The New York Jets lost their first game of the season in vintage Jets fashion Sunday–here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly from the loss.
Brandon Marshall‘s 10 catches and second straight one hundred-yard performance
By Jeff Jarboe
Coming off of his Week 2 matchup with Vontae Davis, in which he finished with seven catches for 101 yards and a touchdown, Brandon Marshall torched the Eagles’ Byron Maxwell for 109 yards and a touchdown on 10 catches.
With Eric Decker and Chris Owusu both sidelined, Ryan Fitzpatrick was looking Marshall’s way all day long and for the most part the five-time pro bowler did not disappoint. Had it not been for his attempted pitch–which the wideout personally dubbed, “the worst play in the NFL history” – and a dropped pass that led to an interception, Marshall would have been the hero of this game. He continues to look like the Brandon Marshall of old, physically dominating opposing defenders and making a play every time he gets the ball. This week he just tried to make too much happen at the wrong time.
Period. After playing the majority of his rookie season at free safety, Pryor has made the switch back to strong safety in 2015 and is just now proving why the team drafted him in the first round. Pryor was all over the place on Sunday, though many fans might not have noticed due to the team’s frustrating mistakes on offense.
He only finished with six tackles on the day, but two of those came on back-to-back plays in the run game that led to a crucial three and out.
Through three games the former Louisville Cardinal now has 21 tackles, one forced fumble, one pass deflection and one interception. He doesn’t look confused or out of place anymore. He looks like a pro bowl safety, firing downhill and off the edge in the passing game while also being able to find the ball in the running game and assist on every tackle. His ability to not only be near the ball at all times, but to make a play on the ball when he is in a position to do so is going to be huge for this defense moving forward.
Lack of a running game without Chris Ivory
Nobody expected Bilal Powell and Zac Stacy to combine for 200 yards on the ground, but I certainly expected more out of Chris Ivory’s back-ups. Powell looked explosive in the preseason and in the season opener against Cleveland, but in the last two games he’s struggled averaging 3.1 YPC. Ivory should be back in action next week against Miami, but he has a history of getting banged up with these little injuries because of his downhill running style.
The Jets need to be prepared when Ivory goes down like this, meaning they need to be able to get much more than three yards per carry from Bilal Powell and Zac Stacy. Stevan Ridley will return at the halfway point, but that’s a long way away. In a division filled with run-stopping defenses, Powell needs to be able to take on that number one role if and when Ivory goes down again.
Brandon Marshall’s attempted pitch
I don’t know if I would call it the worst play in NFL history, but it was pretty bad. Not only was there a defender closing in on Cumberland, but he didn’t even seem ready for the pitch. It might have bounced off of his head had it not hit Connor Barwin first.
Also, WHY IS HE TRYING TO PITCH IT AFTER A 15-YARD CATCH IN THE SECOND QUARTER? There was no need for the pitch–the offense was moving the ball, and he was having his way with Byron Maxwell. You’ve got to respect his playmaking mentality, but this was the wrong time to try and make a big play happen.
Ryan Fitzpatrick’s downfield passing
When the New York Jets defense is playing at it’s best and Ryan Fitzpatrick has good field position, he’s able to command the offense and capitalize off of turnovers – we saw this against Cleveland and Indianapolis. However, when the defense isn’t forcing turnovers and this offense is forced to play from behind, Fitzpatrick struggles. This was painfully clear against Philly as the veteran quarterback continued to force the ball into double coverage downfield, finishing with three interceptions on the day.
I’m not saying Todd Bowles should hand the keys to Geno Smith just yet–Fitzpatrick has been very good up to this point, and has a clear command of the huddle–but if the veteran continues to struggle throwing the ball downfield and the team loses games as a result he has to consider making a change. Obviously this is just one game, but Fitz made some very questionable throws down the field–throws that veteran quarterbacks simply cannot be making. He has command of the huddle, he knows the offense, and he has built chemistry with Marshall on the outside, but this game proved that Fitzpatrick still has areas of his game that need improvement. Hopefully he can bounce back when the team faces off against Miami in London next week.
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