Sunday, October 31, 2010
Rapid Reaction: Packers 9, Jets 0
By Rich Cimini
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Quick thoughts form the Green Bay Packers' 9-0 win over the New York Jets.
What this means: Hold the Super Bowl reservations. The Jets, in a post-bye week funk, were shut out for the first time since Nov. 19, 2006 and snapped a five-game winning streak. Blame this one on Rex Ryan and his underachieving offense. The New York Jets’ made two questionable decisions in the first half, both of which loomed large in defeat. Ryan’s high-priced, big-name offense embarrassed itself against the NFL’s 18th-ranked defense.
Bad decisions: The Jets made two awful decisions in the first half -- trying a fake punt on a fourth-and-18 from their own 20 and challenging a third-down interception that had no potential benefit. The latter came back to bite them.
Steve Weatherford is a terrific athlete for a punter, but that’s a lot of running -- and he came up 1 yard short. The Packers converted that stop into a field goal and a 3-0 lead, which held up for the entire first half. The odds of converting a fourth-and-18 probably are no greater than 10 percent; that was poor game management Ryan and special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff.
In the second quarter, on a third-and-11 from the Packers’ 43, cornerbacks Tramon Williams ripped the ball out of Jerricho Cotchery’s hands on a short pass. Ryan challenged, claiming Cotchery had possession. Even if the Jets had won the challenge, it would’ve been fourth-and-8 -- either a 58-yard FG attempt or a punt. Why waste the challenge? Ryan lost, exhausting his allotment of replay challenges for the game.
They needed that challenge in the fourth quarter, when cornerback Charles Woodson intercepted a pass that should have been overruled. Tight end Dustin Keller had the reception and was down by contact, but the ball was ripped out of his hands by Woodson -- a huge turnover. It was a bad call, but Ryan’s hands were tied and it was his own fault.
Ryan capped a rough day by burning all three timeouts in the second half when the Packers had the ball with more than four minutes left in the game. It left his offense nothing to work with.
Where's the offense?: Did Brian Schottenheimer dust off the game plan from the Baltimore game? This was horrible. There were too many three-and-outs and too many blown opportunities. Quarterback Mark Sanchez’s fast start is a distant memory, as he continued to regress for the third straight game. His two interceptions weren’t all his fault, but his accuracy was awful. It was so bad that it almost makes you think there’s something wrong with his arm.
Instead of developing a flow, Schottenheimer was too preoccupied with keeping his so-called playmakers happy. It seemed like the goal was making sure the playing time was balanced instead of trying to attack Green Bay's weaknesses. There was too much shuffling of the personnel, making it difficult for players to find a rhythm. And to think, the Jets used the bye week to perform self-scouting exercises. That didn't accomplish much.
Holmes coming: As expected, wide receiver Santonio Holmes had an expanded role. He did more harm than good, dropping two short passes. The second drop came on a third down at the Packers’ 40, a wide-open play in which he could have scored. Holmes finished with three catches for 43 yards.
Revis Island: Cornerback Darrelle Revis, his troublesome left hamstring supposedly healed, played the entire game and didn’t seem affected by the injury. His role was changed in the second half. He played left cornerback in the first half, which meant very few matchups with the Packers’ No. 1 receiver, Greg Jennings. But in the second half, Revis was assigned to Jennings on almost every play.
Sloppy, sloppy: The Jets made mistakes in all three phases. Sanchez threw two interceptions, Brad Smith fumbled out of the Wildcat, Nick Folk missed a field goal from 38 yards, the Jets dropped four passes and there were several costly penalties. The Jets’ 5-1 start was built on takeaway-giveaway domination -- a league-leading plus-10 -- but they lost the turnover battle to the Packers with a minus-3.
What’s next: The Jets hit the road to face the improving Detroit Lions, a matchup of the two highest-drafted quarterbacks from the Class of ’09 -- Sanchez (fifth overall) and Matthew Stafford (No. 1).