Your first place New York Jets, ladies and gentlemen!
That's right. The Jets are in first place in the AFC East, and nobody, even Tim Tebow with all his mythical otherworldly powers, knows how.
When I constructed the idea to do a "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" recap every day after a Jets game sometime last year, I didn't even realize the perfection of it. It just popped in my head, a way to look back at every game with a catchy title from an old Clint Eastwood movie. But with the Jets, it's indeed a perfect way to look back at a game. There's three sections. Sixty-six percent of them deal with negativity. In most Jets games, including yesterday's 23-20 overtime win over the Miami Dolphins, the bad outweighs the good by a considerable margin. Even if the world flips off its axis 40 years from now and the Jets actually win a Super Bowl, if I'm still writing for SBNation New York then, I will absolutely find plenty to fit in "The Bad" and "The Ugly" sections. That's just the way the Jets operate. It's amazing.
So let's get to yesterday's debacle. The Jets have to be the only team that can win a game and wake up on Monday in first place but still have their entire fanbase pissed off and wanting everyone fired. You Giants fans can have your titles. This is way more entertaining.
Nick Folk. Nick Folk baby! A perfect 6-for-6 on the season. Bless that foot.
There will be plenty of destruction of the Jets' offense, including Mark Sanchez, in a bit, but you just have to give credit where it's due. It was the type of game that has defined Sanchez's NFL career so far. Shaky decisions, inaccurate throws, a few turnovers, and a couple of big plays at key times to somehow win a game. Sanchez and the offense shook off a bad day to take a 20-17 lead with just over three minutes left in the game. It was a solid eight play, 57 yard series, with Sanchez converting two big third downs including the drive ender to Jeremy Kerley for a seven yard touchdown. In overtime, Sanchez hit the big play to Santonio Holmes, a 38-yarder down the sideline that set up the game-winner. If a different game went exactly the same way and you said that sentence again, but used the names "Eli Manning" and "Hakeem Nicks" instead, all you would read about this morning is how clutch the Giants are. They've earned that, and if you think I'm trying to make some sort of comparison between the two QBs or teams, I'm not, so please just go away. I'm just pointing out how the narrative is markedly different with the team in Green and White. They've also earned that. But don't act like Sanchez's late fourth quarter drive and the toss to Holmes in overtime don't matter. They did.
Holmes showed up big, registering his first 100-plus yard day in almost two years. This is the type of performance the Jets need from Holmes every week in order for their offense to be respectable.
The good LaRon Landry made an appearance on Sunday. LaRon's evil twin (who, if you weren't aware, is best friends with J.R. Smith's evil twin - it's very cute!) stayed home, thankfully.
In limited action, Bilal Powell once again looked like a standard NFL running back. He should start. More on this in a minute.
Can somebody explain why Eric Smith is still a member of the Jets? Somebody has to do some investigating and find out what exactly Mike Tannenbaum did all offseason. Isn't this supposed cap genius' job to improve the team? How did he allow the Jets to go into training camp with both Wayne Hunter AND Eric Smith on the roster/cap? Smith's roughing the punter penalty killed the Jets' chances of adding points at the end of the first half. He also took a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty in the third quarter, which helped Miami retake the lead. Eric Smith is a real liability on the field in almost all situations, and it's amazing that the Jets' coaches haven't seen it yet.
Tim Tebow. What in the hell is this guy even doing on the Jets? This entire Tebow experiment has reached the point where its actually an insult to the Jets' fanbase. To put this guy out there as a tight end or a wide receiver and have him run patterns is laughable and disgusting. It's even worse when they actually throw him the ball on a third down. When the Jets deploy Tebow as a wide receiver or tight end, they make themselves worse. The only time the Jets should use Tebow is on the goal line to smash it in for a touchdown. It's not like that exact scenario popped up anytime yesterday or anything. It's insulting and should never happen again. But it will, because the Jets are run with immense incompetence.
The Most Unclutch Defense in the History of Football proved again why it's earned that title. Rex Ryan's group is so bad in the clutch it allowed Ryan Tannehill to drive down the field late in the game TWICE. Ryan Tannehill! Once at the end of regulation when Tannehill brought the Dolphins down for a field goal, almost scoring a touchdown which would have won the game, and didn't need ANY OF THEIR THREE TIMEOUTS TO DO SO. Then in overtime, Tannehill hit Brian Hartline deep down the right sideline which set up game-winning field goal attempt by Dan Carpenter that he thankfully missed.
And then there was...oh, forget it, let's just get to The Ugly.
Last week I declared Shonn Greene as the worst starting running back in the NFL. I think I was wrong. He might be the worst running back of any kind in the entire league. This again speaks to the horrible incompetence of Mike Tannenbaum. All we were force-fed was this stupid "Ground and Pound" crap. How did Tannenbaum and the Jets go into this season thinking they were going to be able to rely on Greene to carry a football team? Instead, Greene is averaging 2.8 yards per carry so far this season. He had three cracks on the goal line yesterday to get in and couldn't do it. Isn't that what he's supposed to be good at? If he can't plunge forward for a yard, what can he do?
He certainly can't run outside, can't make a defender miss, can't cutback, can't juke, has no athleticism, gives you nothing out of the backfield as a receiver, and can't pass protect. Other than that, he's alright. And don't blame the offensive line. Bilal Powell is averaging 4.0 yards per carry in front of this same line. Bilal Powell! Who on God's green Earth is Bilal Powell?! He's the guy who should be starting at running back for the New York Jets for the rest of the season. Greene has had his chance and has earned a spot on the bench.
If the Jets can't run the ball with any consistency, and right now they can't, it puts a huge burden on Mark Sanchez. And of course, how have the Jets built this team around Sanchez? Terribly. Stephen Hill is a rookie, but he's a rookie who is way behind most other young receivers. He's a physical specimen the Jets think they can teach to be a dynamic receiver. He showed flashes of it in Week 1, but since then has been exposed pretty badly. He's still learning the game, and that's okay. But the dude simply cannot be dropping touchdowns like he did yesterday if he's going to get major reps. Chaz Schilens should probably start over him.
This is where we are with the New York Jets' offense. After three weeks, Bilal Powell and Chaz Schilens should see more time. Mercy.s But of course the guy who is going to shoulder most of the blame for the woeful offense is Sanchez. Lets' get it straight, Sanchez was really bad yesterday for the most part. He had two bad interceptions, although one of them was probably on receiver Clyde Gates (WHO?! The Jets own the NFL record for offensive players that nobody has ever heard of) for a bad route. Sanchez also missed wide open throws to Schilens and Kerley that both could have gone for deep touchdowns. He overthrew an open Jeff Cumberland in the end zone, and despite making a great play to stay on his feet and getting hit while he released the ball, it's one he probably should have made. Simply put, the Jets aren't going to win many games at all if Sanchez plays like he did for 90% of the game yesterday. The completion percentage has to go up, the mistakes and poor decisions need to go the other way. He's in his fourth year now, and Sanchez has to start playing more consistently. He has always showed flashes within games - like the late drives and clutch throws against Miami - and has had some great games and playoff succes.
But it's just not consistent enough. Miami isn't a good team. Sanchez should have been able to go in there and control the game. Instead it was a dogfight. It wasn't all on Sanchez, but a quarterback has the ability to take a stranglehold on any game (see Manning, Eli and Rodgers, Aaron). Sanchez hasn't really proved that he can do that yet. He needs to start soon. Of course, it would help if the Jets surrounded him with some better talent.
And then there's Darrelle Revis' injury. If...I mean...well, Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson, I guess, you know...maybe? Crap.