There are no more excuses when it comes to the New York Jets. Monday night's performance, no matter how you slice it, was pitiful. The Jets found a way to set football back a few years by putting together one of the most vanilla game plans known to man by running the football an astounding 49 times and only throwing the ball a total of 13. How Rex Ryan expected to win with that strategy tells you all you need to know about his future as a head coach with the Jets.
And the joke of it is, they almost got away with it.
In the modern day NFL you cannot win ball games by not passing the football. The game is too wide open, too fast, and too big for teams to channel the 1940s NFL with power sweeps, draw plays and the such. Yet, don't tell that to the Jets who proved on Monday that they have no faith in Geno Smith at all. So much so, the quarterback threw only eight passes before desperation time with 1:55 to go in the game.
Rex Ryan entered the week telling people he wanted to give Smith a chance to prove he can be that so-called "franchise quarterback" that has eluded the Jets. Result: Ryan further proved he has no clue when it comes to handling quarterbacks and that he probably would have preferred Michael Vick starting this game rather than Smith.
The Jets played scared on Monday. They grabbed a shocking 10-0 lead by pounding a soft Miami defense with their running game, as Greg Salas scored on a 20-yard end around that shocked even Salas as he left the game with a tight hamstring. Yet at this point, up by ten, the Jets didn't even dare the Dolphins defense, staying in a proverbial shell for the rest of the day hoping that the big bad Dolphins would just go away.
Yet, the same mistakes that plagued this undisciplined team came back to bite them once more. First the Jets failed to move the football to within reasonable field goal range for their kicker, Nick Folk, and the usually reliable kicker missed a 45-yard field goal that would have given Gang Green a 13-0 lead. Instead Miami took the change in momentum, and great field position, and got a field goal of their own to cut the deficit to 10-3 at the half.
In a lot of ways it was a night of coulda, shoulda for Gang Green. While the Jets offense was anemic, the defense failed to come up with the big play. Calvin Pace will forever see that highlight of him dropping what would have been an easy pick-6, as the pass from Ryan Tannehill bounced in and out of his hands. That was one of many bullets the Dolphins dodged as they did a horrible job of playing down to the Jets level the entire night.
Later on it was Special Teams that doomed the Jets again when Folk missed what should have been a bankable field goal that would have given the Jets a 16-6 lead, but to be fair, if the Jets even tried once to attempt a throw into the end zone maybe they aren't asking Nick Folk to be the hero on Monday night.
It's ironic that Rex Ryan called the Jets ultra conservative game plan a good one, because it wasn't good enough. While the Jets did run for 277 yards of offense they should have been more creative. The Dolphins were stacking the box with eight men, opening up lanes for the Jets receivers in single coverage, but the Jets never once dared to throw it. There were third downs to be made with slants, laterals, play-action, anything that would have stretched the field, but the Jets kept it close to the vest. It was as if the Jets coaches mailed in their pink slips before kick-off.
What's worse was the poor display of clock management at the tail end of the game. New York had two time out and didn't once use them, and showed no urgency as the seconds ticked off the clock. Case in point, on first and ten, Geno Smith ran for only one yard and the Jets actually took their time before snapping the next play. Moments later after Smith connected with Eric Decker for a first down at the Miami 44 with 1:01 to go, the Jets let 22 seconds tick of the clock and never once called a time out. Result: Smith hurried a throw down the middle and it was picked off; a fitting end to a horrible ball game.
Rex Ryan and company can't leave town soon enough.