From the start, Week 3’s New York Jets–Indianapolis Colts game was a monumental disaster. Sure, in the beginning, Gang Green tried to compete on offense with an early touchdown. Otherwise, the Jets were blown out for the second time in three weeks.
Let’s look at five things I was able to take away from this game.
Five Takeaways From New York Jets-Indianapolis Colts
1. Sam Darnold Was Horrific
Originally, some analysts and fans alike thought that this would be a make or break year for New York Jets’ third-year quarterback Sam Darnold. He has not shown signs of progression at all this year. His season-opening performance against the Buffalo Bills was abysmal.
Darnold played horrifically against the top defensive unit in the league in the Indianapolis Colts. He threw for 168 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. Two of those interceptions were run back for pick-sixes. Also, Darnold missed easy throws. If you watched the game, you could tell he wasn’t going through his progressions and his feet weren’t really steady.
You could make the case that the offensive line didn’t help matters. Right tackle George Fant didn’t play due to a concussion. Rookie left tackle Mekhi Becton left in the second quarter with a knee injury.
You could make the case that Sam Darnold played with a below-average receiving core. Both pick-sixes were partly a result of miscommunication between him and his receivers.
One thing is for certain, Sam Darnold has regressed badly. This could be a result of a below-average receiving core and an unaccomplished coaching staff. But without a doubt, Sam Darnold will have to step up and play a lot better to stop the Trevor Lawrence talk.
2. The Colts’ Defense Remains Spectacular
The Indianapolis Colts’ defense came into this game as the top defensive unit in the league. Their performance against the Jets proved exactly why.
The Colts’ pass rush was able to get to Sam Darnold, sacking him twice and hitting him seven times.
The Colts were able to pick off Darnold three times, returning two picks for touchdowns. Xavier Rhodes has retained his reputation of being a ball hawk, picking off Darnold twice. Funny enough, Rhodes blew his assignment in the end zone and was still capable of intercepting the pass.
The Colts were solid in defending the run as well, allowing only 3.8 yards per rush attempt. The defensive line was able to record six tackles for loss. DeForest Buckner led the charge.
Is the defense really this good? Or was the Jets’ offense lethargic like the previous two games? I’d say the Colts would’ve beaten the Jets regardless because of their top defensive unit.
3. The Jets’ Defense Was Non-Existent . . . Again
Again, the New York Jets’ defense showcased a poor showing. Quite sad for a unit that had high expectations coming into this year.
The pass rush didn’t even touch Colts’ quarterback Philip Rivers until the third quarter. No pressure was generated whatsoever. Rivers had all day to throw and found open receivers with ease.
Tackling continued to be a major issue for the defense as a whole. On fourth down and goal from the one-yard line, safety Bradley McDougald whiffed on an easy but crucial tackle on Colts’ running back Jonathan Taylor. The missed tackle allowed Taylor to run into the end zone for the touchdown, extending the Colts’ lead to 24-7. Funny enough, the Jets came into this game leading the NFL in missed tackles.
The secondary and linebacking core was horrendous. Former Colt Pierre Desir continues to make Jets fans liken him to free agency bust Trumaine Johnson. Desir signed a one-year deal with the Jets in the offseason. So far, he doesn’t deserve to be with the team in the future nor be with the team now.
Avery Williamson is a shell of himself. Earlier this week in an interview with 101.9 WFAN, Williamson criticized the Jets’ practices, citing them as “slow”. Ironically, he looked very slow out in the field and didn’t make a single play. He was constantly beat in coverage. Williamson likely will be gone after this season.
Bradley McDougald also criticized the Jets’ practices. He didn’t show up to play either. The Jets’ should regret trading for him.
Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams should be faulted for the underachieving unit known as the Jets’ defense. Williams has been known for having a good first year with a new team as a coordinator. After that, his defenses get exploited.
The Jets continue to miss star safety Jamal Adams. He clearly covered a lot of holes on defense for this team. Obviously, contract and character issues got in the way.
4. The Colts’ Offense Continues To Shine
Right now, the Colts’ offense ranks 11th in total offense. They continue to be an impressive unit coached by offensive-minded head coach Frank Reich.
Notably, Philip Rivers‘ play has drastically improved. Rivers is now playing with one of the NFL’s best offensive lines and he seems to be more comfortable in the pocket. He also has more of a variety of targets to throw to. Such targets include T.Y. Hilton, rookie Michael Pittman., and tight ends Jack Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox.
Some people though the running game would be lethargic after Marlon Mack suffered an Achilles tear in Week 1. Rookie Jonathan Taylor has stepped into the lead back role and has done a fantastic job. So far, Taylor has rushed 35 times for 123 yards for one touchdown, averaging 3.5 yards per rush attempt. Taylor’s swift running style has held defenses in check plenty of times.
Taylor’s progression is something to keep an eye on because Marlon Mack will become a free agent next year.
As the year goes on, the Colts’ offense will be a unit to fear.
5. Adam Gase’s Seat Gets Hotter
Stemming from a report made by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Jets’ head coach Adam Gase is on the hot seat. The organization seems to be evaluating Gase this week. Could change at the head coach position happen soon?
A winless start to the season doesn’t look good for Gase. Neither does getting blown out in consecutive weeks.
It’s important to note that immediately after the Jets’ Week 1 loss to the Buffalo Bills, CEO Christopher Johnson doubled down and defended Adam Gase, calling him a “brilliant offensive mind”.
Throughout his entire coaching career, Gase has never actually proven himself to be an offensive genius. His offenses have always been mediocre or have ranked at the bottom of the league. Notably, the Jets have scored 37 points in just three games this season, averaging 12.3 points per game. His playcalling lacks adjustments and tends to be conservative when the task ahead seems large.
Not only should his offensive mind be in question, but Gase’s leadership is also often put into question. This entire season for the Jets has been marred by poor performance, injuries, and constant excuses. Gase was a factor in driving Jamal Adams out of town.
Most notably, under his watch, Sam Darnold has regressed heavily. His decision making is awful. He’s missing throws and his foot mechanics aren’t stable. Darnold also doesn’t go through his progressions. In a game like Sunday’s against the Colts, all of these observations are evident.
There is no reason to keep Adam Gase around anymore for the Jets. Sunday’s performance against the Colts showed this. Most likely, Gase could be fired after Thursday night’s game against the Denver Broncos if the team is blown out once again.
One thing is certain, Adam Gase is a problem.
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