Halfway through the second quarter, the New York Jets thought they were going to steal a game at Lambeau Field. They held a 21-3 lead and were in cruise control against a Packers team trying to avoid an 0-2 start. Then it all fell apart for the Jets. The Packers outscored Gang Green 28-3 the rest of the way to hand the Jets their first loss, and this is one that really stings. It was one of those gut-wrenching losses that Jets fans are used to. Let’s break down what the heck went wrong in Green Bay for Rex Ryan’s squad.
1. Marty Mornhinweg signals for timeout, takes TD off the board
Talk about same old Jets, huh? Geno Smith threw a beautiful 36-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Kerley on fourth-and-4 to tie the game with under five minutes to play. Take it off the board. Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg signaled for a timeout. According to him, he tried to get Rex Ryan’s attention, knowing that only the head coach or a player on the field can call a timeout. It also didn’t help the cause when Sheldon Richardson assisted by also yelling for a timeout. The refs granted the Jets the timeout and the game-tying TD was no more. It was one of the more bizarre sequences of events, but also the kind of thing that seems to happen to the Jets.
2. Lack of discipline, too many penalties
The Jets outplayed the Raiders in Week 1, but the game was close due too an absurd number of penalties by Gang Green. For the second straight week, flags were flying, and the Jets lacked discipline. Something has got to give. The Jets committed seven penalties for 82 yards on Sunday and many of them were backbreakers. Late in the third quarter, the Jets defensive line lost their cool. Muhammed Wilkerson was thrown out of the game for getting into it in the end zone with Green Bay’s defense following a Packers two-point conversion. This team needs to limit the penalties, because without a couple of those, this is an entirely different game.
3. Bad play calling
Not only did Mornhinweg cost his team by calling for a timeout before a touchdown pass, he made plenty of questionable calls. Late in the game, on a third and five, he went with a run up the middle. Sure, it’s four-down territory, but show some confidence in Smith to get the first down. There have been instances when it seems like they don’t have enough faith in the developing second-year QB. Also, enough is enough with some of these Michael Vick packages. He came in on one play to take a snap and was sacked. The best package for Vick is either some form of a wildcat where he runs the ball or a play (like they did in Week 1) where gets a hand-off and passes into the endzone. Also, using him as a decoy is just a waste of a player on offense. It never works.
4. Breakdowns in secondary
The Jets are quickly finding out that their secondary problems are going to hurt them this season. This was the first good quarterback they’ve faced. There are plenty to come — Jay Cutler, Matthew Stafford, Phillip RIvers, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady — and they are coming fast. It’s not going to get any easier. Antonio Allen is not a corner, and he played the most snaps there Sunday. Dee Milliner clearly wasn’t ready and was abused by Jordy Nelson, who had nine catches and 209 yards. The 80-yard TD to Nelson showed the flaws of this Jets secondary, and it’s going to happen a lot if the defense can’t get some pressure on the quarterback. Aaron Rodgers had a field day after the first quarter.
5. Receivers didn’t show up
This offense needs help, and they have to. After Eric Decker, the Jets receivers were non-existent Sunday. They desperately need someone else to step up. Decker hurt his hamstring. When he’s out, they have nobody to step in and become a No. 1 wideout. Jeremy Kerley is a slot receiver. Greg Salas and David Nelson are journeymen receivers. The tight end situation is turning out to be an issue. Jeff Cumberland is more of a blocker than a receiving threat. Jace Amaro has yet to show up this season, despite his promising frame as a tight end. Smith needs someone to step up, especially when the run game isn’t carrying the load.