In a battle of two promising teams heading into the 2016 NFL season, it was a nail biter with some quality plays that showed these teams might have what it takes to make it deep into the playoffs if they can stay healthy. A few miscues cost the Jets the victory, but they are ones that could be fixed with the proper coaching and player motivation.
Although it was a team loss, the most glaring errors were clearly made by the usually reliable kicker Nick Folk. He is a solid position player who has been under the radar, which is a good thing for a kicker, for most of his career, and just had a bad game. Unfortunately for him, his misses were the most accountable mistakes today, accounting directly for the loss of 4 points whereas 80-90+% would make by NFL standards. There was no rain, wind, or outside elements to hinder the kicks that much, he just needed to get the ball higher for such short distance kicks. He should be ok going forward, and it is better he works out the kinks now than in the playoffs or Super Bowl.
Star wide receiver Brandon Marshall, the leader of the offense along with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, dropped a critical ball and may have cost the Jets a chance to win as well. Fitzpatrick also missed some throws, any one of which could have given Gang Green a critical first down or extend a scoring drive.
The defensive cornerbacks gave up some plays which, with better communication, could have been averted and possibly saved some points as well. All these components contributed to the loss and there seems to be much work to do overall.
The game could have actually been worse than the score appeared. There was a touchdown where an apparent pick play and was not called by the refs, and if it keeps happening, next time the score can be 23-15, so we shouldn’t get fooled with the concept of if it worked, it was a great play. Great teams vying for a championship do nor rely on luck.
Another weakness that was clearly shown in this game was the Jets’ red zone offense. Coming away with 3 or less time and again will cost you against the better teams, just like it did here. With a big veteran receiver like Marshall and 2 great running backs in Forte and Powell, there should be no reason they cannot come away with 6 at least a third of the time.
The defensive line played well, imparting pressure on Dalton all day, which is one of the keys in building a great defense. It takes pressure off the secondary and also makes the opposing quarterbacks rush and feel uneasy, which can have critical consequences over the course of a game.
The running game I was highly inconsistent, and constantly one dimensional. Coaching has to step it up starting with Chan Gailey, to mix it up and clear the way for 4+yd gains almost at will with the Jets’ talent. He also has to do a better job of mixing it up between the passes and runs, long and short. Predictability will be the death of any offense, no matter how talented.
With all the mistakes and faults, a one point loss to a quality team does not seem too bad, even though we also got away with a few. The Jets showed some potential but it is apparent they need to clean up and work on many facets of both sides of the ball to truly be considered championship contenders.