Report card: Close to a Blutarsky
Let's be honest: Ground & Pound is a myth. The Jets managed only 45 yards, tied for the second-lowest total in the Rex Ryan era. It was the third straight game under 100. The offensive line got no push whatsoever, facing a talented defensive front that didn't have one of its top run stuffers -- NT Isaac Sopoaga. When there was a crease, RB Shonn Greene failed to capitalize. The Jets didn't have a run longer than five yards, which is mind boggling. The loss of FB John Conner (hamstring) forced them to adjust. Obviously, they didn't adjust well.
This is about as bad as it gets: Mark Sanchez averaged only 3.0 yards per attempt, barely hitting the 100-yard mark (103). He missed open receivers, even on short passes -- 8-for-17 on throws within five yards of the line of scrimmage, according to ESPN Stats & Information. That includes a screen pass that was tipped and intercepted. The passing game is completely out of sync; they continue to make mistakes that should've been corrected in the first week of training camp. The pass protection (three sacks) was shaky, as RT Austin Howard and LG Matt Slauson got beat for sacks. Memo to Sanchez and Tony Sparano: You're allowed to throw to running backs.
Sorry to be a broken record here, but this is about as bad as it gets: The Jets allowed 245 yards, the largest total in 52 games under Ryan. Hold your nose, because these guys stunk. The 49ers staged a clinic, exposing every weakness in the Jets' defense. They attacked the perimeter (who doesn't?) with remarkable success. In fact, 149 of the 245 yards came outside the tackles, per ESPN Stats. The Jets knew it was coming and loaded up with their big people, playing a lot of 4-3. No matter. The defensive line played another poor game. The 49ers schooled the Jets with their version of the Tebow package, as QB Colin Kaepernick burned them with two big runs. Stat of the day: Kaepernick rushed for more yards (50) than the entire Jets team.
Alex Smith passed for only 143 yards and had no TDs, but we're not tossing out an 'A' here. The Jets were lucky because it could've been a lot worse. Smith, not known for his deep passing, overthrew two open receivers -- both of whom beat CB Kyle Wilson. That won't happen against the better downfield passing teams. Wilson was mediocre in his first start for Darrelle Revis. He was flagged for pass interference on the first play of the game, and he made only a token effort to tackle Kaepernick on his 7-yard TD run. The good news is, the Jets contained TE Vernon Davis and they held the 49ers to 4-for-12 on third down. Hey, it's something.
The Jets had a punt blocked for the first time since 2008, setting up the 49ers' final TD. Ryan was furious because he said it came on "a one-man rush." Otherwise, the Jets went toe-to-toe with one of the better special-teams units in the league. They managed to contain old nemesis Ted Ginn on punt returns, and they've developed a knack for making opponents miss field goals -- two misses for the second week in a row. Is it a knack or is it just luck? A question for another day.
The Jets got beat by a better team, but it's how they got beat that was alarming. They were pushovers, beat up physically and mentally. That's on Ryan, who failed to rouse his team from its post-Revis hangover. The Jets played as if they've lost all hope for the season. They had no answers for the 49ers' inside-outside rushing attack, suffering one of the worst defensive days in the history of the Ryan family. Offensively, they continued to regress, resembling the unit that stunk up the preseason. They should've moved the pocket more often and they should've tried more quick screens to the wide receivers, a 49ers weakness exposed last week by the Vikings. This was a lowpoint for Ryan and his staff.