EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Jets’ surprising start has taken a turn toward ugly.
After a 25-20 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday stretched the Jets’ losing skid to three, one of their most respected players, Matt Forte, questioned the playcalling at rain-soaked MetLife Stadium.
“I only had four carries this game,” Forte said. “I don’t think we ran the ball enough with this weather being the way it was.”
It was a season low in carries for Forte, who finished with only 7 yards. The Jets (3-5) ran 22 times, compared to 36 dropbacks for quarterback Josh McCown, who passed for 257 yards and two touchdowns.
Forte said the game plan called for the Jets to feature the running game, but he believes they “strayed” from that.
“Definitely surprised by that,” Forte said. “We knew the weather was going to be like this. It continued to rain the entire game. I think we ran the ball only 20 times, something like that. There should’ve been at least one person getting 20 carries, the way the weather was. I thought we were going to grind them out on the ground. It ended up not turning out that way.”
The playcaller is first-time offensive coordinator John Morton, who operates a West Coast offense and has a passing background. He spent the past two seasons as the receivers coach for the New Orleans Saints.
“I think he’d probably say because he’s more of a pass-type of guy, coming from New Orleans, where they’re in a dome and you have Drew Brees, of course, throwing the ball,” Forte said. “You have to analyze your team and see what your guys do best.”
It was a one-possession game throughout the fourth quarter, yet the Jets passed on eight of their first 10 plays before they got into must-pass mode in the final minute. In fairness to Morton, the Jets struggled to run against the Falcons, managing only 43 yards.
Forte acknowledged as much, but he said they should’ve copied the Falcons’ approach.
“The running game is where you keep wearing on a defense,” he said. “The more you run it, then later on, you may pop a big one. [The Falcons] did that. We held them to under 3 yards a carry until they broke a long one at the end. We just have to keep grinding.”
Forte was referring to Tevin Coleman’s 52-yard run for Atlanta in the fourth quarter.
Forte said it would’ve been pointless to lobby Morton during the game because it was “pretty apparent” that the plan was to feature the running game.
“Everybody knows that was the game plan, and that’s what we wanted to do,” he said. “I’m not going to be on the headset telling somebody how to do their job.”
Forte said players “will and have” talked to Morton in the past about becoming more balanced offensively.
“We definitely have to get on the same page — everybody,” he said.