Sunday, September 29, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Titans 38, Jets 13
By Rich Cimini
NASHVILLE -- A few thoughts on the New York Jets' 38-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans at LP Field:
What it means: The Jets (2-2) blew a chance to stamp themselves as a legitimate early-season surprise. They were outplayed and outcoached, committing costly mistakes at every turn. Clearly, last week's win over the Buffalo Bills, which looked pretty on the stat sheet (save for the 20 penalties), was a mirage. The Jets were not ready for this game mentally or physically -- and it started with rookie quarterback Geno Smith, who committed four turnovers. That led to 28 points for the Titans (3-1). He received little support. Continuing their lack of discipline, they were guilty of 10 penalties for 66 yards.
Stock watch: Smith took a major step backward -- and that's an understatement. I didn't think a quarterback could play as poorly as Mark Sanchez did last December against the Titans (five turnovers), but Smith did just that. Rattled by the Titans' relentless blitzing, Smith lacked poise, accuracy, pocket presence, situation awareness -- you name it. He was intercepted twice (eight for the season), putting him at a 32-interception pace. He also lost two fumbles, including one at his own goal line that was recovered for a touchdown. That play highlighted Smith's inexperience. Under duress, he actually tried to switch the ball to his left hand with a behind-the-back move. He has 11 turnovers in four games, a 44-turnover pace.
No doubt, fans will be screaming for Matt Simms. That would be a panic move by Rex Ryan and would serve no purpose. You have to ride this out with the rookie, finding out if he is the future. If Sanchez was healthy, it would be a different situation. But he's not, so be prepared to ride the rookie roller coaster.
Locked out: The Jets accomplished their No. 1 defensive goal, containing running back Chris Johnson (15 carries for 21 yards), but they left themselves vulnerable to the pass by using their base defense at times against the Titans' three-receiver sets. Jake Locker executed a controlled passing attack that neutralized the Jets' pass rush and exploited deficiencies in the secondary. He set a career high with three touchdown passes before being carted off in the third quarter with a right hip injury.
The Raiders 2.0: Ryan always has prided himself on having a low-penalty team, but that reputation is getting torched. He placed a huge emphasis on the penalty problem in practice (pushups for everyone), and it did no good. Many of the penalties were of the pre-snap variety, indicating a lack of focus. Ugly stuff.
Receiver problems: The Jets lost their starting wide receivers to injuries, as Stephen Hill (head) and Santonio Holmes (hamstring) didn't finish the game -- injury to insult.
What's Next: Now the Jets head into the difficult portion of their schedule: a Monday night road game against the Atlanta Falcons (1-2), who play the New England Patriots Sunday night.