Good Geno, Bad Geno: Glimpses of both showed up in the first 13 minutes of the game. Let's start with the bad since it reared its head on the second play, Geno Smith's interception on the throw to Stephen Hill. It seemed fairly straight forward, just an underthrown pass, but there was more to it than that. Smith's first read, I'm told, was Santonio Holmes on a front-side post route. Holmes broke into the clear over the middle, but it was too late. Smith moved off Holmes too quickly, setting his sights on Hill, 27 yards downfield. Smith threw it to the wrong guy. Bad read, bad throw, bad everything. It set a bad tone for the game.
Later in the first quarter, with 2:22 remaining, Smith made one of those plays that makes you think he can be The Guy. On a third-and-10, he hung tough in the pocket and got blasted as he delivered a 25-yard strike to Holmes, who made a diving catch. Late in the game, Smith showed terrific ball placement on a crossing route to Jeff Cumberland, who made the catch and ran most of the way for a 37-yard touchdown. Unfortunately for Smith, the bad plays far outweighed the good ones.
Interception No. 2: This was another bad decision by Smith. He received nice pass protection on a five-man rush, but he stared down Holmes the entire time, failing to see Kellen Winslow open over the middle. He forced the ball to Holmes, who was blanketed by Alterraun Verner, an emerging talent at cornerback. Verner made his second interception of the day.
Let's not forget the sacks: I'd attribute two of the five sacks to Smith's indecision in the pocket. A quarterback should not be sacked on a screen pass, but Smith let it happen twice, resulting in losses of 14 yards (a near safety) and 14 yards (the Behind-the-Butt Fumble/strip sack/touchdown). On the first one, he was supposed to throw a middle screen to Bilal Powell, but Powell got caught up in the traffic. Smith saw it, but instead of dirting the ball, he retreated.
On the touchdown, the timing of the play was out of sync from the outset, as DT Karl Klug got into Smith's face immediately. Powell was open in the left flat. The play reminded me of the Ziggy Ansah pick-six in the preseason. Unlike Mark Sanchez, Smith ate the ball, trying the ill-advised, behind-the-back maneuver. Bad idea. The result was the same as the Sanchez play -- six points the other way.
Dealing with the blitz: The Jets shouldn't have been surprised by anything they saw from the Titans defense. In the first three games, the Titans sent five or more rushers on 45 percent of the pass plays. Unofficially, they sent extra rushers on 44 percent of the plays against the Jets, who struggled against the five-man rushes in particular -- two interceptions, two sacks. The damning statistic? The Jets allowed four sacks on first down. Not good.
Here's a breakdown of how Smith fared versus the different rushes:
Three man: 3-for-3, 48 yards.
Four-man: 13-for-16, 104 yards, two sacks, two scrambles for 19 yards.
Five-man: 5-for-11, 77 yards, two interceptions, two sacks.
Six-man: 2-for-3, 70 yards, 1 sack.
Eight-man: 0-for-1. (This occurred with the ball at the Jets' 2-yard line. It was a classic jailbreak and, by the whistle, 17 of the 22 players on the field were in the end zone.)
Vlad's Waterloo?: This was the second straight poor performance by LG Vladimir Ducasse, who is on the verge of being replaced by rookie Brian Winters. That change likely will occur this week, according to a source. It might have happened in the preseason, but Winters missed time with an ankle injury. Ducasse played well in Week 2 against the New England Patriots, but he followed with a four-penalty game against the Buffalo Bills. In Nashville, his pass protection was terrible.
Ducasse didn't allow any sacks, per se, but he surrendered pressures that contributed to the Titans' first two sacks. On the first sack, he got caught leaning to his left and was beaten with an inside move by DT Jurrell Casey. On the second sack, Ducasse got turned around -- his back was literally facing the line of scrimmage -- and was beaten by DT Antonio Johnson, who flushed Smith out of the pocket.
By my count, Ducasse allowed three pressures and four QB hits. And, oh yes, he was flagged for a false start and holding (declined).
Odds and ends: The Jets' standing as the No. 1 red zone defense took a hit, as they allowed three touchdowns in four red zone chances. On Delanie Walker's 1-yard touchdown catch, LB David Harris bit hard on a play fake and couldn't get back in time. On Justin Hunter's 16-yard scoring reception at the end of the first half, an absolute killer, the Jets had the perfect call. They used quarters coverage, with a defender on every receiver in the end zone. Problem was, CB Darrin Walls let the rookie beat him in a jump-ball situation.