The Jets didn’t do much right during Sunday’s 38-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans.
It’s easy to start by pointing the finger at quarterback Geno Smith and deservedly so. Smith missed a few open receivers, threw two interceptions, and fumbled twice, leading to 28 points off of turnovers for the Titans.
But it’s not that simple.
On the second play from scrimmage, just after a five yard run from running back Bilal Powell, the team took an unnecessary risk by throwing the ball downfield. It led to the first interception of the day and put Smith and the Jets in an early hole.
Powell ran the ball six times in the first quarter for 32 yards, yet had just eight carries the rest of the way. That’s unacceptable.
Yes, the lopsided score forced the Jets to throw more later in the game, but a more conservative approach on the road could’ve prevented it from ever getting to that point.
The Jets had success rushing the ball. Rather than establishing the run to set up the passing attack and take pressure off of Smith, they seemed to rely too heavily on the rookie quarterback.
Play calling aside, penalties reared their ugly head yet again and continued to haunt the team.
Fresh off of setting a franchise record with 20 penalties a week ago, the Jets were flagged 10 times for 66 yards.
Coach Rex Ryan had the team do pushups for every penalty they committed in practice leading up to the game, but it clearly wasn’t enough. After 44 penalties through the first four games, it’s time to start sitting guys who give away yards and free downs.
Tennessee took full advantage of the turnovers and penalties but also made smart adjustments. Unable to do much on the ground, they targeted Gang Green’s cornerbacks, who had a horrendous day.
Before quarterback Jake Locker left the game in the third quarter with an apparent hip injury, he constantly went after an ineffective Darrin Walls.
Walls, filling in for an injured Dee Milliner, didn’t get much help from his fellow corners. Antonio Cromartie slipped, leaving his man wide open on one touchdown reception and later got beat for a 77-yard touchdown.
The Jets are just as good, if not better, than the team that blew them out. As frustrating as it was to watch them lose, it was even more frustrating knowing that most of it was self-inflicted.
This isn’t a team completely devoid of talent like the Jacksonville Jaguars. Very few teams are good enough to win despite constantly turning the ball over and committing penalties.
And right now, the Jets aren’t good enough.