The New York Jets 24-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles ended their bid for a perfect season. OK, I’m being a bit facetious, but after Sunday’s disappointing outcome, that’s the only way to cope. If you’re a Jets fan, there wasn’t much to get excited about during Sunday’s matchup, so I’ll just focus on these three things.
FITZ’ OFFENSIVE OFFENSE
The offense ain’t ish without running back Chris Ivory and wide receiver Eric Decker. Two games into a season is obviously not the largest sample size to judge a team, but coming into a game against a struggling Eagles team, there was good reason to believe the Jets would easily outperform the Eagles. The Jets offense hadn’t been rolling, but it had been productive. However, Decker was ruled out with a knee injury, and Ivory was a late game day scratch because of a quad injury. Zac Stacy (3 yards) and Bilal Powell (31 yards) replaced Ivory, and Jeremy Kerley (33 yards, 1 TD) and rookie Devin Smith (39 yards) got Decker’s looks. The substitutions exposed a lot of negative things about the Jets, but mainly quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (35/58, 283 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs).
Fitz has a reputation for not having the strongest or most accurate arm. Yet, when the Jets fell behind 24-0, guess what they had to rely on? Yep…Fitz’s weak arm and suspect accuracy to get them back in the game. When you’re down four scores before halftime, and your O-line has been less than helpful in creating holes for your backs, going deep and speeding up the game is the best/only option; but never a good excuse for Fitz throwing 58 times. The man with a poor long game forced a lot of passes into double coverage, and that resulted in three interceptions. Some were tipped, but still, interceptions are interceptions. The Eagles’ secondary, which caught heat all week long for not stepping up during Weeks 1 and 2, played the Jets’ receivers tight. Without Decker, Brandon Marshall (109 yards, 1 TD, 1 fumble) was Fitz’s only real threat and the Eagles didn’t give him any breathing room. While Kerley and Smith are two solid backups, the lack of reps with Fitz, coupled with Fitz’s limitations left the offense extremely vulnerable. Long story short, the Fitz that Jets fans feared would eventually reveal himself was on full display on Sunday; and that hurt.
BRANDON “BONEHEADED’ MARSHALL
Brandon Marshall’s boneheaded pitch to tight end Jeff Cumberland after gaining the first down was the worst play of the game. For the first time, the Jets looked to be gaining some momentum, and bam(!). The play was ruled a fumble and recovered by the Eagles who finish the drive with a touchdown. There was no guarantee the Jets would’ve scored had Marshall not fumbled, but come on man. That play was just dumb and so Jets-like that after it happened I just shook my head because… Jets gon’ Jet.
Oh, and for the record, Marshall got screwed during the review of this call. The refs initially ruled it as a fumble, but the replay proved otherwise. Marshall’s elbow was definitely down while the ball was still in his hand. But hey, it was a dumb play and Marshall didn’t deserve to have it overturned. Even though it should’ve been. For the record.
CHILL WITH THE CHALLENGES
Coach Todd Bowles is 0-3 on challenges this season. As impressive as Bowles has been during his rookie season, this has been the area where he’s been the most misguided. And the thing about challenges is that in most cases, head coaches rely on intel from their guys in the booth when determining to toss the red flag. I have no idea what play the booth guys quickly reviewed, but Kerley absolutely did not have both feet down inbounds. It was beyond obvious and not worth losing a timeout, or a challenge over. I don’t know what system they’re using to decide when to challenge, but it’s broken. Timeouts are too valuable to just give away. The need to fix this, asap.
Next Sunday, the Jets and the Miami Dolphins are in Londontown for a 9:30AM/ET kickoff. After Sunday’s losses, they’ll both have a long flight to think about everything that went wrong. And with it being a division game, neither team can afford to take to the ‘L’.