the New England Patriots last Thursday night.
“A tough loss like that,” the rookie quarterback said Monday, “it took me about a day.”
And, he forced himself to sit through each agonizing moment on film.
“I watched tape, sometimes in bitterness,” he said. “(I’m) kind of mad at myself for some of the plays that I know I can easily make, some of the decisions that I made that ultimately cost us the game. A learning experience.
“You move on from it and get better next week.”
Smith was intercepted three times in the final 15 minutes, but there were also several dropped passes – at least six of them – throughout the game.
“We played a clean game for about 3 1/2 quarters,” he said. “Last 12 plays of the game, in my opinion, were fairly sloppy. I think I tried to force things.”
With the Jets in position to try for a tying field goal in the fourth quarter, Smith tried to force a pass – thrown across his body – to Santonio Holmes on third down and was intercepted by Aqib Talib.
A throw later in the quarter intended for Clyde Gates was picked off by Alfonzo Dennard.
Then came the worst mistake of all: a wayward toss to Stephen Hill that Talib easily stepped in front of.
“In those tight spaces, with the game on the line, you’ve got to be 100 percent precise and I don’t think I was on those throws,” Smith said. “I’m still confident and prepared for this upcoming week.”
Next up is a showdown at home against fellow rookie EJ Manuel and the Buffalo Bills (1-1), who pulled out a 24-23 last-second victory over Carolina on Sunday.
Coach Rex Ryan has not committed to Smith as the starter beyond this week, sticking to the team’s company line that they’re not looking past the task at hand.
“I think you get in trouble when you put dates and all that kind of stuff on things, instead of just focus on the one week,” Ryan said. “I think if you look down the road, you don’t take care of your business. And so with us, everything we do is focused on Buffalo, and that’s where it should be.”
So, despite Mark Sanchez being out eight weeks while on short-term injured reserve with a shoulder injury, Smith has been given no guarantee that he’ll be the team’s starter during that time.
“It’s day-by-day, week-by-week for me,” Smith said. “That’s how I see it and that’s how I’ll forever see it. No matter what the organization decides my role is, I’m going continue to prepare the same way.”
He insists that he’s not worried about any of that.
“In this situation, you’ve got to play the cards that you’re dealt,” Smith said. “In my own personal time here, I think I’ve been treated fairly well and I think I’ve been given a great chance, a great opportunity.
“I’ve got an opportunity this week once again to prove myself and that’s what (I’ll) go out there and try to do.”
Smith’s 55.2 passer rating is 32nd in the league – second-to-last among quarterbacks with at least 35 passing attempts.
But that number also doesn’t account for the several drops in the first two games. His four interceptions, however, are tied with Minnesota’s Christian Ponder for second-most in the NFL.
Smith is still very much a work-in-progress, but the Jets’ only other options are Matt Simms, who has yet to throw a pass in a regular-season game, and Brady Quinn, a former first-round pick who has bounced around the past few years.
“I think in this league, everyone is fighting for a spot,” Smith said, “and especially on this team.”
Smith was also asked about Sanchez’s comments Thursday, when the quarterback said he beat out the rookie for the starting job.
“Those are his comments and that’s his opinion,” Smith said. “That’s all there is to it.”
Two areas Smith said the Jets need to improve on are finishing drives and being efficient in the red zone. New York is 2 for 4 in scoring opportunities within the opponents’ 20-yard line.
“We’re definitely going to emphasize that,” Smith said. “We want to score more points. We can. I believe we can be an explosive offense and it’s going to take all 11 of us on the field.”
NOTES: WR Jeremy Kerley says he’s “A-1, 100 percent” healed from a concussion suffered in the season opener that sidelined him against the Patriots. He wore a red no-contact jersey and hasn’t been cleared by the team, but is confident he’ll play against the Bills. … DE Muhammad Wilkerson (sprained ankle) and LB Quinton Coples (fractured ankle) also returned to practice on a limited basis. Ryan is unsure of their availability, but added he hopes Wilkerson “is ready to roll.” … Offensive linemen Willie Colon and D’Brickashaw Ferguson said they hadn’t heard from the league about possible fines or suspensions for their roles in the sideline skirmish at the end of the Patriots game, started when Nick Mangold hit Talib low. “There was no way Nick’s hit was intentional,” Ryan insisted.
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