Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter
While much of the attention from the Jets' loss to the Patriots will be focused on the controversial overturned touchdown in the fourth quarter, the Jets only have themselves to blame for giving up 24 unanswered points and letting New England back into the game.
Nevertheless, they gave a good account of themselves and, despite some glaring weaknesses, continued to prove that they're a more talented group than most people gave them credit for before the season.
When the Jets signed Josh McCown, few expected many 350-yard performances from him. However, that's what we saw Sunday as McCown spread the ball around well and made some good downfield throws in a solid display. He also ran for two first downs.
It wasn't a perfect performance from McCown, though. He threw two interceptions, missed a couple of open receivers, and took a few sacks when he perhaps didn't need to. He was under pressure quite a lot, though, and did a good job to extend a few plays, even though that's not really his game these days.
Once again, McCown wasn't getting much help from the running game, but the Jets converted nine third downs, and he had four completions of 30 yards or more.
The Jets averaged just over three yards per carry, but only by virtue of the scramble yardage bolstering the total. On carries by running backs, they gained just 47 yards on 20 carries.
Matt Forté made his return with Bilal Powell out, but other than one tough seven-yard run, did most of his damage in the passing game. Forté's eight catches netted 59 yards, giving him 81 yards from scrimmage overall. One of his three first-down catches came as he ran a slant pattern from out wide. However, he was stuffed in short yardage a few times and got tackled in the open field on two red zone dump-offs that forced the Jets to settle for a late field goal. He also gave up a pressure in pass protection.
Rookie Elijah McGuire gained just five yards on his first seven carries, including three in a row where he was stopped for a loss. However, he broke a tackle at the second level to run for 12 and a first down on his best play of the day. He also had two short yardage conversions but wasn't targeted in the passing game.
Travaris Cadet saw some action this week, receiving his first four touches of the season for 29 yards. That included a first down catch where he lined up out wide and ran an in-route. Lawrence Thomas got some reps at fullback again and caught a short pass, but his blocking was ineffective this week.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins had eight catches and a score but this game will be most remembered for the touchdown that was taken away from him by the replay booth. Again, he was mostly used as an underneath possession option, but had a couple of first downs to go along with his touchdown.
Jeremy Kerley had two huge plays, bringing down a jump ball to set up the first touchdown and then getting behind the defense to score the other. That gave him 19 receptions on 19 targets for the season, but the streak was broken on the last play of the game. Kerley was the nearest receiver on McCown's desperation fourth down incompletion, so that counts as an unsuccessful target to him. However, when he's deliberately targeted, he's been money.
Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse both put up good numbers, combining for 155 yards between them on four catches each. Kearse also had a fifth catch negated by a penalty. Each of them had three first down catches, although Anderson was actually targeted 12 times in total and perhaps could have run a better route on the pass that was intercepted by Malcolm Butler.
Eric Tomlinson has done a good job of blocking this season, but he had some struggles in the running game Sunday, especially in the first half. The Jets had just two active tight ends, with rookie Jordan Leggett a healthy scratch.
Fellow rookies ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen saw some playing time this week, with Stewart getting a couple of touches, including a jet sweep run that he picked up a first down on. Hansen wasn't targeted and let his man get off his block to make the tackle on an early play.
Once again, the running game struggles could be attributed to the offensive line. They seemed to simplify things, running mostly inside zone plays, but it didn't really help matters.
Brian Winters and James Carpenter were both disappointing in this regard, allowing too much penetration and letting their man get off their block. Winters in particular was stood up badly on a couple of short yardage runs and is struggling to justify his big offseason contract so far. Each got beaten a couple of times in pass protection too.
Youngster Brandon Shell continues to struggle in pass-protection, as he was at fault on three of the four Patriots sacks and gave up a few other pressures. He was slow to react a couple of times and tends to lack the footspeed and balance to recover when that happens. Maybe the Jets should consider benching or rotating him.
Kelvin Beachum was the most consistent lineman, although he got turned around in pass-protection one time and driven back into the quarterback's lap on another play. After a rough game in pass protection last week, center Wesley Johnson held up better, but still got beaten a few times and had some mistakes in the running game.
Finally, Brent Qvale once again featured in jumbo packages, but didn't make any significant impact.