Following Sunday’s disappointing showing in Pittsburgh, the Jets seemingly have holes all along the dam.
What was once a competitive outing, with the Jets taking a slight 13-7 lead with 2:06 remaining in the first half, eventually turned into a runaway 31-13 defeat.
It was a paradox of two halves, considering the Jets (1-4) opened the game with an eight-play, 58-yard, scoring drive, but saw little to no success thereafter. New York’s offense has scored on its first drive in four of the team’s five games, but something happens to Gang Green in the second half. And with more than a quarter of the season remaining – and still more games left in the squad’s brutal opening schedule – the Jets need to find a way to finally put together a full game.
Ryan Fitzpatrick was sharp for the most of the contest (25-of-38 for 265 yards and a touchdown) and avoided any soul-crushing interceptions, but he was still mainly outgunned by Ben Roethlisberger, who threw four touchdowns – two in each half.
When discussing the inability to try and match the success of his opponents in the second half, Fitzpatrick didn’t use injuries as a crutch, but added the team needs to “take a hard look” at coming up with answers.
Injuries, however, have played a part in the second-half demises, and with the Jets missing wideouts Eric Decker and Jalin Marshall due to shoulder injuries, Fitzpatrick is already behind the eight ball to start most games.
Chan Gailey mentioned that missing a key guy like Decker has been more detrimental than anyone would’ve thought.
“Well, it makes a difference. Any time you’ve got somebody that you have an entire year and preseason of work with and all of a sudden he’s gone, it makes a difference,” noted the offensive coordinator. “But as Coach [Todd] Bowles always says, ‘when one guy goes down, the next guy has to step in there.’ We’ve got to replace him. That’s part of the game. You’ve got to have somebody go out there and play.”
So far, there hasn’t been anyone out there to pick up the slack for Brandon Marshall, who amazingly has still found a way to be successful despite the extra attention shown his way. The Jets are undermanned and have been out-executed – and Sunday was a prime example. Pittsburgh put on a clinic of long scoring drives, with four going at least 75 yards. Meanwhile, New York was shy at matching the Steelers’ bravado. The Jets punted twice in the fourth quarter while down 11, once on fourth-and-1 at its own 34-yard line, and again on fourth-and-2 near midfield. Bowles said even in hindsight, he felt both decisions warranted caution – despite no earlier proof that the Jets’ defense had any answer for the Steelers.
The evidence was the 12-play, 79-yard drive following the second white flag that iced the win for the home team. Bowles can be flippant when saying that “time travel doesn't work in life,” when discussing controversial decisions and missed opportunities, but he should be very concerned that his offense seems to stay behind in the locker room after halftime.
During the four losses, the offense has mustered a total of 13 points after the break. They’ve been blanked by both the Steelers and Chiefs in the second halves, scored just six points against the Bengals in the opener, and just seven against the Seahawks. That’s an average of barely more than a field goal scored per game in the second half.
Bowles insists the offense seems to improve and have “good practices” during the week leading up to the games. The problem, he deemed, is that for whatever reason guys haven’t been able to “transfer that to Sundays” – although the head man wouldn’t use miscommunication as a reason. Regardless, it’s a nagging problem that’s aided in the Jets’ current standing, and one that seems to dig them a deeper hole each week.
Gailey, though, alluded to some lapses in communication which has caused the offensive lapses.
“As I have said, this is a we thing, and some can be pinned on me. Communication is the key for us all to be on the same page all of the time,” Gailey reasoned. “We all have got to be on the same page and do a better job.”
There’s a dichotomy in opinions on the reasons why the second-half failures occur, but all can agree that the offensive schism needs to be fixed ahead of next Monday night’s tilt in Arizona.
Gang Green notes:
-Gailey also reasoned that a big reason for the uneven offense is the lackluster running game lately: “We can’t run it as much as we’d like. And when we get behind some in the second half, we end up having to throw it quite a bit. We’d like to kind of pound on you, pound on you, pound on you, and then all of a sudden we break big ones in late in the third and fourth quarter. That’s where we’ve done it in the past, but we just can’t stay with the running game as much as we’d like. … I think we’ve got to execute better in our run game.”
-When asked about any possible lineup changes to jumpstart the offense, Bowles was defiant: “We have a good plan in place, a good staff, and good players … I don’t feel there’s a need to change right now.”