In a week 2 preseason matchup the New York Jets fell 15-13 to the Washington Redskins on a game winning field goal. Dustin Hopkins nailed his fifth field goal of the night to win it for Washington. The Jets came back down to earth in the first half of this game. As there were things to be pleased with and things to be not so pleased. The Redskins went into halftime leading 9-3. The Redskins went on to take a 12-3 lead but Teddy Bridgewater and the Jets offense rallied off 10 unanswered points to take a 13-12 lead. The Redskins then marched down the field with two minutes to go setting up a game winning field goal for Hopkins. There were certainly some goods and some bads. The Jets put up 234 total yards and allowed 342 yards. They only averaged 2.9 yards per rush which will not win you many football games in the NFL. They turned the ball over twice, throwing two interceptions and had 6 penalties that cost them 70 yards.
The Quarterback Room
I will start off breaking down the most intriguing battle for the Jets the QB room. Sam Darnold made his first NFL start against the Redskins going 8/11 with 62 yards and an interception. He was sacked twice and put up 3 points on the scoreboard. There were good and bad instances in his first NFL start. He managed to put together two impressive drives in which he displayed good pocket presence and poise. He showed the ability to hang in the pocket under pressure but also held onto the ball too long at times. He forced a 4th down pass targeted for Kearse for an interception but had no play. He made a couple of extremely accurate throws through some tight windows and showed the ability to read the defense. Overall he was not flashy or spectacular but solid.
Bridgewater entered to play the second half and played well. He made some real good throws throughout the half. He finished 10/15 with 127 yards and one TD/INT a piece. What stands out to me was his drive to start the 4th quarter. He had great pocket presence and made some great reads capping off the drive with a 16 yard touchdown to Charone Peake. He went 4/5 with 65 yards and 3 first downs on the drive. He displayed great accuracy and pocket awareness the entire second half. His only misplay came on an interception on the following drive where he under threw teammate Charles Johnson. He also took some tough hits which as irrelevant as it seems was big for Teddy. It will help him become comfortable in the pocket and trust his knee again. After his second good outing in a row, Bridgewater leaves the Jets thinking whether they consider him as a potential starter for week 1 or valuable trade bait.
McCown did not play in the game against the Redskins but practically served as a coach. There was not an instance tonight that you saw McCown not with one of his fellow QBs mentoring. McCown continues to be a great mentor to Sam Darnold and an overall key contributor to the QB room.
Bend, Don’t Break
The defense was not as good as last week but still solid. They opened up the game with a rough drive against Alex Smith and the Washington offense. They managed to stop the surging Redskins and hold them to a field goal. That was the theme for the Jets defense against the Skins: bend but don’t break. There were multiple instances that it seemed as if Washington was marching to the end zone but suddenly were halted by the Jets defense. This shows toughness and leadership that the defense needs. They also forced a turnover as Doug Middleton picked off Colt McCoy and returned it for 40 yards. The Jets backups on defense could not stop the Redskins two minute drill to end the game as they surrendered a game winning drive. Robinson, who played fairly well, let up a reception to Charles Sims to set up a game winning field goal. There were no true standouts on the defensive side as they turned in a solid performance.
Some standouts that caught my eye include Tre McBride who made some good plays in the first half which helps him in his fight to make the roster. He is battling against guys like Stewart, Hansen and Peake and this is the second week in a row he has stood out a little. Charone Peake is also a standout from tonights game making a highlight reel catch for a 16 yard touchdown from Bridgewater. Middleton played well replacing Marcus Maye returning an INT for 40 yards. Nathan Shepherd and Jordan Jenkins stood out on the defensive line. Shepherd stands out because of the passion and toughness he played with and Jenkins pressured the QB a couple times despite a roughing the passer penalty. Rashard Robinson showed flashes of being a good man-to-man coverage guy for the Jets. The biggest standout was Bridgewater, who makes Bowles decision of who to start week one a whole lot harder.
Thomas Rawls did not seize a good opportunity with Crowell being inactive. Darron Lee had a bad horse collar penalty and did not have a great night on defense. As a whole, the Jets showed weakness in their running game, not being able to get it going at all. Bilal Powell showed glimpses but that came without consistency and Rawls did not do anything. With 2 minutes left in the game trailing by 2 the Jets were unable to punch the ball in on both 2nd and 3rd goal 2 yards short of the goal line. The Jets offensive line did not open up good enough holes and provided average quarterback protection at best. The Jets did not pressure the Redskins QB’s nearly enough as they have to. This is perhaps the biggest problem with the Jets roster, lack of a good edge rusher. Jordan Jenkins showed glimpses, Terrance Brooks had a sack but there was really no noise in the pass rush tonight.
The Jets head back to New Jersey for another week of practice to prep for their next preseason matchup against cross town rival New York Giants.