By Ryan Alfieri, Editor
There is no denying that the Jets turned in a bad performance against the Steelers on Sunday. They struggled for three quarters of the game on offense and could not get off the field on defense. Sanchez’s completion percentage was well below par and the offensive line looked more like the 2011 version than the improved 2012 unit from last week.
Still, no matter how ugly the game was, there is no need to panic for Jets fans, and here is why:
Injuries: Injuries are no excuse for a loss, but there is no doubt that the Jets will be a lot better off when Darrelle Revis (concussion) and Dustin Keller (hamstring) come back from their injuries.
The Jets were severely hampered by what they could do on defense without Revis in the fold. They were forced to play a ton of zone and their depth was exposed at times.
In addition, it is easy to overlook the loss of Dustin Keller. The Steelers had no problem handling the Jets receiving corps, as they had no Dustin Keller in the middle of the field to worry about. The Jets missed a key third down conversion early in the game because backup Jeff Cumberland did not adjust to a hot route; if Keller was in the game, he probably would have made the correct adjustment.
Young defenders shine: Garrett McIntyre was viewed as a player on the roster bubble headed into this season, but after his two-sack performance, it is going to be tough to keep him off the field moving forward.
We also got a glimpse of the dominant Muhammad Wilkerson that coaches were raving about all summer. If he keeps playing like this, the Jets are going to be quite the tough team to run on.
There is only one “Big Ben”: Not to call the Steelers’ touchdowns “fluky” or less valid, but several of those score were a direct result of Ben Roethlisberger shaking off tacklers to extend plays.
The Jets actually dialed up a few quality blitzes to get a free shot at Ben. If the Jets were playing against just about any other quarterback (save maybe Cam Newton), those plays would have resulted in sacks. But Ben’s innate escaping ability turned drive-killing plays into long touchdowns.
Don’t Blame Sanchez: Sanchez started out the game picking up right where he left off last week, getting the Jets 10 quick points in just over a quarter of football.
So what happened to stall the Jets offense?
In a word, the players around Sanchez were simply not getting the job done on their end to give Sanchez a chance to succeed. The receivers wern’t getting open, the protection was shotty, and the defense was not giving Sanchez enough opportunities to score because they could not get off the field on third downs.
While this does mean that the team has issues at other positions, Jets fans can take solace in knowing that their quarterback is not the root of all problems.