The New York Jets have now lost five games in a row after losing to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. In what looked to be a favorable matchup for the Jets, the offense severely underperformed and only put up 6 points against one of the weakest defensive coverage units in the NFL. On a brighter note, Garrett Wilson surpassed 1,000 receiving yards on the season and the cornerbacks had an outstanding day. Sadly, the Jets are out of the playoff race and now have to look forward to the draft and offseason, but let’s dive deep into the stats from this game.
Quarterback Play (and looking into the future)
Mike White channeled his inner Zach Wilson on Sunday, having a severely underwhelming day for his standards – going 23/46 for 240 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. Some questionable throws did major damage, including one where White threw into double coverage on a pass that was easily intercepted, and he targeted Denzel Mims of all receivers on that play. White sadly proved he isn’t the long-term answer at starting quarterback for the Jets, but he’d still probably be a great backup to keep around next season if the Jets choose to part ways with Zach Wilson.
There look to be a few decent options in the veteran quarterback market for the Jets to pick up this offseason, and the most likely option is shaping up to be Derek Carr. If Jimmy Garoppolo comes back healthy, he could be another great option especially with his connection to Saleh and LaFleur, but he is a major liability for potential injury given his history. Long term veterans Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers could be difficult to obtain, but the Jets pose an intriguing destination with the offensive weapons and strong defense that has kept them in just about every game this season.
Ty Johnson got the start at running back, an interesting decision after Zonovan Knight had struggled the past 2 weeks and Michael Carter has been off. Johnson had 8 carries for 46 yards (nearly 6 yards average), while Knight also had 8 carries, but only tallied 27 yards. Johnson is making a case to be the 2nd or 3rd string running back on this team next year with Breece Hall coming back.
The receivers didn’t have a great day with Mike White’s struggles, but Garrett Wilson did surpass 1,000 yards this season. That hasn’t been done by a Jets receiver since Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker accomplished this in the 2015 season. In this game, Tyler Conklin was the leading receiver with 6 receptions for 80 yards, while CJ Uzomah may have had the toughest day out of the pass catchers.
The run defense was nonexistent, giving up 198 rushing yards, which included a 60 yard run to Kenneth Walker on the first play of the game. They did sack Geno Smith 3 times, but Quinnen Williams was quiet all game.
The secondary was a tale of two stories, as the safeties essentially gave up, while the cornerbacks were locked in all game. Highlighted by Sauce Gardner and DJ Reed, the Jets held DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett to a combined 3 catchers for 18 yards. That’s insane. However, the safeties were a major low point, and that position will be one of the most important roles to fill in the offseason, because Lamarcus Joyner and Jordan Whitehead have not been cutting it.
Questionable 4th Down Decision
Saleh has been great with his fourth down calls the majority of the season, usually going for it when the analytics suggest going for it, and punting when the analytics suggest punting. However, Saleh was very conservative in this game, lowlighted by the decision to punt the ball on the 4th and 2 play early in the 4th quarter. The Jets were down 14 points with 11 minutes left in the 4th, and they had a 4th and 2 on their own 39 yard line. The analytics strongly recommended going for it, given the circumstances of the play, and your defense is strong enough to hold the Seahawks to attempting a long field goal if you don’t convert, but Saleh chose to be conservative when the season was on the line.
Now that the Jets can no longer make the playoffs, the game against the Dolphins has a lot less importance for them. If the Jets do lose this game and a couple other things go their way, they could still end up with a top 10 pick in the draft, which would be huge given the needs this team still has at offensive line and safety. Losing this game may also knock the Patriots out of the playoffs (if the Patriots do lose against the Bills). The Bills will be playing with a ton of heart next week after the scary injury to safety Damar Hamlin, and the entire Jets community continues to pray for his recovery.