Saturday, August 18, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Giants 26, Jets 3
By Rich Cimini
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Jets don't have a quarterback controversy; the real controversy is the entire offense, which took a big step backward in a 26-3 loss to the Giants Saturday night at MetLife Stadium. In two games, the Jets have yet to score a touchdown.
QB struggles: Mark (It's My Huddle) Sanchez held up reasonably well for the first 28 minutes, considering he didn't have his top receivers and the pass protection stunk, but then he did the one thing he can't do if this team is to have any hope in 2012 -- he committed a killer turnover. He was intercepted by rookie CB Jayron Hosley, who returned it 77 yards for a touchdown. Sanchez (9-for-11, 59 yards) threw a little behind a well-covered Patrick Turner, an ill-advised throw. Plays like that will only fuel the pro-Tebow sentiment because it reminds people of the bad plays from Sanchez's past.
But Tim Tebow didn't inspire much confidence, either. He replaced Sanchez at the start of the second half and led the offense to three points in three possessions. Tebow (5-for-14, 69 yards) missed a gimme touchdown, underthrowing a wide-open Stephen Hill from the Giants' 29. He was flushed to his right, but he threw on the run -- across his body -- and had nothing on it. There were no Wildcat plays, but Tebow ran twice on designed plays out of the shotgun.
Brutal offense: The starting offense increased its preseason streak to eight possessions without a touchdown. This week, they couldn't even manage a field goal in six possessions, showing no spark, no creativity and no consistency. And to think, they had great field position for most of the half. The numbers are ugly: Only four first downs, three sacks allowed, two penalties, one interception and they went 0-for-6 on third down. Perhaps the most embarrassing sequence came when they were stuffed on third-and-1 and fourth-and-1 in Giants territory. It's hard to be a ground-and-pound offense when you can't pick up a yard on two shots.
It's too early to push the panic button because the Jets still are learning Tony Sparano's offense, but the troubling part is that they showed no improvement from Week 1 to Week 2. If anything, they regressed. In two games, they've allowed 12 sacks.
Here we go again: Right tackle remains a major concern. Wayne Hunter, in his preseason debut, allowed two sacks to Jason Pierre-Paul. Hunter also had a hand in another sack, allowing penetration that forced Sanchez to step up and into the arms of Linval Joseph. It could've been another sack, too, but Hunter caught a break because it was nullified by an offsides penalty. Hunter didn't have any tight-end help, so that's on the coaches. Hunter was terrible last season, yet the front office decided to stand pat, a decision could come back to haunt the team. Overall, the first-team line was sluggish, struggling against four-man rushes.
Bright spots on D: It will get overshadowed by the horrendous offense, but there were a few standouts on defense. Bart Scott, Bryan Thomas and Mike DeVito played well at the point of attack, and safety LaRon Landry flashed on a few occasions. Landry made an interception on a wildly overthrown ball by Eli Manning. Landry delivered a huge hit on Victor Cruz, but he may have led with his helmet. The NFL fine police may have something to say about that. On the downside, the first-team pass rush didn't generate much heat. The second-team defense surrendered too many big plays.
What's ahead: The Jets return to Florham Park, N.J., to prepare for the Panthers next Sunday night at MetLife Stadium.