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Sunday, September 29, 2013
Halftime thoughts: Back to reality

By Rich Cimini

NASHVILLE -- A few thoughts on the New York Jets, down 24-6 at halftime to the Tennessee Titans:

1. The mirage: Everyone was giddy after last week's win over the Buffalo Bills. When are people going to learn? The Jets always look good against the Bills, creating a false sense of superiority. The Titans knocked them back to reality from the outset. The first half was reminiscent of last years' December debacle in Nashville.

2. Geno Sanchez: Rookie quarterback Geno Smith committed three turnovers (two interceptions, one fumble in the open field), resulting in short-field touchdowns for the Titans. They converted the mistakes into 21 points. One interception was an underthrow on a deep route to Stephen Hill, and the other was a poor decision, a throw into blanket coverage. Cornerback Alterraun Verner made both interceptions. This is what happens when you have a rookie at quarterback: severe growing pains. Smith gets little help from coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who continues to let him throw.

3. Bad defense: The Jets went into the game more concerned about Jake Locker's legs than his arm. Big mistake. Locker picked apart Rex Ryan's defense, throwing a career-high three touchdowns in the first half. It was a terrific game plan by the Titans, who surprised the Jets with their short-passing attack. It neutralized the Jets' pass rush and found soft spots in the secondary.

4. More push-ups: Looks like Ryan's penalty-prevention program did not do the trick. One week after setting a franchise record with 20 penalties, the Jets committed eight (one declined). The lack of discipline has to be alarming, considering how much emphasis was placed on the issue.