In Week 3’s Monday Night Football matchup we saw the Chicago Bears escape New York with a victory, beating the Jets by a final score of 27-19. The Bears are now tied for first in the NFC North with the Detroit Lions at 2-1, while the Jets (1-2) fall to third place, trailing the Patriots and the surprising first place team Buffalo Bills.
On the second play of the game from scrimmage, Geno Smith attempted to dump off a pass to Chris Johnson at the Jets 45 yard line, but Bears safety Ryan Mundy read the play nicely and intercepted the ball taking it all the way back to the house for a pick-six. This would be the first of Geno Smith’s two interceptions on the night. He finished 26 for 43 with 316 yards and a touchdown along with the interceptions. While Smith still moved the ball and made some plays, many will hang this loss solely on him. It’s hard to battle back against that sentiment, too, as both picks were pretty bad and the one went for a touchdown. Smith had Gang Green in position to tie the game late, but he clearly still struggles with progressions and decision-making. With whispers of a quarterback think tank heading into next week, Smith undoubtedly needs a strong week four to stave off Michael Vick talks.
Eric Decker came into Monday’s game less than 100%, battling a hamstring injury all week. After hauling in one ball for 19 yards, Decker took himself out of the game after feeling tightness that would not subside. Decker said after the game “It was to the point where it wasn’t loosening up, and instead of doing something stupid and really hurting something down the road I decided to pull myself and give myself a chance.” His status will have to be monitored throughout the week as he will probably be questionable for the Jets Week 4 game against the Detroit Lions. With Decker sidelined, Jeremy Kerley stepped up as the Jets number one receiver, finishing with 7 catches on 11 targets for 81 yards and a touchdown. If Decker is unable to suit up next week, Kerley will be a WR3 with upside, especially in PPR formats.
Chris Ivory and Chris Johnson split carries all game, receiving 10 a piece, with Ivory clearly the more productive of the two, running for 44 yards compared to Johnson’s 34. Ivory also caught 4 balls for an additional 52 yards. As Ivory emerges as the better option in their backfield, Chris Johnson is certainly droppable in 10 team leagues.
On the other side of the ball we saw Jay Cutler with another excellent performance, throwing for 225 yards on 23 of 38 passes and a 2:0 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Both of the touchdowns were caught by tight end Martellus Bennett, who is really coming into his own, currently ranked as the 2nd best right end in fantasy. After Monday night’s performance Cutler has found himself as fantasy’s 4th ranked quarterback.
We saw Alshon Jeffery absolutely dominate the Jets secondary making catch after catch and showing why he was a second-third round pick in fantasy drafts this preseason. He finished with 8 catches on 13 targets for 105 yards. Lining up opposite of Jeffery, the all pro wide out Brandon Marshall shot down fantasy owner’s dreams, only catching one ball for 6 yards. Marshall exited the field in what looked to be serious pain after re aggravating the ankle that he has been nursing for the last two weeks. He did end up returning and snagged a touchdown in the back of the endzone, but was called back due to an offensive penalty. His status should be monitored throughout the week, but after returning to the game despite leaving, it suggests he will be fine for next week in what could be a shootout against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. When either receiver is on the field and healthy, expect WR1 numbers.
Matt Forte was bottled up but the NYJ run defense all night carrying the ball 13 times for 33 yards (2.5 ypc), but still managed somewhat respectable numbers after catching 6 balls for 43 yards. He should have a big bounce back game against the Packers next week.