Oakland, CA – Was this a must win game for the New York Jets? — This might sound a bit ridiculous but then again it could make complete sense. Today’s game on the road against the Oakland Raiders, where the Jets just couldn’t get it together, may have meant a lot more than just a loss on their record. With the upcoming schedule they are facing in the next few weeks (Baltimore Ravens: road, New England Patriots: road, Miami Dolphins: home and the San Diego Chargers: home) today’s loss might become a dark cloud over New York, if the team cannot bounce back.
The Jets were punched in the mouth right out of the gates today when the Raiders caught their defense on their heels and went in for an opening touchdown. Right there it looked like it was going to be a long day for coach Ryan and his defense, but before you could blink an eye the Jets offense went back down the field to tie the game at seven and it seemed they were back on the balls of their feet.
The offense was on the balls of their feet for most of the game (finishing with 439 total yards) but it was the defense that hurt the Jets for now the second game of the season. (first one was against the Cowboys that the Jets ended up winning).
“This one stings, no question,” Ryan said in his press conference, “You have 439 yards of offense and lose the game. It was unbelievable.”
This afternoon the Jets defense was torched by RB Darren McFadden who rushed for 171 yards and two touchdowns (averaging 9 yards a carry). McFadden wasn’t the only running threat that did damage. The Raiders ended up gaining 234 total yards on the ground and averaged 7.3 yards per carry.
“Two hundred and thirty-four yards, (7.3) a carry, I’ve never had that happen, I don’t think, in my life,” Ryan said in his press ocnference.
Coach Ryan was clearly upset with the defensive performance, but he wasn’t the only one that was hanging his head about how the game turned out.
“You can’t expect to win in the NFL giving up over 200 yards rushing,” Jim Leonhard told the Star-Ledger.
The pass rush and run defense or lack there of according to coach Ryan was not only a negative in the first half, but was carried all throughout the game.
“I don’t know what rush defense your’e talking about.” Ryan said during his press conference.
Enough with the negativity, we will return to that again soon. Let’s give some credit where credit is due. In the first half the Jets were doing some things that were positive to their football team. The Jets run game seemed to resurrect itself today,(100 rushing yards for the game) as LaDanian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene (15 carries for 59 yards, 3.9 ypc) had good games coming out of the backfield, (catching and running).
Their offensive line, even without center Nick Mangold was playing exceptionally well, in the first half that is. The young center Colin Baxter did well at the line and his name was barely heard from the announcers, which meant he must have been doing something right or else they would have been all over it. In the first half the big Raider defensive line recorded no sacks but the second half was a different story.
Also in the first half, QB Mark Sanchez was playing pretty well, with only one mistake under his belt, which was the forced throw to the endzone out of the pocket that was intercepted. His true fault might have been not getting the ball to his outside receivers early in the game enough especially against the Raiders man to man coverage, but later in the game he came around but it was too little too late. Sanchez finished the game (27/43, 369 yards, two passing touchdowns, one interception and one running touchdown).
Everything that was golden in the first half, quickly turned to bronze in the second half. The offensive line looked sluggish as soon as the third quarter started. In the second half they gave up four sacks, one in which Sanchez received a cut under his right eye near the bridge of his nose but he is fine.
The offense that was moving the ball with a sort of rhythm in the first half suddenly slowed down immensly in the start of the second half and didn’t seem to come back to life until later in the fourth quarter. In a game that was 17-17 at one point got out of hand in the second half.
Yes, it is a team game, no doubt about it but there was one player who stood out to me that just couldn’t get away from the trouble today, that guy is CB Antonio Cromartie.
He has been the Jets rock on defense so far this season (in my opinion) and to come out and play a game like he did today just goes to show that even the pros have a bad game.
After being awarded defensive player of the week for his performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars where he had two interceptions, he came out and probably had the worst game he will have all year. Cromartie committed four big penalties, one pass interference call that lead to an Oakland score, and one gigantic fumble that completely took the wind out of the sail of the Jets. The fumble happened on a kick off return that Cromartie tried to get a running start and ended up booting the ball directly to the kick off team. The Raiders ran a few plays and got into the endzone once again, making it 31-17 which made the game out of reach for the Jets.
The Jets tried to have their last minute heroics, like they have been able to pull off in games past, but it didn’t work today. They fell short on a 4th and 2 play in which Sanchez tried to run into the endzone to make it a one possession game but to no avail. The play was at first signaled as a touchdown but under the new review rules the NFL put in this year it was clear to the referees that Sanchez’ knee was down before the ball crossed the pile on. The play lead to a turn over on downs. The Raiders took a knee to run out the clock. One knee is a failure for one side but for the other it is a success.
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