By Brad Carroll
The New York Jets suffered their second straight terrible loss Monday night, dropping a game to the Chicago Bears they easily could have won. But quarterback Geno Smith was terrible, throwing two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown and another thrown in the end zone as the Jets were going in for a score, leading to a 27-19 loss. The Jets reached the red zone six times and scored just one touchdown.
This was a pathetic showing by Smith and there should now be serious conversations between Rex Ryan and the rest of the offensive coaches about switching the offense over to Michael Vick. Smith was that bad on this night.
Here's how the Jets lost the game to Chicago, as we break down the team's three keys to victory from our preview and how it played out on the field Monday night.
1. Contain Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery
Why It Was Key: "While the Jets should be able to keep Matt Forte in check on the ground, as nobody has been able to run against the Jets so far, the two wide receivers will pose a huge challenge to the suspect Jets secondary."
How It Played Out: Antonio Allen was beaten over and over by Alshon Jeffery, who ended the night with eight catches for 107 yards. On a big third down midway through the fourth quarter, Allen allowed Jeffery to catch a jump ball for a first down. That play ended up leading to a field goal that put the Bears back up by eight with about three minutes to go. Allen also dropped an interception in Bears territory. The other Bears wide receiver, Marshall, had no impact in the game, catching just one pass for six yards. The Jets secondary didn't shut down the Bears passing game, but there were far bigger problems on this night.
2. Geno Be Good
Why It Was Key: "Which Geno Smith will show up on Monday night? It's really anyone's guess, which is a horrible state for the Jets to be in at the quarterback position. At one moment, Smith looks like the team's franchise quarterback, while one play later everyone is left wondering if he should even be a starter in this league."
How It Played Out: It wasn't just Geno Be Bad Monday night, it was Geno Be Terrible. Smith threw this game away for the Jets, one which they should have won. Smith threw two horrible interceptions, one returned for a touchdown and another that was picked off in the end zone as the Jets were driving for a score. He was 26-of-43 for 316 yards with a touchdown and the two picks. Rex Ryan said after the game Smith isn't the same player he was last year, meaning he's better this season. Based on his performance Monday night, and the second half against Green Bay last week, Smith is worse than he was at the end of last year. Even on the final drive, when the Jets were driving for a potential game-tying touchdown, Smith missed David Nelson for what would have been a first down around the five-yard line and then threw the ball out of bounds to Jeremy Kerley on fourth down. Kerley came up with the ball, but couldn't get either foot down. If Smith keeps the ball in the field of play on that final throw, the Bears at least get called for pass interference, as the penalty should have been called anyway. It would have been more obvious with a better pass. Smith was so bad the Jets have to seriously think about switching to Michael Vick. If this is the best Smith is going to get, the Jets might as well not waste any more time and hand the offense over to Vick now.
3. Cause Some Turnovers
Why It Was Key: "Jay Cutler should be forced to throw the ball against the Jets defense, as the front seven is sure to bottle up the ground attack, so it's beyond important that the secondary makes a big play. If the Jets can win the turnover battle, they will be in great shape to improve to 2-1 this season."
How It Played Out: Even when the Jets get a fumble recovery, just their second takeaway of the season, it's remembered more for what should have been instead of what it was. Demario Davis picked up a Cutler fumble and ran it back for a touchdown. But the referee blew the play dead, negating the touchdown. The play was reviewed and reversed, giving the Jets the ball, but not the touchdown. The Jets should have been on top 20-17 at the half, instead of down 17-13. The Jets ended up losing the turnover battle, finishing -2 after two Smith interceptions and a fumbled punt return by rookie Jalen Saunders. The Jets won't win many games losing the turnover battle.