After Flying High Early, Jets Are a Wreck

When Bilal Powell is your biggest threat in the passing game and Ryan Fitzpatrick your most dangerous runner, chances are you’re not a very good team.

Ditto for when a guy named Cecil Shorts III puts on a triple-threat performance not seen since the days of Red Grange against you. And, of course, double-ditto for when the best player in your team’s history gets burned like a ruined Thanksgiving dinner before being knocked out of the game by a knee to the head. Finally, can’t ditto this one enough: if your head coach is talking about turning to Geno Smith to get things going … well, you get the point.

The Jets aren’t a very good team, as they proved yet again in Sunday's 24-17 loss at Houston. In fact, at 5-5, they’re the very definition of average -- although they’d have a tough time convincing anyone that they’re even approaching ordinary based on their play over the past few weeks.

In short, Gang Green can’t pass very well. They can’t run any better, especially when they’re playing almost exclusively out of the shotgun because of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s injured left thumb. They’re suspect on defense, having not held an opponent under 20 since Week 4. While we’re at it, they’re not much on special teams. And they’re unlucky. After racking up +8 in turnover differential in the season’s first two games, they’ve since posted a -6.

On the positive side, after three TDs on three passes in his pro career, the Jets prevented J.J. Watt from ringing up a fourth score after the just-returned Calvin Pryor broke up a throw in the end zone in the first quarter. Other positives, anyone? Don’t all speak at once!

It was basically the only time all day that the visitors thwarted Watt, who was somehow even better than usual on Sunday. The All-Pro DE had 5 five tackles for loss, two sacks and five hits in all on Fitzpatrick. I’m old enough to have watched Lawrence Taylor play his entire career here, and I feel confident saying this: Watt, not LT, is the best defensive player I’ve ever seen.

Ten games in, the Jets are now looking at a steep climb back into postseason contention. Their last two opponents, Buffalo and Houston, have passed them in the Wild Card race, and the roster is starting to resemble a supersized IR list. Sheldon Richardson sat out the Texans game with an ailing hamstring. Nick Mangold, back in Sunday despite a neck injury, had to leave the game after a laceration required stitches on his right (snapping) hand. In next week’s game against Miami, the Pro Bowl center is expected to roll the ball to his effectively one-handed quarterback.

Darrelle Revis, who looked infirm trying to cover Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins even when healthy, suffered a concussion -- and Fitzpatrick had his bell nearly broken in his fourth-quarter TD scramble. He followed that up with two INTs to seal the loss in the game’s closing minutes.

After flying so high to kick off the season, the Jets are, quite simply, a wreck. 

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