The Jets have 99 problems and every single one of them is Ryan Fitzpatrick. Todd Bowles finally did something about the issue late in a blowout loss to the Cardinals on Monday night, inserting Geno Smith into the game with the Jets trailing 28-3.
Now he's got to decide whether he wants to move forward with Smith under center. It's kind of an easy choice, honestly, although Bowles says he plans to charge on ahead with Fitz, unafraid of what could go wrong.
"Smith played [the role of] a relief pitcher," Bowles said after the game. "Fitz will be back next week."
Fitzpatrick was an absolute, unmitigated disaster for the Jets against Arizona. Look at the first 10 drives of the game for the Jets starting quarterback who might not hold that title for much longer.
|Start||Time of Poss.||Plays||Yards||Result|
That's not great. The only reason things weren't uglier is that the Jets would run only three plays and give the ball back to Arizona. There weren't enough plays being run by the Jets in order to let the Cardinals generate any sacks (they finished with only one) or turnovers until that 10th drive, when the Jets finally got near the red zone.
The field got condensed and Fitzpatrick did what he's done best this season: Throw a pick.
The Jets never had a chance, primarily because of what Fitz couldn't do with the ball (placing it near his wide receivers hands).
Bowles did acknowledge that "anything's possible" the rest of the season, which means barring Fitzpatrick finding the magic he conjured up against the Bills in Week 2 -- how long ago does that game feel? -- there is probably going to be a look for Geno down the road.
Smith provided the Jets with an immediate spark of sorts, completing a few passes and helping them move down the field. Then he ran into the Honey Badger.
Tyrann Mathieu just wanted the ball more than the receiver, and the fourth-and-11 situation didn't do Geno any favors either. That's a tough spot to work from.
Not that the world is expecting Geno to be great. There's a reason he's sitting behind Fitzpatrick. But he can't possibly be worse than what we've seen from Fitzpatrick the past few weeks.
Here are four more takeaways from Arizona's dominant performance ...
1. The best running back in football
In his second year, David Johnson, the third-round pick out of Northern Iowa, may already have developed into the best back in football. Le'Veon Bell and Ezekiel Elliott are in the conversation, but Johnson's combination of size, strength, speed, patience and vision is remarkable.
Look at him wait for this play to develop, make a move, burst down the field and rumble for a 58-yard touchdown.
That was the Cardinals first first-quarter score of the entire season somehow. It sure wasn't Johnson's final touchdown of the night.
Johnson would stroll into the end zone twice more, mostly untouched.
D.J. finished with 111 rushing yards and 138 total yards, compiling another monster game, building on an incredible performance down the stretch last season and parlaying it into a monster season so far.
He might not have the biggest name in football but he's got the best game of any running back right now. He's as complete as anyone, with home run speed and strength to run between the tackles.
2. Poor Pat P
Every week the Cardinals quarterbacks play a game where they throw footballs at trash cans and whoever loses has to wear an embarrassing costume during pregame warm ups.
Because he has a good arm and is competitive, Patrick Peterson joins these competitions. He doesn't always win and sometimes he ends up wearing a dinosaur costume while dancing around the field.
3. Palmer's progression
The first half of that game for Carson Palmer wasn't pretty. He was getting chased a little bit and looked horribly inaccurate. Multiple star quarterbacks are struggling to produce this season and Palmer is one of them. He's looked very different from the MVP-caliber player he was last season, but we started to see flashes of the guy who dominated last year in the second half.
Palmer improved tremendously down the stretch and it showed in a huge way on his final drive, an absolute march that culminated in a 9-yard touchdown pass to Michael Floyd.
On that drive, Palmer went 6 for 8 for 67 yards.
He got Floyd the ball in the end zone and he finally got John Brown -- who somehow ended up leading the Cards in receiving -- involved as well.
There's too much talent on the Cardinals offense for them to keep struggling. Whether or not the Jets were maxing out their ability to play defense is up for debate, but the Cards and Palmer finally started to get the offense rolling in the second half on Monday. That's huge news for their postseason hopes.
4. What's next?
The Cardinals embark on a critical stretch. Matchups against Seattle, Carolina, Minnesota and Atlanta loom between now and Thanksgiving weekend. There's no bigger battle than the home game against the Seahawks next Sunday night. That's a special treat in prime time that's going to have a major impact on the early NFC West race. Arizona is back in the hunt but two games behind the Seahawks. A win would make a massive difference.
The Jets need to start scouting for the draft. At 1-5, their season is just about over. The good news is they finally get an easy stretch of schedule. After a brutal start to the season, the Jets get the Ravens, Browns, Dolphins and Rams. It might not matter given where they are and where the quarterback situation stands. We saw the Chiefs get back in the hunt last year after the same start, but this is not the same situation.