'twas a SOJ type of game in Buffalo
How low can you go, Geno?
Geno Smith not only delivered the worst performance of his young career, but also the worst of any quarterback this entire season. He looked skittish in the pocket, indecisive, and inaccurate when the ball did come out of his hands. This was not the player who out-dueled Tom Brady in Week 7, led the Jets on a game-winning drive against the Falcons, and dissected the Bills secondary back in Week 3. This was, however, the same guy who looked abysmal on the road in Tennessee and Cincinnati. If he doesn't become more consistent quickly, the Jets will be hard-pressed to not give Matt Simms a shot and/or draft a QB in 2014.
If a finger is to be pointed anybody but Geno Smith for what transpired yesterday, it's the entire offensive line. A common trait of elite quarterbacks is that they're able to adjust to poor pass protection. They get the ball out of their hands quickly, make adjustments at the line, and know when to just step up in the pocket and take a sack in order to minimize the damage. The exact opposite can be said for a rookie quarterback such as Geno Smith. Under heavy duress from start to finish, Geno Smith unravelled. An early turning point may have been a hit he suffered on the very first drive. Austin Howard, the right tackle let Marcell Dareus blow right by him and get a clean shot on Smith, who was so battered after that blow to his ribs he had to go to the sideline. It was all downhill from there. If a rookie like Geno is going to have any success for the rest of this season, his pass protection must improve.
Down on the corners
Antonio Cromartie and Dee Milliner each gave up big touchdowns over the top against Marquise Goodwin and T.J. Graham, respectively. Rex Ryan's defense puts a lot of emphasis on the corners being able to challenge receivers in man coverage, and yesterday Cro and Milliner were not up to the task. Milliner was in position to make a play on Manuel's 50-yard heave to Graham, yet inexplicably overran the ball while it was in mid-air. Cromartie was just straight-up burned, for lack of better words. If these two can't hold up their end of the bargain, especially against two inexperienced receivers such as Goodwin and Graham, the Jets defense, currently ranked 8th overall, is in trouble.
A game of inches
The game was scoreless when Nick Folk lined up to kick a 40-yard field goal. He had been perfect on the season up until this point. As soon as the ball took to the air, the winds in Ralph Wilson Stadium, which reached 60 MPH yesterday took hold and rejected the Jets' bid for 3 points.
Later, the Bills' Dan Carpenter lined up for a field goal facing in the same direction. The winds let this one pass through for 3 points.
Two drives later, the Jets had the Bills at 4th and 6, ready to punt the ball away. Leger Douzable jumped offsides, prompting Marrone to go for it on 4th and 1. The Bills converted the 4th down, then through it in the endzone for 7.
As all football games seem to do, the contest turned on a couple of seemingly innocuous plays early on. If this young team is going to have any sustained success in the coming years, it must mature to the point where it's able to not let the stumbles snowball into meltdowns.
Well, on the bright side for Jets Nation, it's their turn to win again next week. The Jets are now the first team in NFL history to alternate wins and losses over the first 10 weeks of the season. Further, if the playoffs were to begin today, they would still slip in via in the 6th seed. On their heels are Baltimore, who they will play next week, and Miami, who they will play twice over the final 6 weeks. This should be both thrilling and painful for the Jet faithful.