Truth be told, the Jets did a good job of protecting Ryan Fitzpatrick as Mathis was relegated to a situational pass rush role off the bench and didn't have a major impact. That headline was too good to pass up though.
The real issue here was that the Jets' run blocking was extremely inconsistent and they couldn't get anything going in the first half (13 carries for 21 yards). They stuck with it though and had more success as the game went on, which was encouraging.
Anchored by two impressive rookies (Henry Anderson and David Parry), the Colts were winning the battle up front throughout the first half. I was wondering whether Nick Mangold and James Carpenter might be still suffering the after effects of recent injuries because they did not look right before half time. In the second half, they finally started to get some good traction on some double team blocks and this started to open things up for the team.
Mangold wasn't controlling the point of attack as you'd usually expect him to and when he did win there, as on one play in the first quarter where he drove his man out of the middle, failures elsewhere still rendered the play unsuccessful. He did show great hustle on a screen block where he basically took two guys down with a cut block, but Bilal Powell was tackled from behind before he could exploit the room created.
Carpenter struggled to sustain his blocks in the first half as he allowed his man to get off for a hit and a tackle in the backfield in the first half. After making a couple of good double team blocks, Carpenter had a textbook block at the line, driving his man to the inside to create a huge lane (something I've been referring to as the "Carpal Tunnel") as the Jets finally broke a long run down the stretch.
D'Brickashaw Ferguson had his hands full with Mathis on one play, doing well to repel his spin move, but still getting driven back into Fitzpatrick. After getting beaten on two run stuffs in the first half, he was better in the second half, with one good kick-out block and an excellent driving block at the second level on one of the longer runs of the day. In pass protection, he was troubled by some edge rushes that forced him back or to redirect upfield, but stayed on the block well enough to enable Ryan Fitzpatrick to get the throw off or step up each time and was never cleanly beaten.
Willie Colon was another player who really struggled in the first three quarters, allowing too much penetration, giving up a pressure on a stunt and struggling to get out to the second level on a couple of plays. He did make one good interior kickout block in the first half, but that was on a third and short play that was stuffed anyway because Ferguson's man got inside leverage on him and Mangold's man stood him up to bottle up an otherwise well-blocked play. Colon was another player to get better as the game endured, making an effective pulling block and a good downhill seal in the fourth quarter
Breno Giacomini had a poor game on the right side. In pass protection, he was beaten inside by Mathis for a pressure and late coming off a double team block to pick up a rusher that hit Fitzpatrick off the edge. He wasn't much better in the running game, getting beaten inside on a run stuff, whiffing badly on a second level block and letting a free runner run right past him to stuff a run as he double teamed with the tight end on the outside. Giacomini also had a dumb personal foul at the end of a play but did have a couple of good kick out blocks and one edge setting block in the second half.
It was encouraging to see the Jets have more success in the second half and hopefully that will carry over into next week, where the Jets will face off against the Eagles, who do a lot of two-gapping. Fletcher Cox has been playing well, so he'll present a challenge for them, as will Beau Allen who absolutely dominated the Jets backups in preseason and has started to make an impact in a rotation role.
Next up...Ivory and Powell did their best to overcome the poor blocking up front...