By Vincent Fodera @Fodera80
It panned out just about how every Jets fan feared it would, the recently soaring New York Jets handed the winless Cincinnati Bengals their first victory of the season, and Head coach Zac Taylor’s first of his career. The short summary of this game is that the Jets came out flat in all phases of the game and never picked it up, while the Bengals came out energized and looking to compete. Simply by the energy, one could tell that this one was over in the first half. You can say all you like about how good this Jets football team looked coming into this game, but Adam Gase has now allowed his team to look utterly non-competitive in losses to the rookie head coaches of the 0-7 Miami Dolphins and 0-11 Cincinnati Bengals. Any way you slice it, that’s unacceptable, even if expected from the fans that follow this team the closest.
Looking back at Saturday’s Week 13 Preview, I mentioned the possibility of this being a trap game for the Jets. Cincinnati would have an opportunity to pick the Jets defensive backfield apart with quick short throws, and that’s exactly what they did. Dalton averaged approximately 11 yards per completion on Sunday, while Cincinnati's top two WRs, Tyler Boyd and Auden Tate both averaged under 15 yards in the air per target, according to Next Gen Stats. 118 of Dalton’s 243 passing yards came after the catch was made. The Jets were without starting CBs, Brian Poole and Arthur Maulet for the majority of the game, both missing time with mid game injuries, leaving them to rely on journeyman Maurice Canady for much of the contest. Cincinnati's quick pass gameplan led the the Jets to devote more resources to coverage, limiting them tomostly 4-man rushes, giving Dalton a clean pocket for essentially the entire game. This adjustment also led to clearer running lanes for Joe Mixon who had a stronger game than his box score indicated.
On the other side of the ball, New York’s offensive line can take much of the blame, which has been a common theme in just about every loss this year. With rookie tackle Chuma Edoga out, Brandon Shell started at Right Tackle, allowing Carlos Dunlap to beat him for 3 sacks. G Tom Compton had a rough day as well with multiple penalties and struggled to make any kind of push versus Geno Atkins and company, along with his fellow linemates. LT Kelvin Beachum commited a critical holding penalty in the endzone for a Safety, during one of the last drives the Jets had the potential to start rallying back. Sam Darnold, when he wasn’t sprawled out on the turf, looked okay for most of the game. His feet are still a mess, as per usual, but he was generally accurate, despite being under constant pressure. Darnold’s receivers however, let him down in a big way with 5 drops on the day, despite only having 6 total drops all year. Perhaps the biggest let down was Adam Gase’ inability to get LeVeon Bell more involved. Despite his workload increasing the past 3 weeks correlating to improved success, Bell seemed to be an afterthought in his game plan this week.
This game was a classic letdown that has Jets fans across the tri-state area muttering “Same Old Jets” once again. With interim owner Christopher Johnson already confirming Gase’ 2020 return, fans shouldn’t hold out much hope that this game serves as a sticking point in letting go of the coach. Instead, the Jets turn their sights to home matchup with the Dolphins in a battle that could have huge draft day implications.