By Brad Carroll
Sunday's 31-0 loss to the San Diego Chargers was one of the most embarrassing, demoralizing and downright awful moments in recent New York Jets history. The Jets offense, fresh off a team meeting to discuss the team's failures this season, was completely pathetic, not crossing midfield until midway through the fourth quarter. Yes, seriously, they didn't move the ball over the 50 until the end of the game.
Geno Smith was benched at halftime in favor of Michael Vick, but for those clamoring for the change over the past few weeks couldn't even get excited because the game was already over. The Chargers led 21-0 at the break, but it felt much worse. Both quarterbacks stunk.
The defense, which is Rex Ryan's baby, was gashed by the Chargers. The secondary was torched again, not surprising considering general manager John Idzik doesn't know what a cornerback or safety is, let alone trying to sign one this offseason.
This is a bad football team with a lot of blame to go around. It starts with the general manager, who should be fired after the season. Actually, if I'm owner Woody Johnson, I'd fire Idzik today. Idzik has proven he is in over his head as an NFL general manager. He has no idea how to evaluate talent. He's beyond cheap. And there are also the accusations he was unethical in dealing with potential free agents this offseason. All of it should equal Idzik getting fired sooner rather than later.
Ryan is on his way out as well, as he couldn't get his team ready to play this huge game on the road. The result was a fourth straight loss with the Broncos and Patriots up next on the schedule. The end should be here for Idzik and the end is near for Ryan as well. This loss could have been the one that sets in motion a total rebuild after the season.
Because we have to, here is a look at the three keys to victory we broke down in our game preview and how they played out on the field.
Dam The Rivers
Why It Was Key: "If Philip Rivers goes off, hitting receiving options Antonio Gates, Keenan Allen, Malcolm Floyd and Eddie Royal all over the field, the Jets will get blown out. The Jets secondary must play above their heads, get help from the front seven forcing bad decisions by Rivers, and get an interception already. The Jets have no interceptions this season. Rivers has thrown five interceptions in four career games against Ryan and the Jets, going 2-2. The Jets need to up that interception total."
How It Played Out: Yes, the secondary was torched again. Rivers completed 20-of-28 passes for 288 yards and three touchdowns. Antonio Gates caught two touchdown passes, continuing the never-ending trend of tight ends lighting up a Ryan defensive backfield. Rivers had his way against the Jets. Antonio Allen and Calvin Pryor were the biggest culprits, but the Jets were terrible all-around. The Jets did get an interception, by Phillip Adams, but in typical fashion, the Chargers defense took it right back on a fumble recovery. It's on the secondary because they're actually getting paid to play, but it's mostly on Idzik, as the Jets are playing three guys who might have trouble starting in college right now. Pryor, the first-round draft pick, gets special mention for being beyond terrible. What a terrible pick he was. The guy can't even tackle. Just a complete joke for the Jets defense.
Can Geno Keep His Job?
Why It Was Key: "Geno Smith has been nothing short of horrible this season, and you would hope if he doesn't turn his play around soon the Jets will make a change to Michael Vick. ... Smith might not have his top weapon in the receiving game, as Eric Decker could sit out with a hamstring injury, but there are no more excuses. Smith can't turn the ball over. If he doesn't, the Jets will have a chance."
How It Played Out: No, Geno Smith didn't keep his job, getting benched at halftime. He's still the starting quarterback for the season, however. Smith was just 4-of-12 for 27 yards with a interception Sunday. His performance was worse than even those numbers indicate, if that is possible. Smith never got the Jets to cross midfield, garnering a 7.6 quarterback rating. Ryan benched Smith and put Vick in looking for a spark. But it was too late. Vick wasn't any better in the second half, completing 8-of-19 passes for 47 yards. The Jets as a team threw for 60 yards. Again, is that possible? The result was a pathetic shutout.
Back To Ground And Pound
Why It Was Key: "If the Jets dominate the line of scrimmage and the running game, no matter who is carrying the ball, controls the game, Smith's job gets a lot easier. And that gives the Jets the chance to save their season with a big road victory."
How It Played Out: Chris Ivory had nine carries for 44 yards, Chris Johnson had 24 yards on seven rushes and Bilal Powell had six yards on two carries. Obviously, it wasn't enough to take the pressure off Smith or Vick. The Jets were dominated at the line of scrimmage, as they were out-gained 439-151 in total yards. If a Jets fan actually made it through the entire 60 minutes of this embarrassing display give yourself a round of applause. This is as bad as it gets.