Everything that could go wrong went wrong for the New York Jets in their 30-9 loss to the Miami Dolphins, while things began to snowball in disastrous fashion for the New York Giants before they finally and barely recovered by the thinnest of margins -- the tips of Dez Bryant's fingers -- to defeat the Dallas Cowboys, 29-24.
As usual for the Jets, their trash talking took precedence over their actions, as the Dolphins won the war of words and the battle on the field. Rex Ryan, Aaron Maybin, Mike Pouncey and Reggie Bush went back and forth all week long engaging in a verbal tussle, and when everything was said and done, the Jets headed into their bye week in a complete tailspin, humbled and embarrassed. A blocked punt, a blocked field goal, an onside kick -- the only thing missing was a Jet player running into the wrong end zone with the ball. The Jets are a mess right now, from their coaching staff, to their quarterback, to their special teams, to their defense, to the Tim Tebow experiment. And their post-game quotes are all over the map, with a few living in denial and some just plain delusional.
Chaz Shilens commented, "It's humiliating, to be honest with you. They won the game, but I don't think they're a better team than us."
Ryan: "That one is tough to accept. We have to find a way to get better. I'm blown away by it because it might have been as good a week of practice and preparation as we've had."
And the always entertaining Antonio Cromartie chimed in on his head-butt of Bush, which resulted in a 15-yard penalty: "I didn't lose my composure. I just called him a punk and that's exactly what he is."
After playing reasonably well in their last couple of games, the Jets were dominated this time around, even with backup quarterback Matt Moore playing most of the game for Miami. They didn't execute and showed no sense of urgency as Miami's lead grew bigger and bigger. Though Cromartie's words concerning the Reggie Bush incident might as well have come from Planet Antonio, he did conjure up some wise words of wisdom that his team should heed: "You're either going to put up or shut up at the end of the day. Right now, it's time for us to shut up and try to start putting up and doing the things that we need to try to do."
Rex's brother, Rob, tried to inspire his team with some made-up blather about his defense being disrespected and not given enough credit after the Cowboys' opening-night victory over the Giants. And while the Dallas D did a very solid job and were largely responsible for the mediocre game by Eli Manning, Victor Cruz and the rest of the offense this past Sunday, the Giants defense did a number on the Cowboys' offense to begin the game, which was just enough for the win. Tony Romo alternated between dreadful and brilliant, throwing for 437 yards but tossing four interceptions. Jason Pierre-Paul came up with a sack and a pick six for his first career touchdown, Stevie Brown continues to be a playmaker and difference-maker while filling in for the injured Kenny Phillips and Lawrence Tynes booted five field goals covering up for the Giants offense, which had trouble getting into the end zone.
This game could have easily turned into a nightmare for the Giants, one that would never be forgotten and could have had ominous implications on the rest of their season. But they stopped Dallas' momentum and did just enough to win, with a little luck and with the Cowboys making more brutal, crucial mistakes than they did. At this point, these Giants know how to pull a win out of their hat. Tom Coughlin succinctly summed up the game and playing the Cowboys in The House That Jerry Built: "Every time we come here it's a nail-biter in some way, shape or form. You can't always describe it."
So at the halfway point in the season, the Giants are in first place with breathing room between themselves and the rest of the division. While the Jets are 3-5 and going the wrong way. Now, the Giants need to avert a mid- to late-season lull and keep their focus and stay on the winning track. The Jets, on the other hand, need to go back to the drawing board.