Bob Wischusen has been the radio play-by-play voice of the New York Jets for 19 years. Lasting all season, Wischusen will share thoughts about the Green & White in a weekly column.
If you're wondering where the Jets' offensive production came from, at least through the first three quarters against the Patriots on Nov. 9, to me there were a few big differences. The most obvious was health. For the first time this season the Jets had all three of their top wide receivers on the field simultaneously, and two of them — Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims — have the speed to stretch the field. The second, equally important factor was pass protection. QB Joe Flacco was given a different amount of time than either he or Sam Darnold had been given in any other game that I can think of this season. So, combine speed on the field and the time for those speedy players to get down the field because of pass protection, the result was much better than it's been at any other time this season. And you've got 319 yards of offense through the first three quarters.
Struggle to Finish
Penalties have certainly been a problem for the Jets at times this season, but I don't think blaming the loss against the Patriots on penalties would be an accurate way to look at what happened. Yes, the Jets had a couple of penalties called on them that seemed to be game-changing at the time. S Ashtyn Davis roughing the passer on Cam Newton was a big one. But even when the Jets committed the 12 men on the field penalty, the Patriots still only managed a field goal on that drive. Eventhough there have been other games this season where penalties have cost the Jets mightily, I don't look back at the loss to the Patriots and think of penalties as much as I think of the Patriots' time-consuming, double-digit play drives that kept the Jets offense off the field, and got the defense tired and worn down. That certainly seemed to play a factor in the Patriots' come-from-behind win.
When you looked at the Jets' schedule after the Monday night game, it was easy to wonder where they would be able to find a win. There's no question that finding a win against a difficult second half schedule is going to be daunting. When you watched the Jets' offense play against the Patriots, however, and you saw the impact of having three wide receivers healthy on the field for the first time, you could see that they loosened up a defense with speed and elusiveness. You start to think about how that can have an impact on the running game and how a team that puts up three touchdowns on offense can be much more competitive than any other time this season. In the final seven games, it also looks like they could be a much more dangerous opponent than any other time this season because their offense, when healthy, is a group that can function and score points.