The Jets offense and coaching staff decided to treat yesterday’s game like the last day of work before Thanksgiving. You know how that day goes, where everyone shows up to work but with their minds on vacation and no work actual gets done. That was the offense and the coaching staff yesterday, the defense came to work while everyone else was daydreaming about shoveling turkey, stuffing and sweet potatoes down their gullets.
Now instead of heading into the bye week at 5-5, and people talking themselves into a possible playoff run and Todd Bowles winning Coach of the Year honors, we arrive, once again, at the harsh reality that this Jets team still isn’t actually good. The have some really good, young pieces to build around and they are better than we all expected but they still aren’t actually good. The funny thing is, this has been the case all season long. While the feelings about – and the expectations for – the Jets seem to change drastically week-to-week the team hasn’t changed much.
This is a team that can trounce the Miami Dolphins one week, then give up a 14-point lead to the Dolphins with Matt Moore as their quarterback a couple of weeks later. It’s the same team that can dominate the Bills then lose to Ryan Fitzpatrick the next week. Just because the Jets aren’t as bad as we all thought they would be doesn’t mean that they were actually any good and who knows how many times they will have to do this dance before fans start to realize it.
The defense showed up yesterday, but even that is tough to give them credit for because the Bucs offense weren’t any good either. Fitzpatrick didn’t light them up, he looked every bit as Fitzpatrick as you’d expect, but the Jets offense was beyond anemic and they couldn’t even muster up enough points to outscore a bad Fitzpatrick performance.
There’s been a lot of talk about just how good Josh McCown has been this year, but again just because he’s been better than we expected doesn’t mean he’s actually been good. Sure you can point to his completion percentage of over 70 percent, but make sure you point out how many times he held on to the ball too long to take a sack. After all, you can’t throw an incompletion if you just take a sack (cue the gif of the guy pointing at his temple). Same goes for his great completion percentage on third-downs, over 70 percent completion rate sounds great! But how many of those completions fall short of the first down marker? Hint: they aren’t successfully converting anything near 70 percent of their third-downs.
Now this isn’t to say it’s all on McCown because it definitely isn’t. The offensive line was an absolute sieve, giving up six sacks on the day to a defense that only had eight sacks on the season coming into the game, Jermaine Kearse has two inexplicable drops and they only ran for 56 yards on 19 carries (2.9 yards per carry) against a middle of the pack run defense. Offensive coordinator John Morton has done a lot of good and creative work this season, but yesterday’s game plan was anything but good or creative.
The defense didn’t dominate, they weren’t overwhelming and against a Bucs offense without Mike Evans and starting Fitzpatrick you could argue the defense should have been at least less underwhelming, but they did enough to keep the offense in the game. After spending most of the game on the field the defense finally gave out and gave up a touchdown in the fourth quarter, but this game was lost because of the offense. The offense that turned it over twice and couldn’t get anything going against a middling, at best, Tampa defense and that’s on Todd Bowles and John Morton as much as it’s on the players.
Chris Nimbley is the editor-in-chief of JetsInsider.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)