Rex Ryan Unsure If Mark Sanchez Will Play In Season Finale

Loss by Jacksonville gives Jets spot in playoffs

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Mark Sanchez' Status For Finale Against Bills Is Undecided

New York Jets coach Rex Ryan said Monday that he in uncertain right now whether or not quarterback Mark Sanchez will play in the team’s final game of the regular season Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. Sanchez is nursing a shoulder injury, and the Jets have already clinched a berth in the AFC playoffs.

“My first thinking was good, we’ll just rest him, but I’m not so sure. I don’t know if that’s best for him. We’re going to weigh it as the week goes on,” Ryan said. “I want to win this game. I think it can really help us. Winning 11 games in the regular season would be an outstanding regular season for us. That’s the goal. It’s a fine line. If a guy’s injured, we’re not going to play him.”

Ryan appears to believe in the theory Tom Coughlin used with the Giants in 2007. Having clinched a playoff berth a week earlier, Coughlin could have rested players in the season finale against unbeaten New England. He chose not to, and the Giants turned in a great performance — even though they lost — that helped propel them to a Super Bowl title.

“You want to go in with a win. That’s really what we want to do,” Ryan said.

Ryan also expressed concern about the defense that is supposed to be the cornerstone of everything the 10-5 Jets do following a 38-34 loss to Chicago in which the unit did not play well.

“We have to get this defense back to the way we’re capable of playing. It’s like beating a dead horse, but it’s like we did with Mark (Sanchez). We talked fundamentals and (worked on) his technique. We really focused on it and he got better. Now, he’s looked like a different quarterback these last couple of weeks,” Ryan said. “That’s what you have to do. I don’t want to say I’m diminishing what Chicago accomplished because they made some plays, but that wasn’t our best. We need to get back. There are no excuses. To get back to who our defense is, we need to practice. We’re going to go back to individual drills (and) fundamental drills and really hone that in, which is kind of unusual at this time of year. We really have to because that’s how we’re going to get better.”

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Bears 38, Jets 34: Jets Playoff-Bound Despite Loss

Chicago, IL (Sports Network) – Jay Cutler’s touchdown pass to Johnny Knox late in the third quarter was the go-ahead score, and a Chris Harris interception in the final minute provided the punctuation as Chicago outlasted the New York Jets, 38-34, at Soldier Field.

Mark Sanchez struck for 269 yards, one score and that costly late interception on 24-of-37 passing for the Jets (10-5), who despite the loss locked up a playoff berth. That’s because Jacksonville lost at home in overtime to Washington.

“That’s not the way I wanted it, but I’ll take it,” Jets head coach Rex Ryan said about his club’s back-door clinch.

Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson each scored on the ground, Dustin Keller led the way with 79 yards on seven grabs and Santonio Holmes added a TD catch in defeat.

Cutler finished just 13-of-25, but passed for three TDs and 215 yards while also rushing for a score for the Bears (11-4), who reeled off their seventh win in eight games.

“We came into it knowing we were going to have to take a few shots, go vertical on them,” Cutler said. “We knew with our speed it would be hard for them to keep up.”

Matt Forte racked up 113 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries, Knox posted 92 yards and two scores on four receptions and Devin Hester also recorded a TD catch for Chicago. The NFC North champions can clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs if the Eagles lose at home to Minnesota on Tuesday.

Chicago snapped the final tie of the game, taking a 38-31 lead with 6:06 to play in the third when Cutler hit Knox for a 26-yard score. On the ensuing New York series, Holmes narrowly missed a diving TD catch and the Jets had to settle for a 34-yard make from Nick Folk on the second play of the fourth for a 38-34 game.

Robbie Gould missed a 35-yard attempt with 11:26 remaining, then the Jets were forced to punt despite reaching Chicago’s side of the field on their next drive.

The Bears took over on their own 10 with 5:33 remaining but went three-and- out, and a booming punt left New York at its own 40 with 4:32 to go. The Jets also failed to move the ball and pinned Chicago at its own five with just over three minutes to play.

Forte picked up one first down but the Bears were again forced to punt, and the Jets had 63 seconds with no timeouts to move 72 yards. A defensive offside call made it 1st-and-5 but Harris stepped in front of the Sanchez pass at the Chicago 41.

“We talk a lot about finishing. That’s definitely what we did,” Bears head coach Lovie Smith said. “We knew that we were playing a team that was gonna give us a lot of pressure. Our receivers did a great job and the offensive line was great, having to get our running game in gear at this point of the season.”

Cutler took a knee twice to wrap up the game.

“To lose the game and still make the playoffs, that’s the best news you can have after a loss,” Sanchez mused.

Gould’s wounded-duck 37-yard field goal capped the opening drive of the contest.

Holmes then fumbled on a 1st-and-10 from his own 38, and Chris Harris picked up the loose ball on the Jets’ 45. Four plays later Forte broke several tackles up the middle on a 22-yard TD scamper.

The Jets cut their deficit to 10-7 on the first play of the second as Greene scored from the three, then moved ahead 14-10 when Dwight Lowery picked off Cutler and raced 20 yards to the end zone.

New York took over at the Chicago 36 just before the midway point of the period, and Tomlinson finished off that brief drive with a three-yard score which gave the Jets an 11-point bulge.

However, Cutler rolled in from the two to complete the following series and the Bears were within 21-17 with 2:44 left before halftime.

Folk connected from 26 yards out with 12 seconds left and it was a seven-point game at the break.

After holding the Jets during a 4th-and-3 from their own 40 on their opening series of the second half, Cutler hit Knox on the next play for a 40-yard TD to tie the game 24-all.

Hester’s 38-yard punt return to the Jets’ 32 set up his own 25-yard touchdown reception, but the visitors responded immediately on a 23-yard Sanchez-to- Holmes strike for a 31-31 deadlock.

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Bears 38, Jets 34: Jets Playoff-Bound Despite Loss

Chicago, IL (Sports Network) – Jay Cutler’s touchdown pass to Johnny Knox late in the third quarter was the go-ahead score, and a Chris Harris interception in the final minute provided the punctuation as Chicago outlasted the New York Jets, 38-34, at Soldier Field.

Mark Sanchez struck for 269 yards, one score and that costly late interception on 24-of-37 passing for the Jets (10-5), who despite the loss locked up a playoff berth. That’s because Jacksonville lost at home in overtime to Washington.

"That’s not the way I wanted it, but I’ll take it," Jets head coach Rex Ryan said about his club’s back-door clinch.

Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson each scored on the ground, Dustin Keller led the way with 79 yards on seven grabs and Santonio Holmes added a TD catch in defeat.

Cutler finished just 13-of-25, but passed for three TDs and 215 yards while also rushing for a score for the Bears (11-4), who reeled off their seventh win in eight games.

"We came into it knowing we were going to have to take a few shots, go vertical on them," Cutler said. "We knew with our speed it would be hard for them to keep up."

Matt Forte racked up 113 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries, Knox posted 92 yards and two scores on four receptions and Devin Hester also recorded a TD catch for Chicago. The NFC North champions can clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs if the Eagles lose at home to Minnesota on Tuesday.

Chicago snapped the final tie of the game, taking a 38-31 lead with 6:06 to play in the third when Cutler hit Knox for a 26-yard score. On the ensuing New York series, Holmes narrowly missed a diving TD catch and the Jets had to settle for a 34-yard make from Nick Folk on the second play of the fourth for a 38-34 game.

Robbie Gould missed a 35-yard attempt with 11:26 remaining, then the Jets were forced to punt despite reaching Chicago’s side of the field on their next drive.

The Bears took over on their own 10 with 5:33 remaining but went three-and- out, and a booming punt left New York at its own 40 with 4:32 to go. The Jets also failed to move the ball and pinned Chicago at its own five with just over three minutes to play.

Forte picked up one first down but the Bears were again forced to punt, and the Jets had 63 seconds with no timeouts to move 72 yards. A defensive offside call made it 1st-and-5 but Harris stepped in front of the Sanchez pass at the Chicago 41.

"We talk a lot about finishing. That’s definitely what we did," Bears head coach Lovie Smith said. "We knew that we were playing a team that was gonna give us a lot of pressure. Our receivers did a great job and the offensive line was great, having to get our running game in gear at this point of the season."

Cutler took a knee twice to wrap up the game.

"To lose the game and still make the playoffs, that’s the best news you can have after a loss," Sanchez mused.

Gould’s wounded-duck 37-yard field goal capped the opening drive of the contest.

Holmes then fumbled on a 1st-and-10 from his own 38, and Chris Harris picked up the loose ball on the Jets’ 45. Four plays later Forte broke several tackles up the middle on a 22-yard TD scamper.

The Jets cut their deficit to 10-7 on the first play of the second as Greene scored from the three, then moved ahead 14-10 when Dwight Lowery picked off Cutler and raced 20 yards to the end zone.

New York took over at the Chicago 36 just before the midway point of the period, and Tomlinson finished off that brief drive with a three-yard score which gave the Jets an 11-point bulge.

However, Cutler rolled in from the two to complete the following series and the Bears were within 21-17 with 2:44 left before halftime.

Folk connected from 26 yards out with 12 seconds left and it was a seven-point game at the break.

After holding the Jets during a 4th-and-3 from their own 40 on their opening series of the second half, Cutler hit Knox on the next play for a 40-yard TD to tie the game 24-all.

Hester’s 38-yard punt return to the Jets’ 32 set up his own 25-yard touchdown reception, but the visitors responded immediately on a 23-yard Sanchez-to- Holmes strike for a 31-31 deadlock.



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Jets At Bears: No Win, But Jets Playoff Bound

The talk about the Jets being "lucky" isn't going to stop any time soon. Despite losing in Chicago, the Jets are going to playoffs for the second time in as many years with Rex Ryan as their head coach and Mark Sanchez as their starting quarterback.

This team has flaws, especially on the defensive side of the football. However, before you write the Jets off as fluke light weight playoff team, remember how they rallied to win a pair of playoff games last season despite being a flawed team.

The Jets are inconsistent on both sides of the football. In certain weeks, their defense looks playoff caliber. Remember holding Baltimore to 10 points? Green Bay to 9 points? Pittsburgh to 17 points? In other weeks, their offense looks borderline unstoppable, as it did today. Unfortunately, the lack of consistency for both units makes it highly unpredictable what we will see from the Jets when Wild-Card Weekend comes around.

It is looking like the Jets will be heading to Kansas City in round one, which is certainly a winnable game. Yet that is an article for another day. Today, shrug off everybody hating on the Jets and enjoy the fact you are rooting for a playoff team because once you get into the tournament, anything can happen.

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Jets At Bears: When The Bears Have The Ball

(Sports Network) – Chicago’s best offense has been its great defense, largely because the actual offense hasn’t produced much. The Bears are 19th in the league in scoring (20.9 ppg) and no better than 25th in the league in any other category, where they account for 99 rushing yards per game. The total yardage clip of 291.6 per game is third from the bottom among 32 teams, while the passing average of 192.6 yards per week is just 26th. The Jets have managed top-10 proficiency in all ball-stopping categories, limiting foes to 18.5 points (fifth overall), 298.6 total yards (fifth), 205.9 passing yards (ninth) and 92.7 rushing yards (fourth) per game through 15 weeks.

Jay Cutler passed for 357 yards and two touchdowns in his only game against the Jets, while with Denver in 2008. He threw for three scores last week and had a 106.6 passer rating. When Cutler has a 100-plus rating, his teams are 20-0. Running back Matt Forte has 1,296 scrimmage yards this season, becoming one of two Bears with 1,000-plus in each of his first three seasons. Wideout Johnny Knox had a 67-yard touchdown grab against the Vikings and averages 18.5 yards per catch, third in the NFC with a minimum of 40 receptions. Tight end Greg Olsen needs 130 yards to reach 500 for the third consecutive season. He would be the first Chicago tight end since Mike Ditka with three 500-yard seasons in row. Lastly, wideout Earl Bennett needs a catch to reach 100 for his career.

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Jets At Bears: When The Jets Have The Ball

(Sports Network) – The big question is week is whether or not Mark Sanchez will start at quarterback. His shoulder injury may leave the Jets with 40-year-old Mark Brunell calling signals.

The Jets haven’t terrified anyone on offense even with Sanchez, settling for the middle of the pack statistically in the categories of points per game (21.1, 18th in the league), total yardage per game (345.4, 13th) and passing yardage per game (204.4, 20th). They’ve made the most impact on the ground with a run game that’s accounted for 141 yards per contest, sixth-best in the league. Meanwhile, the Bears have maintained their signature stinginess, placing third in the league in scoring defense (17.3 ppg), eighth in total defense (310.9 ypg) and third in rush defense (89.8 ypg). Teams have had moderate success throwing the ball on Chicago, gaining an average of 221.1 yards per game, which makes the Bears the 14th-best defense against the pass.

The Jets are 12-2 when Sanchez posts a passer rating of 80.0 or better. He has three rushing touchdowns in 2010, including one against the Steelers last week, tying his career best. Running back LaDainian Tomlinson (17,685 yards) passed Marcus Allen (17,654) for the sixth-most yards from scrimmage in NFL history last Sunday. He aims for a third straight game with a rushing touchdown against the Bears. Wide receiver Holmes had five receptions for 83 yards in his only career game against the Bears, which came while with the Steelers in September of 2009. Fellow wideout Braylon Edwards posted his first 100-yard receiving game of the season last week and had a season-best eight catches. Four of his six touchdown receptions in 2010 have come on the road. Tight end Dustin Keller (48 receptions) needs one catch to surpass his career high from 2008. Lastly, return man Brad Smith posted his second kick runback for a touchdown this season and the third of his career last week. He is second in the NFL with a 29.1 kick return average in 2010, while the Jets have a league-best 14 scores on kick returns since 2001.

Bears defensive end Julius Peppers has six sacks in his past five games and added an interception last week. He has two sacks and two forced fumbles in two career games against the Jets, while linebacker Brian Urlacher had an interception and 11 tackles in his last meeting with New York. End Israel Idonije had a sack last week and has registered a career-high eight for the season. Cornerback Charles Tillman had a 56-yard interception return in Week 15.

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Woody Johnson: Rex Ryan Is 'Still The Head Coach'

New York Jets owner Woody Johnson met with the media Thursday to discuss the recent controversy involving Rex Ryan and his wife, Michelle. Here is the transcript of Johnson’s press conference.

On recent reports involving Rex Ryan
It is a private matter. Whatever Rex said to you yesterday, are going to be my comments as well.

On his initial reaction to the situation

My reaction is I don’t really want to talk about that in terms of I’m going to respect Rex and how he wanted to characterize it. It’s a personal matter and that’s the way it is.

On if he showed support to Ryan
He’s still the head coach of the New York Jets. I have a lot of respect for Rex and his family. My respect has not diminished one iota.

On if there is an update with Sal Alosi
Not really. Sal was suspended indefinitely. We haven’t made a final determination. We will at some point, but I haven’t done it to date.

On if there is a timeline for when he will make a decision on Alosi
No. Indefinitely is a pretty long time. We’re focused on the season. We’re focused on the Chicago Bears at this point. In football, that’s about as far as you can go.

On if they are putting a decision off until the end of the season
I’m not really putting it off. We’ve looked at what he did. I don’t know if I said this to you guys, but I apologized to (Dolphins owner) Mr. (Stephen) Ross and asked if his player (Nolan Carroll) was ok. He assured me that the player was fine. He accepted the apology and said, “No problem.” It’s not a problem for him, (but) it’s a problem for me. I also called (Patriots owner) Bob Kraft and said the same.

On if there is a reason why they wouldn’t fire Alosi
We’re taking a look at it. Obviously, tripping somebody is not something we condone. You can call it a violation of the rules. It’s not called because it’s not done very often. It’s just something where we don’t aspire to this type of action.

On his call to Bob Kraft
I called Bob about any comment that we may have made and how he may have interpreted those comments.

On if Mike Westhoff’s comments upset him

Our job is not to insult another team, particularly from a coach or owner’s standpoint. (We don’t want to insult) another teams’ coaches or players. That’s not what we’re here to do.

On what happened when they met with the league last week
I’m not going to talk about the meeting, but one thing about the New York Jets that I’m very proud of is we are extremely open. As I said right at the beginning with you guys, we, through you, talk to our fans and we’re going to make mistakes. We’re not perfect, but we are pretty good at, once we’ve made a mistake, I think we’re pretty good at trying to make remedies and trying to cure and trying to correct what we’re doing. We try to get better every year and we’re going to work on things like our culture. We’re going to work on trying to make ourselves an organization that doesn’t have, preferably, any incidents. (Although) we know we’re going to have some.

On thoughts that the perception of the organization is not very good right now

I disagree with that, I disagree. First of all, I disagree with the word inordinate. I think one of the things, if you read other media in other towns, I think you’d find perhaps other things. Not to use that as an excuse, but there won’t be any organization, I don’t think, in the public media that’s more accessible than we are. I’ll stand by what I said earlier, I think we’re pretty good at addressing each one of the incidents that we’ve had this year and, hopefully, we won’t have quite as many going forward.

On what it has been like for him having to deal with a number of incidents
You wish some of these things hadn’t happened, but I’m very proud of the organization. I think the organization responded very responsibly in every case and so I think we have the culture that I’m looking for, that is starting to develop and is developed to a point where the people in this building are able to handle it and be resilient and focus on what our real job is, and that’s playing football.

On whether these incidents stem from loose atmosphere Coach Ryan fosters
I don’t agree with that. I don’t think it’s loosey-goosey and I don’t think there’s a lack of discipline. You can’t win the number of games we’ve won, even with a rookie quarterback, with a loosey-goosey anything. I mean, we’re very disciplined. I think the perception is that he smiles maybe or whatever, and that maybe gets confused for a lack of whatever, but I don’t look at it that way and I know his players don’t either. Players want to feel that they’re getting better and they want to feel that the people in command (are) giving them a formula that they’re capable of winning (with), and I think they feel that. I know they feel that.

On the team being on the verge of another playoff berth
It’s very exciting. We have to get the job done this week and that’s what we’re preparing for right now. Even through this, I think the team is very, very focused, maybe even more focused.

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Jets Defense In Need Of Big Plays Sunday

The New York Jets defense has failed to live up to expectations in 2010. However, they have shown signs of life in the previous few weeks and will have a great opportunity to create big plays on Sunday, which could turn the outcome of the game in the Jets favor.

We all know Jay Cutler isn't shy about trying to fit the ball into tight spaces and he doesn't seem like the type of quarterback to avoid Darrelle Revis. The Bears lack an elite receiver, which means Rex Ryan can move Revis around the formation. Beyond that, Chicago doesn't have a strong running game which means Ryan should be able to be more aggressive than he has been in recent weeks with his pass rush. Chicago's offensive line has struggled to protect Cutler all year and this would be an ideal game for Calvin Pace and Jason Taylor to build some momentum for the playoffs.

Right now the Jets team leader in sacks has five and their leader in interceptions has three. There has been a shortage of big plays created throughout the season and considering the Jets offense has scored one touchdown in the past three games, a defense that sets up or generates points is a necessity.

Last week, it was Brad Smith who gave the Jets the extra boost they needed on special teams. This week, the opportunity is there for the Jets defense to be the unit who puts them over the top.

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Mark Sanchez: 'I'm In There'

New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez says he is playing Sunday against the Chicago Bears, no matter how much his sore throwing shoulder limits him in practice this week.

"I’m in there. I’m playing, that’s all there is to it and I have to be on the field," Sanchez said. " That’s what I’m here for and that’s what I’m going to do."

Sanchez hurt the shoulder early in Sunday's 22-17 victory over Pittsburgh and went for an MRI earlier this week. It revealed a slight cartilage tear, according to reports.

"It was just a precautionary MRI and I’m very pleased with the results. I’ll be ready to go for Sunday.  I felt good in practice. (I) felt like I could have done more and they’re just holding me back to be smart. (We’ll) take it from there, but if we were playing today, I’d play," Sanchez said.

The Jets (10-4) can clinch a playoff berth with a victory over the Bears, who are also 10-4 and have clinched the NFC North Division title.


Passing Rushing Sacks
G Rating Comp Att Pct Yds Y/G Y/A TD INT Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD Sack YdsL
2010 - Mark Sanchez 14 74.6 254 470 54 3022 215.9 6.4 16 12 30 105 7.5 3.5 3 27 171

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