Jets vs. Raiders: Diagnosing What's Wrong with Rex Ryan's Team

Kraig LundbergAnalyst IIISeptember 25, 2011

In a surprising turn of events, the New York Jets fell to the Oakland Raiders 34-24

The Raiders gashed the Jets for 234 total rushing yards on just 32 carries, a 7.3 yards-per-carry average. Star running back Darren McFadden had a huge day, rushing for 171 yards and two touchdowns on just 19 carries.

Coming into this game, the Jets were heavily favored to beat the Raiders, and the lack of rush defense for the normally stout New York defense is alarming.

Head coach Rex Ryan is a defensive mastermind, but his defense was handled by the scrappy Raiders, who have a strong running game led by McFadden and back-up Michael Bush, who provides the thunder to McFadden's lightning.

It's clear the Raiders' offensive line has completely abused New York's defensive front for most of the game, and the Jets' linebackers haven't been picking up enough slack. New York's top two tacklers were defensive backs Eric Smith and Antonio Cromartie, and although the linebackers had busy statistical days, they simply couldn't contain McFadden.

The Jets' offense scored 24 points and Mark Sanchez accounted for three total touchdowns, but Sanchez was also picked off and sacked four times by a defense not known for being particularly stingy.

So what's wrong with the Jets?

At this point, I think it's too much to assume there's anything fundamentally wrong with Ryan's team. The Jets are 2-1 and still squarely in the hunt for the AFC East crown, especially with the Patriots losing at Buffalo.

Still, Sanchez must continue to grow as a passer, and the defense must figure out a way to avoid another nightmarish day against a strong rushing attack.

The Jets must travel to the Baltimore Ravens next week before going to New England the week after, so they will need to be at the top of their game if they want to avoid having a 2-3 record when they take on Miami at home in Week 6.