Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Debacle in Arizona leaves Jets at Crossroads

CARDINALS 28 / JETS 3

It has been well established for weeks now that the Jets chances of making the playoffs was slim to none. Now after a listless performance in a 28-3 meltdown in the desert, it is becoming abundantly clear that perhaps this 2016 New York Jets team has given up on the season.

At least that is how it looked on Monday night in front of a national TV audience.

There was no fight, no passion, no real discernible effort by the Jets on Monday night, and that falls at the feet of head coach Todd Bowles. They got blown off the football by the Cardinals on both sides of the ball, and failed to adjust to the flow of the game. In other words it looked like the Jets chalked up the L as soon as the got off the plane.

They were outgunned 396 - 230. They had only 11 first downs in 10 drives and were a measly 2-for-13 on third down. Not to mention the ridiculous amount of penalties (10) that the Jets amassed over 60 minutes of painful football.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals did whatever they wanted. Run at the Jets from middle of the field? Why not. Run toward the sidelines? Why not. Throw deep into coverage? No problem. Arizona running back David Johnson tore the Jets apart. He ran for 111 yards on 22 carries, but it felt like a lot more. The Cardinals offensive line pushed the Jets front seven around as if it the Jets were a Division I-AA school (no offense to an I-AA college football teams out there).

On the first play of Arizona's second drive of the night, Johnson glided through the line of scrimmage and dashed untouched down the sideline for a 58-yard touchdown to make it 7-0. He was never touched. There was no holding, why would there be when there wasn't a Jet even close enough for a Cardinal offensive lineman to hold. It was an embarrassment.

Johnson would score twice more, with each one completing a lengthy scoring drive for the Cardinal offense. In each instance, Johnson when untouched as the Cardinal offensive line pushed away the Jets like the parting of the Red Sea.

And then there was the quarterback. Ryan Fitzpatrick was absolutely atrocious on Monday against the Cardinals, as he reckless and listless until Bowles finally pulled the plug on him in the fourth quarter when the game was out of hand. Somehow, he completed 16 passes in 31 attempts, but for much of the night he was overthrowing and under throwing his intended targets, and missing badly. The Cardinals never sacked him, because they didn't need to. Fitzpatrick was doing enough to hurt the Jets by failing to move the team in any positive direction.

The only time Fitzpatrick had the Jets moving on a 12-play 61 yard drive in the third quarter, he threw a costly, drive killing interception in the end zone on third and seven from the Arizona 14-yard line.

The fact that Fitzpatrick was still in the game in the third quarter was a joke in itself. He should have been lifted for Geno Smith sooner, not because Smith would have given the Jets a chance, far from it. It would have sent a message that the $12 million man is not getting it done and the Jets have to go elsewhere.

When asked about Fitzpatrick's job status after the game, Bowles gave his quarterback the dreaded vote of confidence, comparing his decision to lifting a starting pitcher in baseball. Fitzpatrick is still expected to start on Sunday against Baltimore. But let's be honest the leach is going to be short on him. If Fitzpatrick were to struggle against the Ravens, then the Jets have no choice but to let Smith or even Bryce Petty play.

Fitzpatrick has done nothing to deserve to remain the starter, his 11 interceptions to just five touchdowns and a 30 QBR proves that. The fact that this team has scored only two touchdowns in its last four games, and has scored exactly three points in two of those losses says everything you need to know about the quarterback and this offense.

Removing Fitz now would signal that the season is indeed lost, but lets' be honest with the way this team is playing (not just at the quarterback position) this season is a lost cause anyway. At some point soon the Jets have to take stock and see what they have moving forward on this roster.

Word is that Woody Johnson is not pleased at all and getting impatient. With the teams poor play, and Bowles lack of innovation during pre-game and in-game decision making, his seat is only going to get warmer after last night's loss. Already fans and media are calling for Bowles head. His quiet demeanor and Mangini-esq personality is doing him no favors. And if the Jets continue to put forth efforts like last night, he won't be the HC of the NYJ and Ryan Fitzpatrick won't be the QB of the NYJ too much longer.

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