The 2013 NFL campaign is officially weird.
After Geno Smith and the New York Jets edged the Atlanta Falcons in dramatic fashion in Week 6, they were pushed around on Sunday by a Pittsburgh Steelers team that came into the game winless.
Smith struggled in the 19-6 loss in East Rutherford, while Ben Roethlisberger passed for 264 yards and a touchdown. Smith reverted back to Careless Geno Smith, and the Steelers ultimately made him pay.
But what did we learn from the physical rivalry game?
Let's take a look.
Geno Smith Is a Work in Progress
Coming off the best performance of his young career against the Atlanta Falcons, Smith looked like he was back in Week 1 on Sunday.
The rookie signal-caller had a dismal game at home in East Rutherford, going 19-of-34 while averaging a season-low 5.9 yards per pass attempt and tossing two interceptions. Both of his picks came in Steelers territory.
The thing we have to do is play with more consistency. It starts with the turnovers. If you're turning the ball over and not getting takeaways on defense, obviously that's a recipe for not being consistent or successful.
It seems like we put Smith in a box from week to week. One week, he's the Jets' savior. The next week, he has led to their demise.
Can we just call him, you know, a rookie quarterback who needs some time?
Yeah, I thought so.
Jets' Pass Protection Is Worse Than Imagined
We see it all the time. This darn rookie quarterback starts throwing interceptions and mistiming routes, and, because he plays the most important position in football, IT'S ALL HIS FAULT.
Hey, I'm just as ornery as the next guy, and I don't like making excuses for quarterbacks when they carelessly toss up pigskins as if they will magically float to their intended target, but it's also been proved that quarterbacks, you know, don't like 300-pound bulldozers running at them at full speed (or rolling to them).
The Steelers had four sacks headed into Sunday's game at MetLife Stadium. Then they proceeded to sack Smith three times, while also posting six quarterback hits.
Everybody talked about Pittsburgh's porous offensive line and New York's dominant defensive line before the game, but the Jets may actually be worse at protecting the quarterback than the Steelers are. In fact, Football Outsiders had the Jets' pass protection ranked 29th in the NFL headed into Week 5.
Jets Fans Should Officially Be Worried About Antonio Cromartie
Before Sunday's game, Pro Football Focus highlighted how bad Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie has actually been this season.
After a stellar 2012 campaign, Cromartie has not simply been subpar; he's been awful. Perhaps it's that hyperextended knee that's been bothering him, but if it's truly limiting him this much, it may be best to sit him out until he's fully healed.
PFF ranked Cromartie 97th out of 104 cornerbacks in the NFL before Sunday's game. That included allowing a 105.7 passer rating into his coverage. I'm guessing allowing a 55-yard touchdown to Emmanuel Sanders on Sunday isn't going to help his case.
In regard to Cromartie, it hasn't been inconsistency that has plagued him; it's been plain-and-simple ineffective play.