By Abraham Gutierrez
The (4-3) New York Jets went into the O.co Coliseum as listed as betting favorites by a field goal over the (4-3) Oakland Raiders, but failed to capitalize, as they struggled in very facet of the game. For a second week in a row, the Jets offense struggled to get the running game going, and the defense, which has been the strength of this team all season, simply let them down.
The end result was a 20-34 shellacking that leaves Gang Green wondering how to stop a two-game skid as they make their way back to the East Coast. With the New England Patriots’ win over the Miami Dolphins on Thursday night, the Jets now find themselves trailing the Patriots by three-and-a-half games in the race of the AFC East title.
“We had issues with everything. We didn’t do anything well,” said Jets head coach Todd Bowles during his post-game press conference. “Everything they did they did well, you gotta give them credit. We didn’t do anything well.”
There’s plenty of blame to go around, but there’s no question that injuries put the Jets behind the 8-ball in this game, particularly on the offensive side of the football. For starters, Gang Green came into Week 8 a little thin at the running back position, and it showed.
Second-string running back Bilal Powell was unavailable due to a bad ankle, while starting halfback, Chris Ivory’s (15 rushes for 17 yards) production continues to decline as a result of a lingering hamstring injury. With a chance to be the hero, Ryan Fitzpatrick (4-for-5 for 46 yards, 105.0 QBR) couldn’t stay on the field long enough to have an impact on the game.
Certainly, losing Fitzpatrick – who suffered torn ligaments in his thumb and is pending an MRI on Monday – during the first half was a huge blow. However, things went completely south when backup quarterback Geno Smith (27-for-42 for 265 yards, 2 TDs and INT for an 87.9 QBR) – who was also banged up by the Raiders’ defense – took over at the position.
“He’s got a shoulder and an abdomen injury he’s gotta get checked out,” Bowles said when asked about Smith’s health after the game.
The Jets offense finished with 22 first downs and 366 yards total, out of which, 74 were rushing yards and 292 were passing yards. They also held on to the ball for 29 minutes and 22 seconds, went 7-for-16 on third downs, and committed one turnover.
Coming into Week 8 ranked second in the league, watching the way these Jets missed tackles and blew coverages and assignments was truly head scratching. As a unit, the Jets’ “D” allowed the Raiders to march down the field at will on every posession, as they couldn’t contain the high-flying Raiders.
As a team they surrendered 21 first downs and 451 yards of total offense. Against the rush they gave up 118 yards, while through the air, Derek Carr picked them apart on his way to 333 passing yards and four scores.
“We didn’t play good, we didn’t tackle, we didn’t stop anybody, we didn’t do anything right,” Bowles said when asked to assess his defensive struggles. “We didn’t coach them good, we didn’t play well. It was a bad performance.”
For a second week in a row, Bowles and his staff have simply been outcoached and outsmarted by their opposition. Last week, Belichick and his veteran staff got the best of them, while this week it was Jack Del Rio and his crew the ones getting the last laugh. As stated above, the Jets struggled the most on the defensive side of the football, as the energy and effort simply weren’t there from the start.
“It’s not a big blow, it’s a blow, no different than the blow last week,” Bowles added. “You don’t want to lose games, it’s week by week, and we’ve got two weeks now that we got beat. It doesn’t feel any worse than last week or better than last week. It’s a blow. We gotta bounce back, we’ve got guys in this locker room that’s mature enough. Our leaders gotta step up and get ready for next week.”
After consecutive road losses, the New York Jets return home for a much-needed two-game home stand in the Meadowlands. In Week 9, Gang Green welcomes the (2-5) Jacksonville Jaguars, followed by another AFC East divisional clash against the (3-4) Buffalo Bills in Week 10.
Abe Gutierrez’s (Twitter: @GutierrezAbe) passion led him to ditch law school journey in order to launch his own publishing company. His expertise make him a valued addition to Examiner.com, AXS.com and the CBS-Sports family. Some of his work can be found on CBS-Miami (Dolphins), CBS-LosAngeles (Chargers), CBS-BayArea (Raiders), CBS-NewYork (NY Jets), CBS-TampaBay (Buccaneers), AXS.com, aExaminer.com and other online publications.