East Rutherford, NJ – What happened? Was it really that long ago that the Jets were 5-4 after beating the Saints in their most complete game of the season?
For the second straight week the Jets could only muster three points. Geno Smith was benched at halftime, and fans left before the end of the third quarter. They ultimately lost 23-3 to the Dolphins dropping them to 5-7 and almost completely out of the playoff race.
“I feel bad, obviously for us, but I feel bad for our fans,” said Rex Ryan. “They deserve better than that. It was an awful performance by us. We got outplayed in all three phases of the game.”
Smith only completed four passes today, and he still managed to throw a pick. This wasn’t a game where the blame could be spread around. Smith had time in the pocket, and missed some wide-open receivers. The offense never looked like it had a chance, only collecting two first downs in the first half and failing to convert on all four third downs.
Fans got their wish when Matt Simms started the second half. But the former Volunteer didn’t look much better.
“We did absolutely nothing in the first half offensively, so I was just trying to give us a spark some way,” said Ryan. “It’s not like it’s on one man, but when a games going like that you try to find ways to pick the team up.”
Simms led the team on its only scoring drive, but that had a lot more to do with Chris Ivory. Simms’ only completion in the third quarter was an 18-yarder to a wide-open David Nelson; an accomplishment if only because Smith missed two of those in the first half.
Simms finished with nine completions for 79 yards and a pick. Hardly distinguishing him as the answer to the struggles that have plagued the Jets on this losing streak.
“(We) did some good things today but obviously didn’t do other things that we need to improve on,” said Simms. “We just have to get the football in the end zone, that’s the name of the game.”
While the defense didn’t look great, they did hold the Dolphins offense to just six points going in at halftime. They clearly looked like a team afraid of getting burned deep. They played the run strong, but had soft coverage all day. The Dolphins were able to dink and dunk their way down the field the entire first half. They had 16 first downs and held the ball for nearly 25 of the first 30 minutes.
If the defense was “bend, but don’t break” in the first half, in the second they broke. They gave up two touchdowns in the third, both coming when a defender gave a half-hearted attempt at a tackle. With Simms failing to get the offense on track, the team just looked defeated.
In the press conference Ryan cited inconsistency as the Jets problem. But the most troubling thing is actually how consistent they’ve been over the last three weeks. They’ve scored a combined 20 points, and to be honest it feels like they’ve scored less. To say the offense has been dormant would be an understatement.
Ryan wouldn’t commit to Smith starting next week. With Matt Simms failing to establish himself, it wouldn’t be surprising if David Garrard got some reps.
Next week they remain at home and get a winnable game in the Oakland Raiders. Maybe that will be enough to stop the bleeding. But it’s pretty clear they need more production from whoever is under center if they hope to get even one more win this season.
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