Ever have one of those nights where instead of pulling an all-nighter in the library before a big exam you stay out with your college buddies a tad too late and have one too many $3 pitchers at your local watering hole? You remember how banged up you felt the morning after? You have that amber goodness that went down so smoothly now slowly eating away at your stomach, causing a thin band of pain starting just above you forehead and working its way to deep behind your eye socket.(I may or may not be writing from a personal experience or two)
Do you remember how well you did on that exam? The grade was probably bad enough where it took another one of those nights just to forget it. In case you need a reminder, take a look at the grades the Jets received this week in the Official JetsInsider.com’s ‘Morning After Report: Late Edition’. Nostalgia aside, I’m not revisiting my college youth for no reason. After getting bullied by the Raiders in Oakland last week, the Jets were just beat down by the Ravens in Baltimore on Sunday — unable to get over the Black Hole hangover.
An offense who couldn’t get out of their own way and a leaky defense that could only do so much, was saved — if only for a moment — by an electrifying 107-yard kickoff return by Joe McKnight and David Harris’ 53-yard interception return, sparked by McKnight’s (yes, you read that right) penetration off a corner blitz.
PASSING OFFENSE: F
- Is it time to really start questioning if Mark Sanchez can be a elite quarterback in this league? He fumbled four times — three were lost and two were returned for touchdowns — and a costly pick-six that stole any momentum the team had going for them.
- He was supposed to make that jump from not losing games to being the reason they won. But in their first four games he has six TDs to five interceptions and a completion percentage of 55%. His career numbers are 35 TD/38 INT, 54 completion percentage, and a QB rating of 71. His 2011-12 numbers look to be on the same lackluster pace of his career.
- The offensive line, still without All-Pro center Nick Mangold (high ankle sprain), struggled mightily against the daunted Ravens defense — allowing two sacks and ten hits on Sanchez all night. Rookie center Colin Baxter was benched, where starting right guard Matt Slauson assumed his duties while Vladimir Ducasse took over at guard. The adjustment proved to be a failure as the professional game appears to still move too fast for Ducasse.
RUSHING OFFENSE: F
- What happened to the identity of this team? Rex Ryan loves an old school, ground and pound offensive attack, but the team ranks 30th in rushing yards per game at 71. Only the Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans are averaging less than Gang Green’s ground attack. They totaled a meek-like 38 total yards on the ground against the Ravens.
- Part of the poor ground game can be attributed to the struggles of the offensive line, but it’s mostly due to the ineffectiveness of the now-feature back Shonn Greene. LaDanian Tomlinson seems to strictly be a receiver out of the backfield and couple that with Greene’s north-south running style and there’s a degree of predictability when defenders see either Greene or Tomlinson in the backfield.
- The lack of another running back to split the carries with Greene allows defenders to load up in the box when he’s in the backfield while keeping an extra man in coverage when LT lines up. At this point, why not give McKnight a chance to show off his athletic skill set that he’s been showing off on special teams and defense?
PASSING DEFENSE: C+
- Running back Ray Rice and tight end Ed Dickson did the most damage for the Ravens passing game, combining for six receptions and 109 yards. No surprise there, the Jets defense has nightmares covering tight ends and running backs in the receiving game.
- Aaron Maybin proved he belongs on this team after being re-signed this week. His strip/sack of Joe Flacco in the third quarter and his near-miss in the first showed Ryan and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine that he can be their DPR (designated pass rusher). His emergence comes at a good time, after Bryan Thomas left the game with an ankle injury former DPR Jamaal Westerman took over the starting reps at outside linebacker.
- The defense played a solid game, allowing only one offensive touchdown and holding Rice to only 66 yards on the ground, while Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin combined for 2 receptions and 29 yards.
RUSHING DEFENSE: C+
- After giving up over 200 yards on the ground in Oakland, the Jets defensive front rebounded nicely in containing the slippery-when-wet Rice.
- They did have trouble stopping back-up Ricky Williams (12 rushes, 49 yards), who average 4.1 yards per carry despite losing a fumble .
- This marks the third straight week that the defense has given up over 100 yards to their opponent.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B+
- This unit continues to be the x-factor and lone bright spot on a team that recently has had a dark cloud hanging over them. Enough credit can’t be given to special teams coach Mike Westhoff who continues to be the leading innovator in his field.
- McKnight’s 107-yard return tied a franchise record last night. This is McKnight’s second stellar play on special teams on Sunday Night Football. In Week 1 against Dallas, his blocked field goal proved to be one of the signature plays in a memorable Jets come-from-behind victory.
- T.J. Conley continues to get a lot of reps at punting, going for eight last night and ending the night with an average punt of 43.3 yards.
- Westhoff — and maybe Pettine — aside, the rest of the coaching staff has a lot explaining to do. Staring with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. We all know Sanchez is great off the play-action and when he’s rolling out of the pocket, but defenses don’t buy the play-fake when the ground game is ineffective. Additionally a play-action pass is designed to draw the defensive backs closer to the line leaving the back end of the field open for a deep pass, but the play-action pass becomes ineffective when you use it on short slants and bubble screens — allowing the defenders to jump the pass.
- The team amassed just seven first downs while holding the ball for a mere 22 minutes. It doesn’t take a genius to see that teams don’t win when the can’t advance the ball and sustain drives. Add to that nine penalties for 69 yards and your team is beating themselves before their opponent even has a chance to.