DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 17: Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets looks on in the first quarter as Marcus Thomas #79 of the Denver Broncos reacts at Invesco Field at Mile High on November 17, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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There isn't going to be any Tim Tebow love here. Sorry. If you're looking for someone to wax poetic about Tebow Christ, go somewhere else. (It won't be too hard to find. Check out the Worldwide Leader).
And the reason there won't be any Tebow praising here is because he won a football game last night against a sinking ship of a team that proved itself to be completely inept in every facet of the game. The New York Jets keep telling us after every loss, and there's five of them this year in just 10 games, some version of "We're better than this, we're just not playing like it." At some point you look in the mirror and realize that you aren't any better than this. You're a .500 football team.
As a Jets fan you come to expect these types of losses. Anyone who claims to be a Jets fan and was 100 percent confident in last night's game was fooling you. Every green-blooded Jets fan knew this was a disaster waiting to happen. How it would happen, we didn't know. But that's why we watched, to find out just how.
It happened for a myriad of reasons. The offense, namely quarterback Mark Sanchez, was terrible, and gifted the Broncos the game-changing touchdown to make it 10-10 in the third quarter on a now-signature Sanchez pick six. The defense, which shut down You-Know-Who and the Broncos' gimmick offense for 55 minutes, choked in the last five by allowing an inexplicable, inexcusable, absolutely mind-boggling and vomit-inducing 95-yard drive to a quarterback who struggles to complete forward passes. A 13-yard punt gave the Broncos a short field and they turned it into the first three points of the game.
Here's The Good, The Bad and The Ugly from last night's debacle.
Thinking...thinking...thinking...Joe McKnight on offense? (Remember, he fumbled on special teams). Oh, and Matt Slauson, who scored the only Jets touchdown of the game. If you don't know who Matt Slauson is, that's okay. He's the left guard.
The coaching. Rex Ryan, Mike Pettine, Brian Schottenheimer, Mike Westhoff, heck I'll even throw Bob Sutton and Dennis Thurmond in there. And Matt Cavanaugh, too. Last night was the worst loss of the Rex Ryan era. First off, you can blame Eric Smith for not holding contain on the Tebow touchdown run on the Broncos' final drive. I will below, as Eric Smith deserves to be in "The Ugly" section because he is a terrible football player. But what on earth are the Jets doing with a sell-out blitz on 3rd and 4 against a quarterback who you know is going to run the ball? Pettine and Ryan deserve blame here for calling that play and putting Smith in a position where he had to make a crucial play. Again, Smith is awful. This is the coaching staff's fault.
Why was fourth-string running back Bilal Powell the choice to try and stuff the ball in on the goal line? If the Broncos recover that fumble, not Slauson for what will be his only lifetime score, this would have been a huge point of contention.
Special teams. T.J. Conley's 13-yard punt was the reason the Broncos took a 3-0 lead, and McKnight fumbled a kickoff return right after the Sanchize Special.
Everything else falls under here, namely Sanchez. The Jets never should have had to worry about stopping a 95-yard drive at the end of the game. A good quarterback puts the team on his back and finds a way to get in the end zone multiple times and put this game away. Sanchez just wasn't good enough last night, and his past two games are reasons for real, true, long-term concern about the Jets quarterback position. Sanchez is still young. He's only in his third year. But he has consistently shown an inability to finish off drives by getting his team in the end zone, and his three pick sixes this season have been back-breaking. Last night, he had multiple chances to get the Jets in the end zone and couldn't do it. His third-quarter interception changed the game. He just needs to be better. Schottenheimer has to be gone at the end of the season and the Jets need to try Sanchez in another offensive system. Next season and the year after will show the Jets what they truly have in No. 6. I fear that the answer won't be exactly what they hoped it would be, but time will tell.
The Jets' defense is getting old and slow. Yes, they looked good last night for 55 minutes. But they have developed a reputation as probably the most un-clutch defense ever. The amount of times this "great" defense has failed to get off the field in a big spot is staggering. Hey, Bart Scott: Can't Wait until you're gone.
Eric Smith and right tackle Wayne Hunter are career backups that the Jets thrusted into starting spots this year. It was laziness and extreme oversight by the coaching staff and Mike Tannenbaum that these guys are starters. Both are routinely exposed and killing the Jets on a weekly basis. Hunter getting owned by Von Miller on the Jets' last drive sums up his ability as a football player. Smith's play on the Tebow touchdown run was cringe-worthy.
It was a total team failure, and this season is going that way quickly. F's across the board. The Jets are now 5-5 and in sixth place in the wild card. At weekend's end, they could be behind the likes of the Tennessee Titans, the Oakland Raiders, the Buffalo Bills, not to mention the Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals. That's where they deserve to be, lumped in with everyone else fighting to stay alive in the AFC.
The Jets can still make the playoffs. It's not likely given how inconsistent they are, even with a soft schedule ahead of them. Maybe it would be better off for the Jets to finish the year 7-9 or 8-8 and out of the playoffs. If that were the case, they'd finally have to address some real problems that have plagued this team for a while. Making two straight championship games will make you gloss over some problems, thinking that a Plaxico Burress-type signing will put you over the hump. Another playoff squeaking-in may just further mask some of the big issues this team has.
We'll see what happens in the next few weeks. But last night was just another hilariously-obvious epic loss that Jets fans have become used to.