I don’t believe in moral victories. A loss is a loss.
The New York Jets played well enough to beat the New England Patriots, the most potent team in the NFL, but didn’t get it done. The Jets edged out the Pats during the first three quarters, but unfortunately for them, an NFL regulation game lasts four quarters. And that’s where the 30-23 loss was made.
Here are 3 takeaways from Sunday’s classic AFC East battle.
TOO MANY 4TH QUARTER MISCUES
Up by one point heading into the fourth quarter, the Jets were in great position to win the game. However, the defense couldn’t stop quarterback Tom Brady (355 yards, 2TDs). He reeled off pass after pass, and completion after completion to close in on the win. The future Hall of Famer played lights out during the final 15 minutes of the game. Officially, he connected on 14 of 17 passes and threw for two touchdowns. The Pats thrived in the fast paced offense they love so much. And with poor clock management by Coach Todd Bowles, the Jets made zero attempts to take Brady and his offense out of their comfort zone. As the Pats drove down the field, the clock ticked, and ticked, and ticked. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Despite the Jets having three timeouts at their disposal, they went unused. As a result, when the Jets offense took the field in the fourth, down by 10 with 1:13 remaining, a miracle ending was their only hope. And they almost had it! A successful 55-yard field goal, from the almost always clutch Nick Folk and ensuing onside kick recovery, gave the Jets life. But Ryan Fitzpatrick’s (295 yards, 2 TDs) weak arm (more on this below) and Brandon Marshall’s (67 yards) movement on the final play of the game put the nail in the coffin for a Jets comeback.
FITZ’S WEAK ARM IS A PROBLEM
Overall, Jets quarterback Fitz played well on Sunday. Despite the fumble on the Jets’ opening drive, he didn’t make any additional game costing blunders. What we have in Fitz is a serviceable quarterback who executes well within his limits. The main flaw in Fitz’s game is his lack of arm strength. Offensive Coordinator Chan Gailey understands Fitz’s strengths and weaknesses and rarely asks him to color outside the lines. While playing it safe has mostly worked in the Jets’ favor, on Sunday, when the team needed a touchdown to stay alive, the team couldn’t rely on Fitz to launch a bomb down the field and make it happen. Instead, they had to waste more valuable clock time and try to squeeze two plays in. With the game on the line, Fitz’s weak arm limits the playbook and the team’s chances of winning. That’s why, going back to the first key takeaway, better clock management is absolutely imperative. If the coaches know they can’t rely on Fitz to successfully attempt a hail mary, then why weren’t they more conscientious of the time? Calling one or two timeous during the Pats game-winning drive would’ve preserved 30 or more seconds. There’s no guarantee that the Jets would’ve scored, buts till. You have to give your team the best chance of winning, especially against the Patriots who are damn near perfect. And down the stretch, the coaches failed. Ugh!!!!!!
BOWLES KNOWS NO EMOTION
I love Coach Todd Bowles. I really do. Through the first six games of the season, he’s showcased his ability to reshape a CRAZY culture and establish some discipline and structure. Despite two losses on the season, the Jets have been well prepared for every team they’ve faced. Each player understands their role and buys into the singular mission of playing their position. The strides made under Bowles in such a short period are impressive. Also, his calm and rational demeanor are a refreshing change from Rex Ryan’s over-the-top antics. But yesterday, while the game was slipping away from the Jets, and the defense allowed Brady to takeover, I was begging Bowles to show some signs of emotion that confirmed he understood the dire nature of the situation. Like, literally screaming for him to let loose. Slightly. I wasn’t looking for him to panic, and go all Jim Harbaugh nuts on the sidelines, but something other than stoicism would’ve been nice.
And maybe my opinion is based on being HIGHLY invested in the Jets v Pats rivalry, and an emotional wreck who can’t sit still for longer than 10 seconds anytime these two teams play. I don’t know, but I needed him to at least let me know he had a pulse and was still in it to win it, and I got nothing.
Next week, the Jets head West to take on the Oakland Raiders (3-3). The Raiders aren’t typically a threat, but rookie Amani Cooper is a problem. The Jets will have their hands full with him. Also, Chris Ivory’s hamstring injury was a very unsettling reminder that the Jets offense is a lot less lethal without him powerfully surging up the middle. We need him healthy. Period.
photo via Robert Sabo/NY Daily News