The Jets Go From Bad to Awful

Something's rotten in the state of Ryan

By Josh Alper
|  Monday, Oct 3, 2011  |  Updated 11:24 AM CDT
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It wasn't a pretty sight in Baltimore.

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Just about everything you need to know about how bad the Jets were in Baltimore on Sunday night can be gleaned from one fact.

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco did not complete any passes after the first quarter until there were fewer than 12 minutes to play in the fourth quarter, and the Jets still lost by 17 points. Yes, Virginia, there are serious problems with Rex Ryan's Jets after the 34-17 loss to the Ravens.

Figuring out where to start isn't much of a problem. You have to go right to the top and point the finger at Ryan and his coaching staff.

For the second straight week, the Jets looked totally unprepared for what their opposition would do and totally bewildered once the game got underway. Give the Ravens credit for coming up with a good plan on both sides of the ball, but you also have to ask just what it is that Ryan did this week in practice other than blow a lot of hot air about how the team was going to be better than they were in Oakland.

They weren't. They were worse.

The offensive line could not block anybody in the first half, leading to two strip sacks of Mark Sanchez that turned into touchdown returns by the Ravens. The Jets tried to shuffle players — if you want to be safe, don't ask Vladimir Ducasse to watch your back — but nothing worked as the heat kept coming and Sanchez kept ducking and chucking.

That led to an interception return for a touchdown by LarDarius Webb in the third quarter after the Jets had forced a fumble of their own deep in Ravens territory. It was a 27-17 game at that point, solely because the Ravens refused to press their advantages in the second and third quarters.

Instead of sticking with a successful running game, the Ravens insisted on throwing the ball which led to a David Harris interception for a touchdown and the aforementioned fumble, which came on a strip sack of Flacco by Aaron Maybin. Flacco and Sanchez gained a lot of praise around the league for their success in the playoffs over the last few years, but they both set the game of football back with their performances on Sunday night.

At least Flacco steered his team to 13 points against the seven he handed the Jets. Sanchez gave up 21 on his miscues and only got the Jets three points as he misfired over and over again when he wasn't being pounded into the turf or chasing after an errant snap by Colin Baxter.

If you've been keeping score, that's four return touchdowns we've mentioned already, and there was an NFL-record fifth. Joe McKnight, the Sunday night hero from Week One when he blocked a Cowboys punt, returned a kickoff 107 yards for the first Jets touchdown.

McKnight also forced a fumble on the opening kickoff and set up the Harris pick by playing an unexpected pass rushing role on defense, making him the only guy on the Jets who can hold his head up high on the way home. The rest of the team, which looks short on both talent and speed on both sides of the ball, has some serious work to do if the Jets are going to get this ship headed back in the right direction. 

There were moments during the first half, during which the Jets could barely get a snap off without fumbling or committing a penalty, when it seemed like NBC was showing a replay of a game from the Rich Kotite era. Given where this team was supposed to be at this point in time, that regression is alarming. It needs to stop immediately, or the team is going to find itself consumed by a tsunami that threatens to ruin everything they built over the last two years.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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