New York Jets: 2013 Week 8 NYJ at CIN
"He told me to shut the hell up," Jones told Bengals.com after his team's 49-9 rout Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.
"(Nelson) was playing dirty," Jones said. "He cut me like four times after the play. Thank God I took my medicine today, I guess, and I didn't go off. Hopefully he'll get fined. At least three fines. There were three real cheap shots after the play."
Nelson was flagged for a personal foul. Jones got the last laugh, intercepting a Geno Smith pass and returning it 60 yards for a touchdown to give the Bengals a 49-9 lead early in the fourth quarter. It was Smith's last pass of the game.
Nelson ended up having his most productive day as a Jet -- a team-high eight catches for 80 yards.
Mo's pick: Despite an awful game by the pass defense, defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson made a couple of big plays. He recorded his seventh sack, which leads the team, and made his first career interception. It came on a weird, volleyball-type play. Wilkerson tipped a pass to defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, who tipped it back to him. It could've been a turning point in the game, but the Jets only managed to convert it into a field goal.
Injury report: Tight end Jeff Cumberland left the game with what was announced as a head injury. Safety Antonio Allen suffered an undisclosed injury that will require tests Monday morning. Guard Willie Colon, who got up slowly after a play late in the game, was seen in the locker room wearing a heavy wrap around his ribs.
Simms debuts: First-year quarterback Matt Simms made his NFL debut, replacing Smith early in the fourth quarter. His most memorable play, if not the smartest, was trying to hurdle two defenders to reach the first-down marker. He's lucky he wasn't injured.
"I'm probably going to get a few messages from my father telling me to be a little smarter," said Simms, son of former New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms. "I wanted to show everyone that I’m going to sacrifice and play hard. I’m going to play to the last play, no matter what the score is."
Disappearing pass rush: The big, nasty Jets' pass-rush, which entered the game with 24 sacks, was a non-factor. They had only one quarterback hit, and that was Wilkerson's sack in the second quarter. That has to be alarming, considering the Bengals lost left tackle Andrew Whitworth in the second half.
Leaky secondary: Here's an unofficial breakdown of completions allowed by the Jets' defensive backs:
Cornerback Dee Milliner -- Targeted five times, four completions for 108 yards and one TD.
Cornerback Antonio Cromartie -- Targeted five times, two completions for 106 yards. Also a 34-yard pass-interference penalty.
Cornerback Darrin Walls -- Targeted three times, one completion for six yards and one TD.
Cornerback Kyle Wilson -- Targeted twice, one completion for nine yards.
Safety Antonio Allen -- Targeted three times, two completions for 22 yards.
Safety Dawan Landry -- Targeted twice, one completions for 14 yards and a TD.
Safety Jaiquawn Jarrett -- Targeted twice, two completions for 15 yards and a TD.
CINCINNATI -- The New York Jets looked as helpless as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In the current NFL, there's no greater indictment of a team.
The Jets were flat and non-competitive Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. That's on Rex Ryan. Their defense was historically bad, so bad that Andy Dalton and Dan Marino will now appear in the same sentence -- as the past two quarterbacks to throw five touchdown passes against the Jets. That, too, is on Ryan, who may have spoiled his feel-good season with the second-largest margin of defeat in his 72-game tenure -- 40 points.
It was 49-9 at Paul Brown Stadium, and it could've been 70-9 if Marvin Lewis had Bill Belichick's no-mercy attitude.
This was the kind of game that can wreck a season. We already know the Jets are a psychologically fragile team, based on their inability to win back-to-back games, so there's no telling how they will react to an embarrassing beatdown. The New Orleans Saints are coming to town next weekend, and Ryan already was imagining a doomsday scenario.
"If we don't play better than we did today, hell, yeah, that guy [Drew Brees] will break every record known to man against us," Ryan said.
Let's take a step back for a moment. The Jets reached the midpoint of the season 4-4, exceeding expectations. It would be wrong to lose sight of the big picture.
OK, enough perspective. Focusing on what unfolded Sunday, it's hard not to be concerned.
Unlike their other blowout loss, 38-13 to the Tennessee Titans in Week 4, this can't be blamed on the mistakes of rookie Geno Smith. Yes, he handed 14 points to the Bengals with two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns -- that makes three pick-sixes in two weeks -- but this game was long gone before Smith's first brain cramp at the start of the third quarter. It was 28-6 at halftime.
This was over in the first quarter because the Jets made Dalton look like well, Marino, circa 1988, and they made Marvin Jones resemble Marvin Harrison. Jones set a franchise record with four touchdown catches, twice as many as the Jets' team leader for the season. Dalton passes for 325 yards, averaging nearly 11 yards per completion.
Ryan's defensive game plan was to rush four and play coverage against the Bengals' offense, which can best be described as A.J. Green and a bunch of pretty decent weapons. The Jets failed to generate a pass rush -- only one sack, their only quarterback hit -- but Ryan never adjusted. Where was the blitz? He was too conservative, allowing the Bengals to dictate the game. The Darrelle Revis-less secondary was exposed in an ugly way.
Rookie cornerback Dee Milliner, an overhyped former Alabama star with little NFL game, was torched four times for 108 yards and a touchdown and was benched in the second quarter. So if you're scoring at home, he has been benched in two of his four starts. The rest of the secondary stunk, too, even Antonio Cromartie, who allowed a couple of 53-yard completions to Green.
"We have a Pro Bowl corner that didn't have a good day, either," said Ryan, trying to take some heat off Milliner, who's playing like an undrafted free agent, not the ninth overall pick.
No one had a good day, except kicker Nick Folk.
The Bengals were so into Ryan's head that it looked like they had a copy of his game plan. Maybe Bengals practice-squad quarterback Greg McElroy, who ran the Jets' scout-team offense for two years, provided some valuable intel on his former team. Defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman scoffed the other day when that was mentioned as a possibility.
Who's scoffing now?
"We didn't come out focused," linebacker Calvin Pace said. "You do that in somebody else's house, you get your ass handed to you."
"Just an old-fashioned ass whipping," guard Willie Colon said.
You expect a relatively young team like the Jets to experience some ups and downs, but the big green elevator descended all the way to the basement with this stinker. Their season is like riding the "Tower of Terror" at Disneyland. The Jets have managed back-to-back wins only once in nearly two full seasons.
"We have to eliminate it," Colon said. "The roller coaster we're on isn't working."
Cromartie admitted the inconsistency is "nerve wracking." It can be hard to watch. How could a defense that played with such intensity last week against Tom Brady appear so overmatched a week later?
Ryan claimed there was no overconfidence after last week's emotional win, but like he always says, the proof is in the pudding. The Jets showed their immaturity, and Ryan didn't have his team ready to play. They were outgained in the first quarter, 172 to 1. Need we say more?
"This is tough," wide receiver David Nelson said. "Hopefully, this won't define us."
"I made a late throw to the sideline," he said about the errant pass. "They always tell you, 'Don't be late to the sideline.' The guy made a good break on the ball and was able to grab it.
Instead, the turnover dashed the Jets' hopes for any chance at making a comeback. Smith finished 20-for-30 with 159 yards and no touchdowns. He was sacked three times and threw two pick-sixes, the other of which Chris Crocker returned for a 32-yard touchdown on the Jets' first play of the second half.
"The guy made a good play," Smith said. "It wasn't my best pass, but he made a good play. I have to do a better job of keeping the ball out of defender's reach so they can't make those types of plays."
Smith was pulled for the first time in his career with 13:04 left in the fourth quarter. Coach Rex Ryan said he planned to let Smith play one more series, but he altered the plan after the Bengals scored on Jones' interception return.
Smith was replaced by backup Matt Simms, who made his NFL debut. Simms played three series, completing 3 of 7 passes for 17 yards. He also ended up as the Jets' leading rusher (35 yards), which pretty much tells the story on offense.
"I understand why the decision was made, but I always want to be in the game," Smith said. "I never want to be in a situation where we're down and I have to be pulled from a game. It's always upsetting, but I understand why the decision was made."
The Bengals did nothing defensively that surprised the Jets, Smith said.
"They played their game," he said. "They got us behind early, and their defensive line was able to get after us. They made it tough on us. We have to be able to step up to the plate and get it done on offense, no matter what the circumstances."
Ryan considered Smith's performance to be, well, Jet-like.
"It was like the rest of the team," Ryan said. "Obviously, it was a poor performance on everybody's part."
That's the way it's been all season for Smith and the Jets, who haven't strung together back-to-back wins this season, but have avoided consecutive losses. After throwing for 233 yards in last week's overtime win over New England, Smith turned in a season-low in passing yards on Sunday.
"It's not discouraging," Smith said. "Mistakes are going to happen, no matter how many years I play in this league. It's something to learn from."
An imperfect 10: As expected, Rex Ryan was in a foul mood, but he's often at his candid best when speaking out of anger. This was no exception. If the defense doesn't play better next week against New Orleans, Drew Brees "will break every record known to man against us," he said disgustedly. Someone asked if this was the worst loss of his coaching career. "No, shoot, no," he said. "The loss to New England [in 2010], 45-3, felt worse. On a scale of 10, this one's a 10, but that one to New England was like an 11. It's brutal." They were both brutal.
Bad preparation: Willie Colon's upper body could've served as a metaphor for the psyche of the team. His ribs were aching, and there was a huge bandage wrapped around his torso. Colon is known as a tell-it-like-it-is player, so it raised eyebrows when he wouldn't talk about whether the team may have been distracted during the week in the aftermath of the big win over New England. You may recall that, on Thursday, Ryan expressed his displeasure with practice. Asked about that after the game, Colon offered this cryptic response: "I'm going to keep that in-house. I'm not going to talk about that." Interesting.
CINCINNATI -- A few thoughts on the New York Jets' 49-9 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium:
What it means: The Jets (4-4) fell two games behind the first-place New England Patriots with a continuation of their maddening inconsistency. They haven't won two in a row since Weeks 13 and 14 last season. You expect a team with modest talent to experience its share of ups and downs, but this was ridiculous. This was an absolute no-show, confirming this team can't handle prosperity. That's a significant flaw, and it goes on coach Rex Ryan. In their past three defeats, each following a victory, the Jets have lost by 15, 13 and 40 points. It was the second-most lopsided loss of the Ryan era. And they can't blame this one on Geno Smith's growing pains. The rookie quarterback threw two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns, but it already was a 28-3 blowout by the time he served up the first pick-six.
Stock watch: Quite simply, this was one of the worst defensive performances in the Ryan era. Fourth-ranked defense in the NFL? Gimme a break. The Jets were an embarrassment, surrendering four touchdowns in the first six possessions. Andy Dalton threw a career-high five touchdowns and passed for 325 yards -- and it could've been a lot worse, as the Bengals dropped three long passes. The Jets had no answer for receiver Marvin Jones, who set a franchise record with four touchdown catches. The Bengals outsmarted the Jets, using clever formations to create mismatches. Ryan never adjusted.
There was no pass rush, and the secondary was brutal. The worst offender was rookie cornerback Dee Milliner, who was benched in the second quarter after allowing four receptions for 108 yards, including a touchdown. Milliner, the No. 9 overall pick, has played far below expectations, and that has to be troubling. This marked the second time he was benched in a game. Antonio Cromartie got beat deep twice by A.J. Green, but Dalton stayed away from Cromartie for the most part. Darrin Walls, Dawan Landry and Jaiquawn Jarrett each allowed a touchdown pass.
Woe is Geno: Smith (20-for-30, 159 yards) was replaced early in the fourth quarter by Matt Simms. Don't read too much into the change; it probably was Ryan trying to save Smith from injury. He was under pressure from the outset, as the offensive line (especially left guard Brian Winters) struggled against the Bengals' front four. Smith did a poor job with blitz recognition, resulting in two early sacks. Smith continues to be an enigma. His record after victories is 0-4, with one touchdown and nine interceptions.
What's next: The Jets return home to face the New Orleans Saints (6-1) in the Ryan Bowl -- Rex vs. Rob, the Saints' defensive coordinator.
3. I don't know if I've ever seen a Rex Ryan-coached defense play this poorly. They allowed touchdowns on four of six possessions, including three scoring passes from Andy Dalton to Marvin Jones, who looked more like Marvin Harrison. The Jets surrendered 294 total yards, an absolutely dreadful outing by all levels of the defense. They didn't get a hand on Dalton and the coverage was lousy.
4. Perhaps the most troubling development was the poor play of rookie cornerback Dee Milliner, who was benched in the second quarter. Milliner was targeted five times and he allowed four completions for 108 yards, including a touchdown -- and the one incompletion was a blatant drop by wide receiver Mohamed Sanu. Milliner was replaced by Darrin Walls, who proceeded to get burned for a touchdown. Safety Dawan Landry also allowed a scoring pass.
5. The Jets looked flat on both sides of the ball, reinforcing the perception that they can't handle prosperity. They can't even blame this on rookie quarterback Geno Smith, who had no turnovers. There were no self-inflicted wounds by the Jets; this was just an old-fashioned beat down. They were outgained, 294 to 80 yards.