For forty five minutes on Sunday the New York Jets (6-8) went toe to toe with the heavily favored Carolina Panthers (10-4). Unfortunately for Gang Green the final 15 minutes proved to be the difference in the Jets 30-20 loss to the Panthers.
Offensive line struggles- As expected the Jets offense struggled against one of the best defenses in the National Football League. The line play was inconsistent leaving Geno Smith and the backs running for their lives at times. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg did a nice job of trying to help the line by using a variety of run formations and by moving Geno around the pocket.
Up and down day for Geno- Rookie quarterback Geno Smith had a decent day on Sunday as he took what the defense gave him and effectively used his legs to make plays. Unfortunately for Smith the play he will be remembered for most is his crucial pick six with the game on the line.
Where are the playmakers? With the Jets offense struggling it is difficult to understand how guys like Jeremy Kerley, Kellen Winslow, and Santonio Holmes are not featured more. Is it that Mornhinweg has no confidence in his quarterback? Or are these guys just not working hard enough to get open?
Kept the team in the game- Take away a 72-yard screen pass for a touchdown and the Jets defense basically shut down the Carolina Panthers. There were some issues with missed tackles and blown assignments but the unit buckled down in the red zone.
Coples bringing it- Linebacker Quinton Coples continues to emerge as he was all over the Panthers backfield on Sunday. Coples is doing an excellent job of pressuring the quarterback and turning plays back into the heart of the Jets defense.
Pace sets a career high- Veteran linebacker Calvin Pace notched his 9th sack on Sunday which is a career high. Pace has quietly had an excellent season for the New York Jets.
Blocked punt fiasco- With the game, and the Jets playoff hopes on the line, the special teams unit melted as they gave up a huge blocked punt in the fourth quarter. The mistake resulted in a touchdown and completely took the life out of the New York Jets.
Tough loss for Rex and Co.
The New York Jets competed hard on Sunday and had a legitimate chance to steal a victory on Sunday. Three plays cost the Jets: the screen pass for a td, the blocked punt, and the pick six.
With the Jets all but eliminated from the post season the questions are starting to build for Rex Ryan and his team. Will Gang Green continue to play hard for Rex? Can Geno finish the season strong? Should Matt Simms see playing time? Is Rex coaching for his job the next 2 games? Are these the last two games for both Antonio Cromartie and Santonio Holmes?
It is going to be an interesting two weeks to say the least.