Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Hard Landing for Geno, Jets

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Hard Landing for Geno, Jets

Article excerpt

BALTIMORE - Geno Smith had one completion on the Jets' lone scoring drive Sunday. So did Josh Cribbs, the team's kick-return specialist.

Smith also had the same amount of receptions as he did completions on that march.

Those statistics speak to the fact that the Jets are trying their best to minimize their rookie quarterback's impact upon the game. And judging by his latest performance, it's hard to blame them.

Smith was charged with three turnovers, giving him 23 for the season, as the Jets were drubbed by Baltimore, 19-3, at M&T Bank Stadium. After becoming the first team in NFL history to alternate wins and losses through its first 10 games, the Jets (5-6) lost their second straight. They are tied with five other teams, including Baltimore, in the crowded race for the second wild-card spot in the mediocre AFC.

"We lost. We didn't play Jets football," defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson tersely said.

Actually, they did play Jets football -- at least the 2013 version of it. Throughout the season, the Jets have featured mostly poor play at quarterback and a secondary that repeatedly has been beaten on deep balls.

Both of those shortcomings again were on display on a cold, windy day. Baltimore's Joe Flacco completed passes of 60 and 66 yards, the latter a game-sealing touchdown to Jacoby Jones.

And although Smith (9-for-22, 127 yards) didn't throw a pick-six as he did against Buffalo last week, he had two interceptions and was charged with a lost fumble. Among his 23 turnovers are 18 picks. Smith's passer rating of 22.3 against Baltimore actually is an improvement over the 10.1 rating he posted in the loss to the Bills.

When coach Rex Ryan was asked point-blank if Smith will be the starting quarterback against Miami next week, he danced around the question.

"I'm not going to talk about one individual," he said. "That's not where I'm at tonight."

Although Franklin Lakes native Matt Simms has even less NFL game experience, perhaps he could provide a spark for the Jets' offense. …

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