Sunday, September 30, 2012
Rapid Reaction: 49ers 34, Jets 0
By Rich Cimini
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Jets should've stayed in bed instead of showing up Sunday to MetLife Stadium. They played a horrible game, falling to the 49ers 34-0, and they lost wide receiver Santonio Holmes to a potentially serious foot injury. It doesn't get much worse. This was the Jets' first shutout since Week 8 of the 2010 season, when they lost 9-0 to the Packers.
What it means: If Holmes is out for an extended period -- and it looks like he will be -- the Jets (2-2) are toast. They lost CB Darrelle Revis, their best defensive player, last week to a season-ending knee injury. Now their top playmaker on offense appears gone. They were thin on offense to begin the season, and now there's simply no way they can be a productive offense.
The pits: This was the low point of the Rex Ryan era -- a half-empty stadium in the fourth quarter, with a large contingent of 49ers fans chanting for their team. No doubt, it resonated with Jets owner Woody Johnson.
No hope on O: In addition to Holmes, the Jets also have injuries to TE Dustin Keller and WR Stephen Hill, neither of whom played because of hamstring injuries. Throw in a nonexistent running game, and you wonder how they will score points. This is a unit still searching for an identity under new coordinator Tony Sparano. They have nothing to lean on as they go forward. Against the 49ers, they were non-competitive. They couldn't even get to the red zone, undermined by four turnovers (three fumbles) and sloppy execution.
Quarterback decision: Mark Sanchez (13-for-29, 103 yards) delivered another stinker, his third straight game under the 50-percent completion mark. Ryan won't make a change now, because that would create a full-blown controversy, but he has to be at least thinking about it. Sanchez didn't get any help from his supporting cast, but he looked awful -- one interception (on a tipped pass), one fumble and several overthrows on open receivers. Sanchez had happy feet and, to be honest, the pass protection wasn't all that bad.
Interestingly, Ryan chose not to insert Tim Tebow in the fourth quarter, down 27 points. Why not give him a chance? Clearly, Ryan is afraid of sparking a quarterback controversy.
Dueling Wildcats: Wow, this was an embarrassing development for the Jets. After hyping their Wildcat for the better part of six months, the Jets were schooled in the Wildcat by the 49ers. Surprise, surprise. The 49ers used backup QB Colin Kaepernick in the Tebow role and he scored his first NFL touchdown on a 7-yard run that fooled the defense. Earlier on the drive, Kaepernick ripped off a 17-yard run as the hypnotized Jets defenders looked on. You would've thought they'd be better prepared for the Wildcat, considering they practiced against it all summer.
Here's an interesting postscript to Kaepernick: Ryan revealed in training camp he was interested in drafting the athletic QB in 2011. As for Tebow, well, he did throw his first pass -- a third-and-1 completion on one of his patented jump passes -- but it was fumbled by TE Dedrick Epps. Figures.
Life without Revis: All things considered, the Jets' pass defense wasn't a mess without Revis. They held the 49ers to 4-for-12 on third down. CB Kyle Wilson, who started for Revis, didn't get torched -- but he caught a couple of huge breaks. He was beaten deep twice, but saved because of overthrows by QB Alex Smith. The bigger problem for the Jets is the run defense, which continued its struggles. The Jets, who began the day ranked 28th, allowed 245 yards on the ground. They're not even close to being the elite defense they thought they were.
What's ahead: The Jets will have an extra day to prepare for their next game -- a Monday night home game -- but it's against the Texans (4-0), quite possibly the best team in the league.