When defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson is the first player to reach the end zone, you know Marty Mornhinweg's offense is in trouble. Santonio Holmes proved to be the "weakest link" of an underwhelming receiving corps. He dropped an easy first-quarter pass and didn't record his first catch until the fourth quarter. Holmes had just two catches on eight targets for 14 yards. Geno Smith threw his fifth pick-6 of the season. He was sacked four times and completed 15 of 28 passes for 167 yards and a touchdown. The bright side: Chris Ivory rushed for 66 yards, including a 35-yard run, and Jeff Cumberland caught a 35-yard pass and a touchdown.
Despite several good plays by Quinton Coples (sack, five tackles), Calvin Pace (his career-high ninth sack) and Richardson (four tackles), the defense allowed Cam Newton (16-for-24, 273 yards) to finish with a 118.9 rating. Worst of all, the Jets allowed DeAngelo Williams to turn a screen pass into a 72-yard touchdown. That "was a back-breaker," Rex Ryan said. Other than that, the unit limited the Panthers to three field goals in the first half. True, Ryan's defense is overworked. But that's no excuse for allowing plays of 72, 36, 27 and 23 yards.
SPECIAL TEAMS: D
Kicker Nick Folk once again did his job, nailing field goals of 54 and 33 yards. But Ryan Quigley's blocked punt was a game-changer. Jason Williams beat Tanner Purdum and Garrett McIntyre for the easy block that resulted in a Mike Tolbert score four plays later to make it 23-13.
The Jets were in it until the start of the fourth quarter. Mornhinweg called some nice plays, especially early on (i.e., a quarterback keeper on the first drive). But here's one baffling stat: Fullback Tommy Bohanon had more targets (two) than tight end Kellen Winslow Jr., who had one catch for 12 yards.