Sunday, November 17, 2013
Rapid Reaction: New York Jets
By Rich Cimini
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- A few thoughts on the New York Jets' 37-14 loss to the Buffalo Bills:
What it means: The maddeningly inconsistent Jets (5-5) became the first team in NFL history to alternate wins and losses through its first 10 games. Coming off a feel-good bye week, following their upset of the New Orleans Saints, the Jets were flat and perhaps overconfident. They proved once again that they lack the maturity to handle success and, now, expectations. This was their third blowout loss. In their last two defeats, they've lost by a total of 63 points. That shouldn't happen to a team that fancies itself a legitimate playoff contender. Much will be made of the Jets' team trip Saturday afternoon to a Dave & Busters in the Buffalo area. That's not the reason they lost, but it sent a bad message.
Stock watch: The Jets have a quarterback problem. Geno Smith was brutal, committing four turnovers. That makes 20 for the season. Rattled by the Bills' pass rush, he threw his 14th, 15th and 16th interceptions, including his fourth pick-six of the season. He completed only 8 of 23 passes for 103 yards and a season-low passer rating of 10.1. The windy conditions were tough, but it didn't stop EJ Manuel from picking apart the Jets' defense. Smith was replaced by Matt Simms early in the fourth quarter. It's not time to bench Smith, but he has to be on a short leash. The Jets can't live with his rookie mistakes, not in a playoff push. In his last five games, Smith has one touchdown pass and eight interceptions. His body language suggests his confidence is shot, and the coaches' confidence in him is waning, judging by the conservative game plan. Not even the return of Santonio Holmes and Kellen Winslow helped.
Reed all about it: The Jets signed future Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed, in large part, to help them solve their problems defending the deep ball. It didn't work against Manuel, who threw touchdown passes of 34 and 43 yards. That has to be troubling for the Jets because the Bills aren't known for their vertical passing, and they played without two of their top receivers, Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods. Reed, who started and played all but two snaps, blitzed on the first scoring pass. The Jets played "zero" coverage, meaning no deep safety, allowing T.J. Graham to adjust to an underthrown pass that got caught up in the wind and fooled Dee Milliner. On the second touchdown, Reed was late in providing deep help for Antonio Cromartie, who was torched by speedster Marquise Goodwin.
What's ahead: The Jets are on the road again, facing the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 24.