5 biggest takeaways from Jets’ blowout loss to Cowboys in Big D

Jets game takeaways
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb is tackled by New York Jets safety Tony Adams and cornerback Michael Carter II. during the first half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

There was a reason the New York Jets were nine-point underdogs to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. Without Aaron Rodgers, the Jets’ defense struggled to get stops, and the offense failed to protect the quarterback in the team’s 30-10 loss to the Cowboys in Arlington. 

In a 20-point blowout, there are hardly many positives to look through. That being said, there were a couple of things that stood out in a good way for New York.

We go through the five biggest takeaways here. 

Zach Wilson wasn’t the reason for the loss

We can argue about the three interceptions when the team was down three scores, or the fact the defense was on the field for an overwhelming amount of time, but Zach Wilson was not a problem for the Jets on Sunday. While the game was just a one-score contest, the Jets’ quarterback was the reason for the team still being in the game.

New York’s offensive problems rest solely along the offensive line. Wilson was pressured on 53% of his dropbacks – an absurd amount. The three interceptions were bad, but his touchdown throw to Garrett Wilson, and the improved footwork was a sign of improvement from the young quarterback. 

He still has a long way to go, but Wilson was not the reason for the Jets loss.

O-Line is the team’s weakest link and needs changes

That reason was along the offensive line. The Jets were overmatched and outmanned in the trenches and it showed all game Sunday. Wilson and the receiving core did what they could, but it certainly wasn’t enough to thwart the likes of Micah Parsons and Demarcus Lawrence. 

The Jets needed to be able to be effective running the ball and they weren’t. They averaged under three yards a carry. They needed to protect the quarterback, and Wilson was harassed throughout the game. It didn’t matter if it was Duane Brown, Laken Tomlinson, or Alijah Vera-Tucker, everyone on the offensive line was very bad against the Cowboys. 

Tackling is still a major issue on defense

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb is tackled by New York Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner during the second half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Sam Hodde)

When Aaron Rodgers went down, the understanding from fans and analysts was that the defense would need to be historic to save their season.

The first chance they got to prove that failed miserably. 

Dallas recorded close to 400 total yards of offense, 30 points, and struggled insanely on third down. All of that was bad. The tackling was the worst part though. Whether it was Sauce Gardner being sucked inside on several long runs, or missed tackles on short passes that turned into big gains, the Jets had a tackling problem on Sunday that needs to be fixed as quickly as possible. 

With the Patriots, Chiefs, and Eagles all on the upcoming schedule, the Jets’ defense needs to be a lot better than they were on Sunday and that starts with tackling better. 

The coaching staff looked outmatched and passive

As strong as the coaching staff was in Monday night’s win over the Bills, the coaching staff was not very good against the Cowboys. On offense, Nathaniel Hackett did not adjust or seemingly prepare for the dominance of the Cowboys’ defensive line. Add in the fact he kept running to the left side even though the right side was averaging over six yards a carry. 

It’s not a coincidence that the Jets should be running behind AVT and Mekhi Becton. They are great run blockers. To run away from them doesn’t make sense and shows that Hackett was simply outmatched against Dan Quinn. 

On defense, it wasn’t much better. Jeff Ulbrich didn’t have an answer for CeeDee Lamb. Lamb had 11 catches for over 140 yards. The pass rush was also nonexistent. 

Anywhere you turned, it seemed the Jets were playing a different type of game than the Cowboys. That’s an indictment on the coaching staff for this week. 

The season is still not over

Jets fall to Cowboys 30-10
New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson passes under pressure from Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons during the first half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Sam Hodde)

A lot of things went wrong Sunday evening in Arlington, Texas. 

That doesn’t mean the season is over. 

New York took on a top-five team in the NFL this year and is a favorite to reach the Super Bowl. It was the first game without their Hall-of-Fame quarterback and it was also in a hostile environment. With early season struggles, it’s important to keep a level head. Most people did not have the Jets walking into Dallas with Rodgers and winning. Those expectations were worse with Wilson at quarterback. 

This defense is still an elite group, and there are plenty of top weapons to rely on throughout the year. In short, the Jets season isn’t close to being over just because they were blown out by a championship contender. 

They will still be a playoff team. 

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