New York Jets vs. Cincinnati Bengals: NY Won, But All is Not Well in Jetland
Most of my issues were with the coaching.
With 2:18 remaining in the first half, the Jets were leading 14-7 and had the ball on their own 41-yard line. After an encouraging defensive stop of the Bengals' offense, the Jets ran Shonn Greene to the right on first down for no gain.
After the two-minute warning, Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer went right with Greene, again...this time for three yards.
A couple of things to consider about the situation: (1) The Bengals had only one timeout remaining after dumping two on blown challenges, and (2) Mark Sanchez had looked poised and controlled to that juncture in the game.
The point? If the Jets were playing to win, they shouldn't have been afraid to put the ball in the air on 3rd-and-7.
But they were afraid, apparently.
Schottenheimer ran Greene to the right again , for -1 yards and a Jay Feely punting situation.
That's right; Jay Feely -- the field goal kicker -- was punting due to Steve Weatherford's "illness." (Side note: Feely's the man. He does whatever this team asks of him, and then some.)
So the Jets went into the half leading 14-7, instead of giving themselves the opportunity to lead 17 or even 21-7. That's awfully conservative for a team brimming with "confidence," as Head Coach Rex Ryan loves to tell the media.
The conservative decision-making may have been a result of the Jets' possession to begin the second half, but it didn't end there.
Sanchez, Greene, and Thomas Jones proceeded to move the ball down to Cincinnati's 26-yard line, which brought up a 3rd-and-6 situation. In spite of Sanchez's efficiency, Schottenheimer and Ryan again opted to run the ball.
Jones went right for a measly two yards, setting up a field goal try that seemed to be the coaching staff's sole intention for the drive.
Cue the additional issues...
Robert Turner picked up an offensive holding call during the first attempt (which Feely made), leaving the Jets with a 52-yard attempt, as opposed to a 42-yarder.
Prior to Feely's second attempt (which he also made), Wayne Hunter was called for a false start, pushing the attempt to 57 yards.
That, not surprisingly, led to a punt.
So instead of pushing hard for another touchdown and a commanding lead over the Bengals, the Jets tried to settle, and ended up getting burnt on two consecutive field goal tries.
The penalties were alarming as well; they showed a disturbing lack of discipline. In addition, key linebacker David Harris picked up a late hit penalty later in the game.
The Jets again ran the ball three consecutive times, the next instance coming at the outset of the fourth quarter. It did not go well, resulting in a three-and-out and a wave of momentum for Cincinnati.
And yet, in the end, it didn't matter. (Big win, baby!)
But those mistakes certainly could matter...next week.
(John Frascella is the author of "Theo-logy: How a Boy Wonder Led the Red Sox to the Promised Land," the first and only book centered on Boston's popular GM Theo Epstein. Follow John on Twitter @RedSoxAuthor.)
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