The New York Jets are tied for first place in the AFC East. At least they have that going for them.
That designation is essentially a technicality, with the dismal beating the Jets just suffered at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday fresh in their minds. Forget that this was actually a close game until midway through the third quarter. The 34-0 final score speaks for itself. The Jets were beaten up and down the field all day on Sunday, to the delight of the throngs of Niners fans that in attendance that made MetLife Stadium look and sound like Candlestick East. And adding injury to insult, a week after losing their best defensive player Darrelle Revis to an injury, the Jets didn't get out of this one unscathed either as the status of their most talented offensive player, Santonio Holmes, is up in the air after leaving Sunday's game with a foot injury. WIth another tough match-up on the docket for Week 5, the Jets are now officially in a perilous position.
Tim Tebow's 104.2 passer rating. YEEHAW!
Unfortunately, Tebow's one completion did result in one of the Jets' four turnovers - Dedrick Epps' fumble. The Jets simply had no chance in this game if they didn't take care of the ball, and they were horrible with ball security all day. All four turnovers were bad ones - Sanchez's pick on a screen pass, his poor pocket presence on his fumble, Holmes' carelessly throwing the ball away after going down with an injury and Epps' fumble. All poor plays and avoidable situations. Overall, the Jets' offense was downright putrid, from the still-absent running game to Sanchez's awful performance.
This game wasn't on the Jets' defense, but they didn't exactly play well either. The team still shows a shocking inability to control their opponents' running game. Colin Kaepernick out-Tebowed the Jets out of the Wildcat formation, and Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter both ran right through the guts of the Jets defense. If this team doesn't fix its problems in run defense, they're simply going to be an average-at-best defense for the rest of the season.
Quite simply, the Jets' offense was an abomination. Sanchez looked lost and confused, the Jets' offensive line didn't protect well, the running game was non existent, and the receivers failed to get open or stretch the field. But the guy that's going to bear the brunt of the criticism, and absolutely deservedly so, is Sanchez. The "Tebow!" chants were raining down all day from the disenchanted Jets' fanbase. I'm one of Sanchez's staunchest defenders and someone who thinks Tebow is a total joke as an NFL quarterback, but you now what? Sanchez deserved every boo and every chant for his backup that he got on Sunday, and if he doesn't start playing better and quickly, he'll deserve to be benched. Enough is enough - it's time for Sanchez to take ownership of this team, of this offense's struggles and do something about it. That's what a real franchise quarterback would do.
There's no question that the Jets' skill position players are among the worst in the NFL. The Jets have not done a good job of developing Sanchez, and it almost seems like he's set up to fail this year. But the thing is, HE can't think like that. We, as fans and observes, are allowed to. But on Monday against the Texans, and for the next few weeks, Sanchez simply needs to step up and play well. If he doesn't, the Jets' season could spiral out of control, and then where does that put Sanchez as a viable NFL starting quarterback?
It's not time to jump ship on Sanchez yet, but it's absolutely fair to start asking these questions and wondering about the big picture.