It wasn't the prettiest of efforts but the New York Jets found a way to get a victory on Opening Day, outlasting the equally mediocre Raiders 19-14 at the Meadowlands on Sunday.
The Good: The Jets defense was as stout as predicted. They suffocated the Raiders offense, holding them to only 25 yards rushing, and had rookie quarterback Derek Carr running for his life for much of the afternoon.
However, the one big concern for Gang Green: the offense. The Jets were flagged for 11 penalties, eight of them coming on the offensive side of the ball. Offensive guard Willie Colon was flagged three times by himself, which hurt a couple of Jet drives.
As for Geno Smith the stats say he completed 23 of 28 passes for 221 yards, but outside of a crisp opening drive that led to a Jet field goal, he didn't play all that well. Smith turned the ball over twice. He threw an interception into the hands of Charles Woodson that led to a Raiders touchdown, and he fumbled the football on a a scramble toward the end zone at the Raiders' five yard line killing a drive. Overall Smith fumbled the ball twice. He also took a hideous 19-yard sack in the fourth quarter with the Jets leading 13-7, giving the ball back to Oakland with plenty of time remaining.
If the Jets had been playing a better team, they would have lost this game going away.
Smith's erratic play makes one wonder how long he is going to be holding onto the starting job. Michael Vick saw action for a couple of gimmick wild cat plays, harkening back to the days of Tebow Time, and that was it. If Smith struggles the way he did against the Raiders, the calls for Michael Vick will become more pronounced and louder.
The Jets are entering a tough part of their schedule with good offensive ball clubs coming up in Green Bay, Detroit, Chicago, San Diego, Denver and New England. If the Jets have plans on winning most of those games they are going to have to get better play out of the quarterback position than what they got on Sunday afternoon.
While Smith may have dazzled and silenced the critics in the pre-season, those same critics will jump on him very quickly if the poor play continues.
This is a storyline that could be brewing in New York very quickly here.