When your offense equals its number of giveaways with its number of points scored, you know you're in for a rough day. And so it went for the Green & White during our 19-3 loss at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Statistically speaking, Geno Smith had the worst game of his rookie season since, well, last Sunday's game at Buffalo. He ended the day with a 22.3 passer rating after completing nine of his 22 pass attempts (40.9%) for 127 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions as the team scored a season-low three points.
"I didn't do enough," Smith said, "didn't get the job done. We didn't score a touchdown, so that's never good. Just didn't do enough. We've got to figure out ways to just get better and to put points on the board. It's pretty simple. We need to score touchdowns and put points on the board."
Geno's right. But he's also correct to say "we" didn't score a touchdown and "we" need to figure out ways to improve. As head coach Rex Ryan and several Jets players emphasized, No. 7 is simply one of many pieces in the puzzle.
"The mistakes we made," Ryan said, "they're not on one person. Offensively, as it always does, it seems like as we talk about Geno all the time, the stats are out there for the public awareness … but it doesn't paint the whole picture and it's certainly not on one guy.
"When you look at the numbers, 'Boy, that guy really struggled.' But there's a reason," Ryan continued. "Some of it's protections. Some of it's dropping the football. Some it's a poor throw. Some of it's running not a precise route. There are a lot of factors involved in it."
Given those circumstances — five dropped passes by the CBS production crew's count and constant pressure by the likes of Haloti Ngata, Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil and others — Rex was "impressed with some of the things that he did." At least as impressed as you can be with a three-point offensive output.
"There are a couple areas I thought he improved in from the previous week," Ryan said, "even though the numbers say there wasn't a whole lot of improvement. I think the way he handled his pocket awareness was much better, and believe me it was tough. … He stepped up at the appropriate time, he bailed at the appropriate time. I thought he kept things alive.
"I was also impressed with the fact that he threw some passes away that weren't there. He wasn't going to force the issue."
Looking solely at the boxscore, there really are no positives to take out of Smith's game vs. the Ravens. Turn five of those drops into completions, though, and suddenly his completion percentage jumps from the second-worst of his young career into the fourth-best (63.6%), maybe we convert three or four third downs instead of just one, and perhaps we venture into the virtually uncharted red territory inside our opponent's 20-yard line.
We'll never know how things could have turned out differently and there's no point in reflecting on hypotheticals, but one thing's clear: Geno Smith was one reason, not the reason, for our offensive struggles on Sunday afternoon.
"We've all got to do our part," C Nick Mangold said. "It's not just one guy out there. There's 11 of us. We all have to be on the same page, we've all got to be doing the right thing, so when we do that, then we know this team can be pretty good."