The Jets are a work in progress. They continue to do dumb things and not execute as well as they should. Ryan Fitzpatrick throws the ball to the other team too much. The punt protection apparently suffered from narcolepsy at exactly the wrong time late in the fourth quarter. And, believe it or not, a few weeks after making what he himself termed the worst play in NFL history with a failed lateral attempt against the Eagles, Brandon Marshall was at it again Sunday, looking desperately for a teammate to toss the pigskin after hauling in a pass early in the second half.
Thankfully, Marshall decided against another astonishingly foolish play, although he did cough the ball up once, as did fellow receiver Eric Decker. Between those fumbles, the blocked punt and Fitzpatrick’s second-quarter interception, Gang Green did a lousy job taking care of the football at MetLife Stadium, which is the only reason an overmatched Washington squad wasn’t blown out.
While they have given a fair amount of points away via sloppiness in each of their past two games, both times the Jets beat their admittedly weak opponents by two-TD margins.
Imagine how much they’d win by if they played their best.
The fact is, a Jets team that was one of the worst in the AFC a season ago is now one of the top dogs. At this point, they look like the third-best team in the conference, behind New England and Cincy. Yeah, I know, Denver is undefeated, but if the two teams went head-to-head, I have little doubt that New York would come out on top, with the ancient Peyton Manning getting knocked around like a piñata while likely completing more passes to Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie than his own receivers.
The Jets have the NFL’s strongest running attack and its fiercest defense. The last time they had that potent combo, they made it all the way to the AFC title game -- and that was with Mark Sanchez at QB. That team didn’t have a receiver like Marshall, who, despite his occasional bouts of mind-numbing mindlessness, is still the perfect fit for Gang Green, even more so than Julio Jones or Calvin Johnson would be. With the Amish Rifle lacking the precision of the NFL’s better QBs, Marshall makes him look better than he is by catching just about every pass thrown in the same time zone as his fingertips.
This week, the Jets travel to Foxboro to play the Pats. The visitors won’t be able to get away with what they have against inferior competition. But if they bring their A game, they can beat their hated rivals -- and anyone else they play.