The Jets may have as much talent as the Arizona Cardinals, but when it came to executing and avoiding self-inflicted wounds, they were miles behind them – and it showed in a lackluster 28-3 defeat in front of a national audience.
Sure, the Jets (1-5) have suffered the fate of a brutal opening-season stretch by facing five teams that made the postseason last year, but they’ve also aided their losing cause with far too many turnovers and mistakes – both mental, like busted coverages, and physical, like missed open-field tackles.
Monday night wasn’t any different, as Gang Green allowed Cardinals’ running back David Johnson to run roughshod over them, while Carson Palmer (23-of-34 for 213 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions) returned from last week’s concussion protocol to play an efficient game.
The first half was a dreaded sign of things to come for New York, as they didn’t convert a first down in seven chances and had eight penalties. They had a respectable total of 130 yards of offense in the first half, but 70 of those came from three Brandon Marshall catches – and that was all Marshall was afforded the rest of the game.
It was simply an ugly, disappointing performance for a Jets squad that entered the game thinking they could steal one in the desert and try to get its season back on track.
Metro takes a look back at what went wrong, as the Cardinals helped Gang Green’s season continue to spiral out of control.
What We Saw:
1. No more Fitzmagic – It might be time for the Jets to close the Fitz Freefall and hop on board the Geno Coaster for the remainder of the season – regardless of what Marshall wants. The ship is sinking, and Marshall, loyal to a fault, said he’s willing to go down with his quarterback of choice, but after Monday night, it might be time to follow a new leader. Fitzpatrick did nothing to keep his job, as he went 16-of-31 for 174 yards with no touchdowns, and a killer interception in the end zone when the Jets were still somewhat of a threat. It was so bad for the maligned quarterback that he was yanked in favor of an even more maligned Geno Smith midway through the fourth quarter. Smith (4-of-6 for 31 yards) also threw a pick, but the game was already out of reach with the Jets down 28-3. Smith is unlikely the answer, but what the Jets and their faithful should already be confident in knowing, is that neither is Fitzpatrick. The magic is gone.
2. Man alone – Marshall got off to a great start, nabbing three balls for 70 yards, but that was all the success he’d have, as he was shut out in the second half. His 70 yards led all receivers, but it was clear that once no one else on the Jets would step up and alleviate pressure, the Cardinals were free to bracket the former Pro Bowl wideout and dare anyone else in green and white to make them pay. No one did, with the next-best producers being Charone Peake (43 yards) and Quincy Enunwa (42). Without Eric Decker, who is out for the year with a shoulder ailment, and none of the younger wideouts able to separate themselves, look for more frustrating games like this for Marshall.
3. Not in a rush -- The aforementioned David Johnson obliterated the Jets’ defensive front, as he went for a game-high 111 rushing yards and three scores. Conversely, the Jets’ rushing attack was insulting to running backs everywhere. It seems like forever when running back Matt Forte gashed the Buffalo Bills defense in Week 2, as he’s seen his production dip drastically. He only netted 19 yards on nine carries, while his sidekick Bilal Powell added a mere 10 yards on three carries. And neither dual-threat back was able to balance out those anemic rushing numbers as they combined for just 15 yards receiving on four catches. Johnson, on the other hand, even added 27 yards receiving on three catches, nearly doubling the duo’s output.
Gang Green notes:
- The Jets entered Monday night scoring just seven total points in the third quarter, and that total remained the same with yet another disappointing third stanza.
- Gang Green has only scored two offensive touchdowns in the last 15 quarters. In comparison, they tallied at least two offensive touchdowns in every game, last season.
- The average distance on third downs for the Jets was nearly 10 yards per attempt.
- Red-zone issues plagued the Jets again, as they entered the game with a 38-percent efficiency rate (8-of-21). The Cardinals helped that stat sink deeper when Fitzpatrick was picked off in the end zone by safety D.J. Swearinger with less than a minute remaining in the third quarter. It was Fitzpatrick’s league-leading fourth red-zone interception.