How the Jets chose to lose to the Ravens

Jets player #23 Shonn Greene tackled by ravens

When you have your mind set on something you have no other option but to fulfill it. And last Sunday the New York Jets had their minds set on losing. The Baltimore Ravens were a formidable opponent but the Jets had the potential to come on top. The most critical weakness the Jets never addressed, and which lead to their demise, was the battle at the line of scrimmage. It was completely ignored. Blame can go around the entire team for Sunday’s loss but the utmost blame should go to the individual calling the offensive plays. Be that Brian Schottenheimer, Rex Ryan or Mark Sanchez. Or maybe all three.

The obvious

Someone in the Jets camp should have noted that Ed Reed plays for the Ravens and as such should have designed plays to key him at bay. Granted, the first Jets offensive play that resulted in an Ed Reed forced fumble was more a testament of his great skill than anything else. But nonetheless the offensive formation did not account for blocking Reed. There was no tight end or running back set to block against an incoming blitz.

The first giveaway may be excused but thereinafter the Ravens’ defensive line kept beating the Jets offensive line and pressuring Sanchez. This became apparent as Sanchez was getting hit and being forced to throw rushed passes. Couple this with the issues the backup center Colin Baxter created for Sanchez and the dominance of the Ravens defensive line became ever so apparent.

The best solution not taken

If the Jets offensive line were failing in protecting the quarterback against the Ravens defensive line, the most logical solution might have been to add support to the line. The Jets needed to always maintain LaDainian Tomlinson, an excellent pass blocker, and a Dustin Keller in every play to provide protection. Sanchez’s problem in the game was that he never had ample time to complete the play yet the Jets rarely addressed this. While they Jets did run a few plays with Tomlinson and Keller as pass blockers, the Jets eventually began to deviate from this principal. The Jets ran a 5 wide receiver set at  one point and ran one back formations where the back was running a passing route. Not surprisingly, it was in these plays that the Ravens pressured Sanchez and the play resulted in a turnover.

The weakness of the Ravens laid in their backfield as the Ravens secondary (excluding Reed, of course) could not match up against the Jets receivers. The key was that Sanchez needed enough time to complete his passes on the mismatches. The few times the Jets did provide Sanchez with additional protection Sanchez had enough time to complete the pass; often for big gains. Yet after seeing these results the Jets then moved on the following plays to remove the additional protection. The Jets ignored the main problem and did not acknowledge that the foremost issue: additional pass protection. The Jets could have chose to win but chose rather to be ignorant and lose the game.

Photo credits: Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

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Written by Nassau Jones

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