Sunday, December 15, 2013
Halftime: Well, at least it's not a blowout
By Rich Cimini
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The New York Jets trail the Carolina Panthers at halftime, 16-6. A few thoughts:
1. Competitive Jets: Considering their recent performances on the road, the Jets had to be mildly satisfied to be down only 10 points. In their previous three away contests, they were outscored by a 4-to-1 margin. If they can keep it close, the Jets will be able to keep running the ball. Surprisingly, they ran for 93 yards against the league's top-rated rush defense, confusing the Panthers with a few nice misdirection plays.
2. Killer play: Really, the Jets should be down by only three points, but they suffered a major breakdown with 3:42 left in the half -- a 72-yard touchdown to DeAngelo Williams on a screen pass. The Jets were fooled badly by Cam Newton, who faked a throw to his left and threw right. The defense looked ridiculously slow as it chased Williams. David Harris trailed the entire way. Ed Reed, who bit on the fake, arrived late and took a bad angle. Dee Milliner couldn't get off a downfield block. Talk about embarrassing. The Panthers entered the game with the fewest plays of 20-plus yards in the league.
3. Bad karma: Wide receiver Santonio Holmes, who tweaked the Panthers' secondary by saying it's the "weakest link" of the defense, was forced to eat humble pie, dropping the first pass thrown to him. Hey, it's hard to catch a football with a foot in your mouth. Holmes got an earful from safety Mike Mitchell. Holmes had no catches on two targets.
4. Bad in the red zone: Neither team played well offensively in the red zone, settling for field goals until the big Williams touchdown. Geno Smith didn't commit any turnovers, but he passed for only 59 yards against the secondary that Holmes insulted.