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Greenberg: Rough Day at the Nashville Office

Posted Sep 30, 2013

Remind yourself that it could have been worse: At least there was no butt fumble or fake spike.

Worst Play: Geno Smith was a half step away from a first down when he moved laterally in search of a bigger gain, was hit by Zach Brown, and fumbled. The ball was recovered by Alterraun Verner, and six plays later Jake Locker hit Nate Washington for a touchdown pass that put the Titans up, 17-3.

Second-Worst Play: Smith, chased by Karl Klug, appeared to try to switch the ball behind his back to his left hand. It ended up on Klug’s belly in the end zone for a touchdown, thank you very much. Not as hard to stomach as Smith’s other fumble since the Jets’ chances were nil by then, if they ever existed at all.

Worst Day at the Office: If Smith becomes the Jets’ answer at quarterback, this game will be remembered as his nadir. You had better hope.

Second-Worst Day at the Office: Antonio Cromartie slipped on Washington’s first, short touchdown catch, then was taken out by back judge Billy Smith while trying to catch up on Washington’s 77-yarder.

Best Play: Jeremy Kerley saved an interception on a ball thrown from the goal line into traffic, successfully tipping it to himself only to get creamed by Coty Sensabaugh.

Best Catch-and-Run: By Bilal Powell, turning a dumpoff into a 36-yard gain. The Jets, short Chris Ivory, had only 91 yards rushing, just not good enough if Smith is going to be saved from himself. Mike Goodson to the rescue next week.

Biggest Disappointment: Kid quarterback needs all the help he can get and the offensive line was erratic at best. Smith was backpedaling for his life when Ropati Pitoitua caught up fast, thankfully saving a safety by a half-step that Geno seemed only too willing to take. Five Titans sacks were the tip of the iceberg of the Jets’ protection problems.

Best Guess: Third-round choice Brian Winters must be a long-term project if Vlad Ducasse (two penalties and one sound defeat on a sack) still is starting.

Best Throw: Beaten up physically and mentally, Smith nevertheless was right on the money over the middle to a crossing Jeff Cumberland, who scored on a 37-yard catch-and-run in the fourth quarter.

Second-Best Throw: Smith got the Jets off their own goal line in the third quarter with a 25-yard over-the-middle beauty to Kellen Winslow.

Worst Throw: Kerley was wide open as Smith escaped the pocket and was overthrown on a simple 15-yarder.

Statistics and Damn Lies: Smith was 23-for-34 for 289 passing yards. Sure didn’t seem like it.

Best catch: Diving grab by Santonio Holmes on a 25-yard slant.

Best Jet: Nick Folk, who was on the field just twice, hit dead-center field goals of 45 and 47 yards.

Next Move by Rex Ryan After the Jets’ 20 Penalties Last Week Were Followed by Another 10 This Week: Push-ups didn’t work, so start benching repeat offenders.

Dumbest Penalty: Dawan Landry tackled a scrambling Locker to set up a second-and-9, where you want to be, until Garrett McIntyre piled on. Not vicious, just unnecessary.

Worst Performance Under the Cover of Smith’s Disastrous Afternoon: The Jets secondary was awful, allowing three touchdown passes and an 18-for-24 day by Locker before he got hurt. Darrin Walls, starting for injured Dee Milliner, was embarrassed on rookie Justin Hunter’s catch in the shallow part of the end zone, sad reminder than Kyle Wilson, a No. 1 pick, isn’t better than just a nickel back in his coaches’ minds.

Worst Use of the Head: Not by Smith, who threw his two interceptions right into coverage, one on the second play from scrimmage. Michael Griffin led with his head on Stephen Hill just as Verner intercepted Smith’s first pass of the game, knocking Hill out of the game with a head injury.

Second-Worst Use of the Head: Muhammad Wilkerson did likewise on Jake Locker, just not as blatantly. The collision sent the Titans quarterback into Quinton Coples, putting Locker out of the game with a hip injury. Neither dangerous play was penalized. Yet.

Not Exactly Seizing the Opportunity: Ben Obomanu, who was on the field because Hill and Holmes were injured, committed two penalties.

Something, Anything, to Take Forward: Chris Johnson had only 21 yards in 15 carries and the Titans totaled only 78 rushing yards. After four weeks, it seems safe to say teams won’t run on the Jets.

Dedric Ward and Chansi Stuckey Are Waiting by the Phone: Hill, Holmes and Kerley didn’t finish the game. Who is going to play receiver next Monday night in the Georgia Dome?

Worst Move Ryan Could Make: Benching Smith now. Simplify things for him the best you can, but find out if he is tough enough to be your guy.

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