Grrr! The Jets were soundly beaten at home, 34-0, yesterday, one of the worst defeats in the Rex Ryan era and his second shutout. Poor execution on both sides of the field, and four turnovers did them in.
Offense: Sanchez's Worst Game of the Year
There's plenty of blame to go around but I must start with the player who is most often cited for the Jets' offensive woes — Mark Sanchez. He was terrible. Most frustrating is the fact that the fourth-year quarterback still doesn't understand that he needs to protect the ball.
Like his ill-advised shuffle pass in Game 1 against Buffalo, Sanchez showed again his disregard for avoiding turnovers. With the Jets down, 7-0, late in the first half, and well within Nick Folk's field goal range, Sanchez decided to do his best Tim Tebow imitation. Unfortunately, it was a bad imitation and after shaking one tackle in the backfield he was crushed by Aldon Smith, fumbling the ball away. The Niners were able to capitalize on this turnover making the score 10-0 at half rather than 7-3.
Then in the second half, Sanchez set up a perfect screen pass to Shonn Greene but neglected to throw the ball high enough to avoid the swiping hand of Ray McDonald, leading to a Patrick Willis interception. Sanchize rushed some throws and others were well off the mark. He luckily avoided another interception when he threw toward a blanketed Jeff Cumberland and NaVorro Bowman dropped an easy one.
The Jets' running game continues to struggle with Greene averaging a paltry 2.8 yards per carry. For a team that wants to "ground and pound" and has a weak passing game, this is a recipe for disaster. The Jets need to fix their poor running game immediately. Otherwise, this will be a long season.
Santonio Holmes' injury could be crushing. With Stephen Hill and Dustin Keller still hobbled with injuries, the Jets cannot afford to lose Holmes, by far their best receiver. One thing about the Holmes turnover that bothers me is how he jettisoned the football, allowing the 49ers to recover the fumble and run it back for a touchdown. Holmes fell to the ground with the ball safely cradled in his gut. You would think muscle memory would have kept the ball in place, but instead he apparently threw it up for grabs.
The offensive line allowed Sanchez to be sacked three times. Austin Howard was beat on one sack and, surprisingly, stalwart Nick Mangold got beat badly on another. (Mangold gave up yet another sack but that one was negated by a San Francisco penalty.)
Defense: Can't Stop the Run
Right now the Jets can't stop the run. It's as simply as that. Opposing teams are running with ease, and the 49ers were no exception. San Francisco rushed for a whopping 245 yards and averaged 5.6 per carry. Poor fundamentals led to quite a few long runs. You can't expect an arm tackle to stop Frank Gore. With the score 10-0 in the third quarter, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh showed the Jets defense no respect, opting to go for it on fourth-and-1 from the 2 rather than taking an chip-shot field goal. Of course, the 49ers made it with Gore scoring on the 2-yard run.
While the Jets and Tony Sparano are supposed to be the Kings of the Wildcat, Harbaugh and backup quarter Colin Kaepernick ran it much better than the Jets. Kaepernick rushed for an easy 7-yard touchdown and finished the day with 50 yards rushing.
The 49ers' passing game (12-for-22, 124 yards) wasn't impressive, but who needs to throw when you can run at will?
Special Teams: No Highlights
Larry Grant blocked a Jets punt while the 49ers were rushing just one player! Pitiful.
The Jets did manage to keep Ted Ginn Jr. in check. He's a special teams player who has burned them in the past.
Next week: A Move That the Jets Should Make
So where does Gang Green go from here? With Holmes likely out for a while, the Jets' starting wide receivers will be Chaz Schilens and Jeremy Kerley (with Patrick Turner filling in on three-receiver sets). Even if Stephen Hill were to come back from injury next week, the Jets receivers are one of the weakest units in the league. They need to shore it up with a playmaker and I know just the guy. Free agent Plaxico Burress could start immediately if they were to sign him and I am sure he'd love to be back in green and white. With the Jets in still in first place and 2-0 in the division, they should add him right away before it's too late.