The New York Jets should have beaten the Cincinnati Bengals. Plain and simple. They had every opportunity to get the win and didn’t get the job done.
While it’s easy to look at the 23-22 final score and say Nick Folk’s blunders, a missed extra point and a blocked 22-yard field goal were the reasons the Jets lost since, it’s actually much bigger than that.
Yes, if Nick Folk hits the extra point and the chip shot field goal, the Jets’ chances of winning increase, but that’s not why they lost.
The Jets lost to the Bengals in Week 1 because of two drives that stalled deep in Bengals’ territory, the first of which came early in the fourth quarter. The Jets were marching down the field down 20-16, and after a Ryan Fitzpatrick 2-yard QB sneak, had the ball at the Bengals 1-yard line with two golden opportunities to take the lead.
Instead, Matt Forte lost a yard on 2nd and goal, Fitzpatrick’s pass on 3rd and goal sailed incomplete and the team had to settle for a field goal to cut the deficit to one. Folk’s field goal capped a near perfect 12-play 73-yard drive. A 12-play 74-yard drive would have been perfect.
On the Jets’ next possession, Fitzpatrick once again led the Jets to the Bengals 15-yard line, but saw the drive stall at the 8. Folk hit a 23-yard field goal to give the Jets a 22-20 lead, but Andy Dalton quickly marched the Bengals back and Mike Nugent connected on a 47-yard field goal to but Cincinnati back in front. Fitzpatrick threw two incomplete passes on the ensuing drive before being intercepted by Josh Shaw to seal the loss.
If the Jets converted both of those red zone opportunities, they win. If they convert one out of two they probably win, but missing out twice was too much to overcome.
How teams fare in the red zone is what separates good team from great teams, and based on what happened in Week 1, the Jets made mistakes bad football teams make.
While on the positive side this game can be viewed as the Jets out playing the Bengals, a supremely talented team, but coming up just short, there are no moral victories in the NFL. The name of the game is to win and the Jets lost.
Going forward, the red zone offense obviously has to drastically improve, Nick Folk can’t be missing chip shot field goals, Brandon Marshall has to have a heck of a lot more than 3 catches for 32 yards and Darrelle Revis can’t get blatantly manhandled like he did by A.J. Green (12 catches for 180 yards and a TD) in this game.
The Jets play the Bills and arch nemesis Rex Ryan on Thursday night, and an 0-2 start to the season may be too big a hole to climb out of, so Fitzpatrick and company have to bring it to keep their season alive.