The Jets went down to Baltimore on Wednesday afternoon as clear under dogs, not only because of the incredible amount of injuries they have but the vast difference between theirs and the Ravens roster. If the Jets were at full tilt this game would have been a tough match up for them to win, closer? Yeah, maybe – but this Ravens team is operating at a level I certainly have never seen before.
I had a feeling this Thursday night match up was going to go along this line, I did however think the score and our overall performance would be considerably worse. The first half of the game it seemed to take the defense some time to get settled in, the hype around Lamar Jackson and this offense was real – giving up 21 points before halftime. But their defensive stands at the end of the first half left me with some confidence for that side of the ball heading into the half. In the second half the Jets D came out with the same energy they end the first half with, forcing the Ravens three and out on multiple occasions. But since the Jets offense was sputtering at this point the D was forced back onto the field one too many times as the Ravens began to hit their second half stride putting up 14 points in the third quarter and 7 in the fourth. Considering the injuries and lack of depth/talent the Jets defense played a hard game from start to finish, even though this was their worst outing of the season. A player that continues to stand out to me is linebacker James Burgess, he had an awesome fill and finish on a third and short while again getting his hands on an almost interception on another third down which forced the Ravens to punt. I would love to see Burgess back next year to back up Avery and CJ while also contributing on special teams.
As for the offense they played considerably better than I thought they would, typically in games against teams like this on the road things begin to implode rather quickly. They moved the ball well throughout the entire first half other than a punt of two (I don’t remember how many exactly.) Sam Darnold started off looking real solid, poised and extending/making plays for this offense – literally doing the best he could to put each ball in a perfect position for his receivers. The offense did miss some opportunities, they missed a FG on their first or second drive, Robby Anderson could not come down with a contested ball on a 4th down and Jeff Smith Jr (fresh off the PS) stopped running on an out and up route that could have been a huge gain to put the Jets in prime position to score again. And finally on the same drive as the Jeff Smith hiccup, Sam Darnold makes an errant throw leading to an interception before the half – that was a big blow. At that point in the game considering how both sides of the ball seemed to settle in at that point you need to come away with points before the half whether the score is 21-14 or 21-10, either way he needs to be smarter with the ball there. In the second half the Jets sputtered for most of the third quarter before they found themselves again heading into the fourth, the consistent pressure on Sam was forcing rushed throws which lead to incompletions which ultimately resulted in too many quick three and out drives. It has been a frustrating season for me, I cant even imagine how frustrated Sam is working behind an offensive line that allows pressure on simple stunts within two seconds of the ball being snapped. Sam finished the day 18-32 for 218 yards with 2 TD’s and 1 INT – he also had a fumble after the Jets decided to leave Trevon Wesco on a defensive end in a 3rd and long situation (yeah that never works…). Moving forward I would love to see Sam finish this year strong against two stronger defenses in Pittsburgh and Buffalo, hopefully leading to some confidence to carry into the offseason.
The special teams was fantastic at every level other than Sam Ficken, who I simply can not watch any longer – he is so inconsistent it’s alarming. Ty Montgomery and Vyncent Smith consistently brought the ball out to the 25 yard line or more – time and time again, the Jets had relatively good field position for most of this game. Braxton Berrios also did an awesome job in the punt return game with one or two returns standing out because of a decent gain/switch in field position, much of the fan base was upset that Douglas moved on from training camp favorite, Greg Dortch, but Berrios has done a fantastic job and will most likely be our punt returner moving forward into 2020. Finally, the Jets punt return group blocked a punt for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter thanks to Terrell Basham and BJ Bello (who has been an ST contributor since joining the Jets like a month ago) for their first of two scores in the fourth. I have to say special teams coach Brant Boyer has continued to do an outstanding job with this unit after really impressing last year.
The banged up and depleted Jets have two more games before they close the book on this disappointing and very interesting 2019 season. I know most wont because this fan base is ridiculous but I will be rooting for this team to finish strong against the Steelers and Bills, carrying some momentum into the offseason and the 2020 season.