The Jets faltered in their opening matchup against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday at MetLife Stadium, when they lost 24–9 and left lost to be desired.
The game spells trouble for the team that was hoping their new offseason additions would help them improve from their lackluster season last year.
So, what happened? And who’s to blame?
Here’s Week 1’s positional grades for the Jets:
Much of the attention heading into the Jets’ Week 1 matchup surrounded veteran signal caller Joe Flacco, who would be facing off against the Ravens, his former team of 11 years, while starter Zach Wilson continues to miss games with a torn meniscus and bone bruise.
Now at 37-years-old, Flacco’s performance left much to be desired, and prompted a suggestion from head coach Robert Saleh that they could look to bench the veteran in favor of fellow backup Mike White. Still, it’s hard to place all of the blame on Flacco, who was forced to pass a league-high 59 times on Sunday. He boasted a respectable 62.7% completion percentage, and totaled 307 yards with 1 touchdown and an interception.
Flacco didn’t get much help from the rest of his offense, as the offensive line failed to block the aggressive Ravens pass rush. The run game also failed to do much of anything, and made it even harder for Flacco to be the game-manager he would’ve liked.
Flacco made some mistakes, but he wasn’t dealt the best hand. He’s earned a B- for the game.
Offensive line: D
The offensive line allowed Flacco to be sacked 3 times and knocked down 7 other times. The team also saw 24.2% of plays where their passer was under pressure from the opposing defense.
In the run game, the offensive line failed to open many holes for the running back core, which was no serious match for the Raven’s vaunted defensive line.
Granted, they were missing their starting right tackle, Duane Brown, who went onto the IR just days before the game — which was a major blow for the team, that had already lost their starting left tackle, Mekhi Becton, for the year earlier in preseason.
Without Brown, the offensive line looks disheveled and outmatched, and earned them a D for the game.
Running backs: C-
Partly attributable to the dilapidated offensive line, and also because the team was playing from behind for essentially the entire matchup, the Jets managed just 83 yards rushing on Sunday. That came on the second-lowest rushing attempts of any team in the league at just 16.
It was a particularly disappointing debut for Breece Hall, who the Jets drafted in the second round (as the first running back taken) in the 2022 NFL Draft. He saw 6 carries, and managed just 23 yards — including a 14-yard run that somewhat padded his numbers. Hall also lost a fumble, which is never a great sign. The youngster looked like he has far to go if he wants to adjust to the speed and physicality of the pros.
Hall, however, did make an impact in the passing game, where he caught 6 attempts for 38 yards — which should give some hope to fans hoping for him to become the all-down back they’re hoping for.
Michael Carter, who was the only other player to see rushing attempts, did slightly better on the ground, as he rushed for 60 yards on 10 carries, including a solid 22 yard run up the middle in the latter half of the second quarter.
The running game in New York looked supar, but their offensive line didn’t help. They’ve earned a C-.
Wide receivers: C
With Flacco under pressure most of the game, some throws were fairly erratic. Still, the wide receiving core failed to adjust and get open on many occasions, and dropped some catchable balls throughout the game.
Six wide receivers caught passes, with Corey Davis leading the team in receptions (6), targets (9) and yards (77). That was a career-best for the 27-year-old’s tenure in Green and White. Still, he dropped a critical third-and-seven pass that he should have caught, and forced the team to punt the ball away on one of their more disappointing drives.
Meanwhile, rookie Garrett Wilson, who the team added in the first round of this year’s draft, caught only half of his targets, after hauling in 4 passes on 8 attempts. He finished with 52 yards. Fans should take some solace that he looked as explosive as the team was hoping for, he’ll just need to get open sooner, and work out some of the kinks with whoever ends up playing quarterback.
Elijah Moore, who was touted as the number-one option in New York’s passing game, had a relatively quiet day, with 5 receptions on 7 targets for 49 yards. Still, his only two misses were not completely his fault, and his hands looked steady enough.
Tyler Conklin, who joined the team in the offseason, caught the team’s only touchdown pass on their final drive, which came on a 3 yarder from Flacco.
If their quarterbacks can get more time to throw accurately, the wide receiving core will see a major boost. But they’ll need to step up too, as the cavalry is not coming. They earned a C for the game.
Defensive secondary: D
Granted, they were playing against the explosive offensive of the Ravens, led by former MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson, and they did improve towards the end of the game — but the defensive secondary looked less-than-sharp in their opening game.
Cornerback D.J. Reed was the rare bright spot for the group, and made a terrific catch to intercept Jackson in the 4ht quarter on an intended pass for Demarcus Robinson. The Jets went on the score their only touchdown to capitalize on that. Reed also largely kept his defensive assignments in check, and avoided any egregious mistakes.
Still, the team allowed 17 completions of 30 attempts for 213 yards for Jackson, and allowed the signal caller to throw completions to 9 different receivers.
The worst play came when the Jets allowed Rashod Bateman to slip behind the secondary in the third quarter, and catch a 55-yard touchdown from Jackson to bring the score to 24-3. All Jets’ Lamarcus Joyner and Jordan Whitehead could do was watch the ball sail over their heads and their opponent dance into the end zone.
Lamar Jackson 55-yard DART to Rashod Bateman 🎯
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 11, 2022
For those looking for a hint of hope, rookie cornerback Sauce Garnder, who the Jets selected with the 4th overall pick in the 2022 draft, played with poise, and made just a few errors. He recorded two solo tackles and one pass defended, and stopped a possible touchdown from Mark Andrews towards the end of the half with an excellent tackle.
Overall, though, the secondary was weak, and earned a D for the contest.
Defensive front: A-
While most every other unit on the team played poorly, the defensive line actually stepped up and had a solid performance.
They brought pressure on Jackson throughout the game, sacking him 2 times and hitting him on another 5 plays. While Jackson is among the most mobile quarterbacks in the game, and can often get away from pressure, he looked uncomfortable on several occasions, as the big-men up front got behind the Ravens o-line.
Their best achievement, though, was against the Baltimore running game — as they allowed just 63 yards on 21 carries, which was the closest rushing total of any Lamar Jackson-led offensive in his NFL career.
For that, they’ve earned an A- for their performance.