New York Jets' Post-Mortem: Reaction To Another AFC Title Game Defeat

Here is some of the reaction from around the Inter-Google to the New York Jets' 24-19 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday in the AFC Championship Game.

Rex Ryan did not get the New York Jets ready to play against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and it cost his team its season - ESPN New York
After pushing all the right human buttons in Rounds 1 and 2, inspiring his Jets to knock out Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, Ryan suddenly lost the pulse of his team. The stunning disconnect between coach and player allowed the Pittsburgh Steelers to score the first 24 points of the game, and ultimately guaranteed that a second-half rally would save face, but not the season.

"We played a good half," an emotional Ryan said. "We just never played a good game."

Rex has to take the fall for that. His chief responsibility as head coach is to have his team ready to play, and yet the Jets were a lifeless mess in the first half, finding inspiration in absolutely nothing. ...

"To come out as flat as we did against such a great franchise and such a great team," Mark Sanchez said, "a tough team, one of the toughest -- if not the toughest -- we played all year, it just doesn't work."

New York Jets Suffer Black-and-Gold Blitzkrieg: Scott Soshnick - Businessweek
Lay this loss, New York’s second straight AFC title game disappointment, on the ballyhooed defense, the brain trust of the coach who likes to tell the world just how good his guys are. Winning works, too.

"We played a good half. We just didn’t play a good game," was the verbal autopsy from Ryan, who, insert yawn here, began boasting of better things to come next season. "If you plan on beating them, you better put four quarters together. We didn’t do that."

The Steelers accumulated 135 rushing yards in the first half against a defense that prides itself on bullying. Well, the bully got popped in the mouth.

Rex Ryan's defense can't stop Steelers when Jets coach trusts unit on coin toss, game's final drive
Remember how the Jets kept telling everybody all week that they were ready, screaming how they can't wait for their championship moment? Somehow, the Jets' defense required the entire first half before an alarm rang. By then it was simply too late.

"It goes back to basics, and basics is tackling," said nose tackle Sione Pouha. "I didn't do my job. We didn't get it done, and the most heartbreaking thing now is knowing this locker room is never going to be the same."

Brian Schottenheimer lacks sense of urgency as play-calling dooms Jets on Steelers' goal-line stand
So many times this season Schottenheimer's play-calling had been perplexing. In the biggest spot of the season, he forgot what the Jets do best. "Well, we tried to score," Ryan said. "That team right there is pretty tough. But, obviously they made some good plays on us. You don't design any play to fail."

NFL Playoffs: New York Jets' inability to score TD from 2 yards out was unacceptable - ESPN New York
The New York Jets couldn't make two yards in four plays, and they ended up six feet under.

You could almost hear the angry mob, screaming for Brian Schottenheimer's head. The second-guessers will be screaming long into the offseason because of what transpired at the Pittsburgh Steelers' goal line with under eight minutes to play Sunday night in the AFC Championship Game at Heinz Field.

Schottenheimer's play calling over the four-play sequence was questionable, and it loomed large in the Jets' crushing 24-19 loss to the Steelers.

After Shonn Greene rushed for 1 yard, Schottenheimer called two straight pass plays from the 1-yard line -- a rollout to Dustin Keller and a quick slant to Santonio Holmes that hit linebacker LaMarr Woodley in the chest. On fourth down, Schottenheimer sent LaDainian Tomlinson into the line for no gain.

It was a brutal sequence. Instead of getting cute with a rollout to Keller, Schottenheimer should've sent the 230-pound Greene into the line again. Moments earlier, he ran for 16 yards against a Pittsburgh run defense that was sucking wind.

Schottenheimer isn't going to get fired, which may disappoint a lot of Jets fans. Just the other day, Ryan was raving about Schottenheimer, calling him a future head-coaching star. Schottenheimer staged a late-season rally, as the Jets averaged 29 points over the previous five games. He doesn't deserve to get fired, but the goal-line sequence was inexcusable.

"It was really deflating," left guard Matt Slauson said. "It's really tough to take as an offensive line because we pride ourselves on that."

Except Schottenheimer took it out of the line's hands for those two pass plays.

Has Rex Ryan Set the Bar Too High? - NYTimes.com
If the Jets enter next season declaring that the only acceptable result is a trip to the Super Bowl, what happens if — goodness gracious! — they go back to the A.F.C. championship game again? And lose again?

Coaches have been fired for being persistently almost good enough. Marty Schottenheimer made a career out of it.

Ryan should get full credit for raising the expectations of his players, his staff and Jets fans. But he should also take note of what the Jets owner Woody Johnson said after Sunday’s loss.

“We had a great season,” Johnson said. “We got down to the final four. But it’s not good enough.”

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