It's a crazy turn of events, even if it has been just three weeks of season. The Pats looked well on their way to another dominating victory but fell hapless to Brady interceptions (four total by the end), in a shocker loss to the Bills.
Gang Green, on the other hand, took a 17-17 score into halftime and never took hold of the game from that point on. The Jets are now tied with the Pats for second in the AFC East at 2-1 and have a tough road matchup against the Ravens in Week 4.
Here are five takeaways from Week 3's road loss against the now 2-1 Oakland Raiders.
The Jets were third in the league in rushing defense last year and were ninth after two games this season. Despite their strong overall performance in that department, the team has a recent track record of falling susceptible to elite running backs.
Last year, for example, the Jets gave up big games to both Arian Foster and Peyton Hillis, two of 2010’s breakout players at the position. After giving up 171 rushing yards and two TDs to Darren McFadden Sunday, the team has again proven that they can’t stop the league’s best backs.
McFadden (a truly special talent) was simply too powerful for the Jets undersized defensive line and broke off a big play (70-yard TD run) that really exposed every level of the Jets defense today.
After looking sound in the first half, the Jets O-Line (sans All-Pro C Nick Mangold) was leaky after intermission. The team gave up four sacks in the second half, two by DE Jarvin Moss.
The Oakland front-seven rattled Sanchez, and the Jets offense fell flat as a result. There were other reasons the Jets gave a 17-17 game away in the second half, but the assault on Sanchez was likely the main culprit.
The Jets O-Line will surely regain normalcy when Mangold returns (his understudy, rookie Colin Baxter, pictured, just looks like an inferior version of the Jets' Thor center). Even with a healthy Mangold, the group still feels downgraded from last year, missing the presence of retired veteran RT Damian Woody.
Following a Week 2 win in which he got two interceptions and was thriving in the return game, Cromartie turned in a complete 180 of a performance. No. 31 finished the game with four total penalties, and when he wasn’t racking up the flags, he was muffing a punt that turned around into an Oakland TD.
The performance was a killer for the Jets, and when you combine that with the monster performance given up to McFadden, and the failure of the O-Line to protect Sanchez in the second half, it is easy to understand why the Jets were overmatched for the final 30 minutes.
Cromartie will need to bounce back in a big way next week against the Ravens, but the performance reaffirms that when you’re dealing with a player like Cromartie, you’re dealing with boom or bust production.
It wasn’t nearly enough to make a difference today, but just when you think LaDainian Tomlinson will never break a big one again, the future Hall of Famer turns a screen pass into a 74-yard rip, and also added another 19-yard catch up the middle for a second quarter TD.
While a two-play performance doesn’t guarantee success going forward, Tomlinson still has a role on this Jets offense, by showing that he can turn a nothing play into something, and because he thrives as their best receiver out of the backfield.
Clearly, LTD still holds the edge over Greene as far as decision making and intelligence.
Despite racking up a big passing play (the screen to LTD for 74 yards), the Jets were not able to exploit Oakland's secondary downfield, a unit now lacking in major talent without Nnamdi Asomugha.
The truth is while Plax adds another dimension to the passing game, he takes away the deep threat we had in Braylon Edwards, who—say what you want—finished with 904 big yards last season. Granted Edwards is hurt, but it doesn’t change the fact that we lost that element.
Not to mention, going deep is one of Sanchez’s strengths, and the type of play the Jets would prefer to run in play action once the running game gets going. But until the Jets have a truly dominating day on the ground, Sanchez won't be afforded many opportunities.