“Three weeks in a row obviously, very similar games.” Said Rex Ryan, “It’s tough… you look back and I know there’s things that we can do better and I believe it. And the way it’s going to change is it’s going to take everybody in that room. We know it’s a united group, it’s a united team and we’ll fight this thing together and fight our way out.”
After the Lions deferred the opening kickoff the Jets offense went on a 14 play, 71-yard drive which led to a field goal. The drive was lead by the strong running of Chris Ivory. Ivory had nine carries for 51 yards on the drive.
The Jets struggles in the red zone continued when the drive stalled at the Lion’s nine-yard line and had to settle for three.
In what some may call questionable play-calling, Ivory, who averaged more than five yards per carry on the Jets opening drive, did not receive a carry for the next two series, which resulted in quick three-and-outs.
“Well again there is a lot of things that contribute to things (play-calling).” Said Ryan, “You don’t know if a back is winded, you’re trying to keep some guys fresh. One of the strengths we have is that we have three backs that we feel really good about and we want to play all three of them.”
Even with Ivory receiving carries, the Jets still were unable to gain a first down resulting in three more three-and-outs for a total of five in a row.
“We knew going in that we were facing the number one defense in the league.” Said Ryan. “That’s a pretty good defense over there. We knew if was going to be tough. We had a great opening drive, and then we had five straight three-and-outs. That burns your team. We have to do a better job of converting in those situations.”
While the Jets offense was struggling the Lions offense was moving the ball well.
Ross was able to beat both Antonio Allen and rookie safety Calvin Pryor for the touchdown. On the play, Allen apparently thought he had safety help but Pryor bit on Ross’s underneath move, leaving him wide open for the score.
“Well, I think he (Allen) had help but again I’m not going to get into the specifics of it but Calvin was not supposed to be deep on that play. I’ll just put it that way,” Ryan said.
Ryan acknowledged that the number one item on the agenda was to stop All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson. Johnson was limited to only two catches on two targets but he was hobbled all weak by an ankle injury and was clearly a decoy on the field.
By the time the Jets realized that Johnson was a decoy, the damage was already done. Lion’s receiver Golden Tate had an outstanding game with eight catches for 116 yards, an average of over 14 yards a catch. In a curious decision, Tate at times was covered by linebacker David Harris when he was lined up in the slot.
“Sometimes, you’ll have that in zone.” Ryan said, “When you’re trying to protect over the top those things happen. I don’t know who else you want to put underneath. He (Tate) beat two men. He beat loaded coverage’s. He beat a lot of different things. The game plan was to stop Calvin Johnson. That was the number one priority. We recognize Golden Tate is a good football player.”
The Jets where then able to pin the Lions at their own 10-yard-line after the kickoff but that is when things began to fall apart.
The Lions went on a 14 play, 90 yard drive that extended into the opening minutes of the final quarter to increased the lead to 24-10.
During the drive, the Jets failed to stop the Lions on third down a multitude of times and Ryan acknowledged that the drive was a “killer.”
“That was a killer.” Said Ryan, “Our offense went right down the field and scored a touchdown, and then to let them drive the length of the field and convert all of those third downs on us…yeah that, that’s something we pride ourselves in (getting off the field on third down). And making mistakes. That’s the killer.”
The Jet’s offense responded to the Lion’s 90 yard drive when running back Chris Johnson broke off a 35 yard run for a touchdown to bring the Jets within a touchdown.
“Basically it was an inside zone play. I just ran for it, broke a couple of tackles and made it to the end zone” said Johnson.
Johnson who has struggled at times during the season, said it felt good to break off a long run.
“It felt good.” Said Johnson. “I haven’t had a long touchdown run or even a touchdown this season. It just felt good to be able to get some momentum and hopefully keep the running game going.”
The Jets were able to stop the Lions on their next drive, potentially setting themselves up for a game tying score but the offense went three-and-out and the Lions were able to run out the clock.
With the Jets tough schedule Ryan knows that the Jets need to start winning and start winning now.
“We do need wins. There’s no question about it. I think we’ll get there” Ryan said.
THE PLAY OF GENO SMITH
It was another rough week for the Jets offense but specifically for second year quarterback Smith. Smith Struggled for much of the game, finishing 17-for-33 with 209 yards passing and a touchdown but was responsible for two turnovers. He threw an ill-advised interception and fumbled the ball after being sacked by former Jet James Ihedigbo.
On the interception, Smith got rocked by Lion’s defensive lineman Ezekiel Ansah and attempted to make the throw instead of taking the sack.
“I stepped up and had a good window.” Said Smith of the interception, “Greg (Salas) did a great job of finding the zone, the open hole in the zone, I had a good vision of him. I took a hit and the ball kind of sailed on me and the guys behind him got the interception.”
With the Jets unable to move the ball with any consistency, Smith was repeatedly booed and some at MetLife stadium began chanting, “we want Vick” as in backup quarterback Michael Vick.
Smith frustrated with his poor play and booing from the fans, hurled an expletive at a fan as he walked off the field. Smith did apologize after the game.
“I want to apologize if any kid saw me saying any negative remarks walking off the field.” Said Smith, “I kind of let my temper get the best of me in that situation. It is a part of my learning process, I have to get better with that. I have to let that stuff roll off my back but today I didn’t do well with that.”
Although Smith threw his league leading fifth interception and the Jets dropped their third game in a row, Ryan still has confidence in Smith as their starting quarterback.
“I believe in him. I know he’s a hard working guy.” Said Ryan, “I think he has the tools to be really good. In my opinion, its not a question of if its going to happen but a question of when he’ll be kind of guy. I think he’s a good quarterback. I think he has a chance to really be something one day.
News And Notes
Wide Receiver David Nelson and rookie safety Calvin Pryor both left the game with injuries. Nelson injured his left ankle and Pryor injured his left thigh.
After the game, Ryan was not sure about the extent of their injuries.
“I’m not sure.” Said Ryan, “I know both never returned. We’ll see how it is. I think it’s a thigh (on Pryor). I’m not sure what the extent of it is. I know he got hit on that thigh, so I wasn’t sure there. It was the ankle with Nelson. I’m not sure with either guy.”
The already banged up Jets secondary may face another major injury. According to ESPNNEWYork.com reporter Rich Cimini, starting cornerback Antonio Allen was walking gingerly in the Jet locker room after the game and had to have a golf cart assist him out of the stadium.