If the Jets season wasn't already on the brink after last week's 22-17 loss to Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills, it is surely on life-support now. The Jets played listless football for 60 minutes on Sunday in Houston. They looked like a team unmotivated and unprepared to take on a Texans team that sees an AFC South title in its sights.
If anyone should be blamed for Texans 24, Jets 17, it should rest at the feet of Head Coach Todd Bowles, who started an already injured quarterback and banged-up center, and whose defense was totaly overmatched for Sunday's smackdown. Bowles has wiggle room to figure things out in his first year as a head coach, but the Jets fall from grace after a 4-1 start is so discouraging that the bloom is clearly off the rose.
Right from the get-go the Jets looked overmatched against a Texans team that was starting its third quarterback this year in T.J. Yates, who wasn't even on the roster as recently as three weeks ago. In the opening quarter alone, the Texans held the football for nearly 11 minutes before settling for a field goal. The Jets, well, they were invisible in their response.
Yates had an incredible afternoon against a Jets defense that had no answer for him. Yates threw for 229 yards and two touchdowns, and enjoyed playing pitch-and-catch with receiver DeAndre Hopkins who schooled Revis Island in a bad way. With the game tied midway through the second quarter, Yates hit Hopkins, who beat Revis down the middle of the field for a 61-yard touchdown completion to put the Texans up 10-3.
After the Jets miraculously tied the game at ten, the Texans answered quickly on their next possession. Yates hit Cecil Shorts III for 35-yards to move the ball to the Jets 32-yard line. Three plays later, Yates lateraled the ball back to Shorts who then completed the half-back option play with a touchdown pass to a wide open Alfred Blue, who was standing all alone in the end zone.
Offensively the Jets played some pretty stupid football. Not only was the play-calling and decision making from the coaching staff awful, but the execution stunk. First Brandon Marshall and Devin Smith had, what is their weekly killer dropped pass in a crucial spot for the Jets. Smith had a couple of big drops on Sunday, including being the intended receiver on Ryan Fitzpatrick's final interception of the night.
Smith got grilled by Todd Bowles in the postgame news conference, stating that the rookie needs to pick up the slack.
In addition, the Jets were totally inept in the production department on offense. Five of their first six possessions ended in punts. The only successful possession they had early in the game resulted in a long field goal by Randy Bullock. Part of the problem was the fact that Chris Ivory was once again silenced, as he was held to just 36-yards on eight carries. Ivory is either injured or has hit a wall. The Jets have put a lot on his plate, and finally he is getting exposed as the third down back he once was in New Orleans.
And then there is Ryan Fitzpatrick! Fitzpatrick was totally inaccurate on Sunday, perhaps that sore thumb played a bigger role than any would like to let on. However, a sore thumb doesn't substitute for some poor decisions by the quarterback. He nearly got decked on one slide early in the game. In the fourth quarter, he dove head-first into the end zone for a touchdown and was smacked twice in the head in the process. Fitzpatrick looked woozy upon getting up. Some said it was a gutsy play by Fitzpatrick; truth is it was plain stupid. A quarterback he should know better than to put his season on the line like that.
It should be no coincidence that Fitzpatrick was picked off twice on the Jets final two possession after he was hit in the head. Don't be shocked if we hear about concussion and Ryan Fitzpatrick in the coming days.
The Jets not only have Fitzpatrick's health to worry about, but they lost Nick Mangold, again, this time with a laceration on his snapping hand and had to have stitches. He didn't return to action, and will have an MRI on Monday. This is second severe injury the All Pro center has had this year. Three weeks ago he suffered a neck injury against the Raiders that cost him a game. In addition, the Jets lost Darrelle Revis in the third quarter after sustaining a concussion, and didn't return. Regis was having the worst game of his Jets career before the injury.
The Jets (5-5) now have lost tie breakers to the Bills, Raiders and Texans. All three teams are in the mix for potential wild card spots in the AFC playoffs when we get to late December. The numbers are starting to work against the Jets, and it is time for Todd Bowles to begin handling this crisis better than he has already.