By Brad Carroll
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The New York Jets' loss to the Detroit Lions Sunday was about as bad as it gets. The offense was its typical ineffective self, low-lighted by bad quarterback play, turnovers and questionable game-management decisions by the coaching staff. The defense couldn't come up with a big stop when it mattered most, with not only the secondary playing horrible, but the front seven struggling to get the team off the field with all the momentum on their side.
It was a horrible day for the Jets, which dropped to 1-3 with a 24-17 loss. The season is officially on the brink of disaster, as the Jets will be heavy underdogs the next three weeks, against San Diego, Denver and New England, meaning this could have been the game that destroyed the season.
Here are those that were responsible for the Jets' loss, as we hand out Game Falls, and a couple of players who deserve Game Balls.
Rex Ryan: There's a lot to like about Ryan as the Jets head coach. But his flaws are coming to the surface now more than ever. Ryan refuses to even entertain the notion that Smith isn't the quarterback he thinks he could become. Smith is terrible, we all know it, and has little to no chance of every becoming a true franchise quarterback. He proved it yet against Sunday. But Ryan is blinded by some misplaced loyalty to continue to name him the starter without even looking at the game tape, as he did after Sunday's game. Ryan also is committed to having a three running back rotation, even if it means putting the best running back on the team on the bench for long stretches. Ivory had 51 yards rushing on the first drive of the game, then didn't play the next two series, and had just eight carries the rest of the way. That's another example of Ryan being clueless as to what is happening with the offense. On defense, I'm not sure if he understands how bad his secondary is. Worse, on fourth and two from their own 24, Ryan chose to punt with 3:49 to go and down seven. He trusted his defense to make a stop. Of course, the defense didn't make a stop. Do they ever in a big moment? The Lions got two first downs on that drive and ended the game. Blind loyalty just might get Ryan fired.
Geno Smith: After a horrible day on the field Sunday, Smith made things even worse by cursing out a fan on his way into the locker room after the game. It shows a crack in Smith's seemingly cool demeanor, proving he is starting to let his bad play and the crowd's reaction to it get to him. Smith had to hear the fans boo him in the player introductions and then chant for Michael Vick when he continually missed open receivers and turned the ball over twice in the game. The fans have turned on Smith because they realize he can't play. Smith went 17-for-33 for just 209 yards with a touchdown, interception and lost fumble. Smith couldn't even run the ball effectively against Detroit. The coaches and players might not get it, but Smith is done as a starting quarterback.
Entire Defense: After the Jets cut the Lions lead to 17-10 midway through the third quarter on a Smith to Eric Decker pass, the defense came on the field with Detroit starting on its own 10. The crowd was the loudest they have been in some time, finally showing some life as their team did in a big moment in the game. On third and 10, the Lions converted. On third and nine, the Lions converted. On third and two, the Lions converted. Fourteen plays, 90 yards and 7:32 later, the Lions pushed the lead back up to 14 as the fourth quarter got underway. For as good as the Jets front seven is, when there is a big moment in a game, there is no pressure, there is no game-changing turnover, there is just momentum-crushing moments. The Jets secondary is terrible, which just means the front seven needs to play ever better than they already do. They didn't in several key moments Sunday, including the one discussed above late in the game. And biggest of all, the Jets simply can't get a turnover, with no interceptions and two fumble recoveries in four games.
Calvin Pryor: If you listen to all the talk about Pryor from the coaching staff, the Jets drafted him mainly because he is a hard-hitting safety. The big problem with that is nobody around the league, not the Jets of course, cares anymore about hard-hitting safeties because they aren't valuable. Safeties who can cover are the rage because of how offenses attack the defense nowadays. Pryor can't cover. He proved that against the Packers and he proved it again Sunday against Detroit. He takes horrible angles on tackles, he can't judge where a receiver or the ball is going, and he looks terrible because of it. He injured his quad after taking a helmet to the leg and was lost for the game, but wasn't missed. The Jets better hope he develops into a player they envision, a complete safety rather than a guy who might get five times a season to make a hard hit. At least I hope that's what they envision.
Greg Salas: He had two catches for a team-high 60 yards, showing big-play ability the Jets don't have on offense. The Jets should put Salas in the starting lineup opposite Decker and have Jeremy Kerley in the slot. David Nelson can be the fourth receiver. Maybe the Jets can finally develop a young receiver into a star. Why not at least try?
Muhammad Wilkerson: He's the best player on the Jets and one of the best players in football. He had eight tackles, 1.5 sacks and hit the quarterback three times Sunday against Detroit.
Jace Amaro: He finally made an impact on the game, catches five passes for 58 yards, including a 21-yard pass play. The Jets need to find all the playmakers they can on offense, so Amaro should be given a lot more opportunities to do just that.