The Jets came into Kansas City sparkling, following a near 500-yard offensive performance, last week, but left Arrowhead Stadium all fizzled out in a crushing 24-3 defeat.
Ryan Fitzpatrick played like the journeyman signal caller he is as he went 20-of-44 for 188 yards, no touchdowns, and six interceptions, including two soul-crushing picks in the end zone – one late in the third quarter and the other midway through the fourth when it appeared the Jets were about to get back into the game.
Both instances came when the Jets (1-2) were marching on the Chiefs (2-1) and looking to cut into a 17-3 deficit. And in both instances, Gang Green left points – and hope – on the board.
It was a deflating and odd performance for a Jets squad that was coming off an emotional win over former head coach Rex Ryan, as they ran roughshod over a Bills defense that has as much talent as any other team in the league – and the same Buffalo squad that manhandled a very good Arizona Cardinals squad, 33-18, a few hours earlier.
The Chiefs, on paper, looked like an easier target for the Jets, especially considering the injuries to major talent and two shaky performances to start the season. Kansas City needed a major 18-point comeback over the hapless San Diego Chargers in the opener and was embarrassed last week in Houston.
But the Jets couldn’t get out of their own way with more than a handful of self-inflicted mistakes.
Despite still being in striking distance right until the final few drives, Gang Green just couldn’t muster any momentum as they gave away the contest. Their final seven drives (field goal, punt, interception, interception, interception, interception, and interception) showed just how inept they were in the final stanza.
Metro takes a look back at key moments that cost the Jets the game.
Manager’s special: Sure, Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith is derisively known as a game manager, but the Jets – and their fans – would’ve killed to have such boring stability. Smith was a solid 25-of-33 for 237 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions, as he masterfully manipulated the Jets’ secondary and hit nine different targets. The veteran Smith is hardly ever spectacular, but his calming influence and ability to avoid the crushing turnover is just what the Chiefs needed.
Not one, not two, not three: Fitzpatrick didn’t make any wild proclamations such as the above, but he sure played wildly. The performance was the exact opposite of what he did in Buffalo – and that was a head scratcher, considering he looked so comfortable and poised in Chan Gailey’s offense. But Fitzpatrick reverted to old gunslinger habits by forcing passes and taking chances that weren’t necessary. And he failed to gel with touchdown machine Eric Decker, as the playmaker didn’t even register his first catch until the 12-minute mark of the final quarter. Decker saw six targets, but never got in rhythm. Running mate Brandon Marshall, playing on a gimpy knee and foot, was also silent in registering three catches for 27 yards. If the Chiefs can neutralize the Jets high-powered attack, there’s no telling how bad the carnage will be when they line up opposite the Seattle Seahawks’ Legion of Doom secondary, next week.
Rising star: Speaking of amazing cover corners, Fitzpatrick was foolhardy in testing Kansas City’s only shutdown cornerback, Marcus Peters. The second-year corner is a boom-or-bust player at times, as he has a tendency to be beaten on double-moves, but he was all boom for the Chiefs in picking off Fitzpatrick twice. The former Washington Husky star wasn’t alone in tormenting Fitzpatrick, as four other Chief defenders also got their hands on interceptions – including the game-icing pick-six by linebacker Derrick Johnson.