Happy Holidays New York Jets fans!
This team has a history of ruining holidays, and you can add Thanksgiving 2012 to the list after a 49-19 demolition at the hands of the New England Patriots. The Jets are now 4-7 and likely need to win out to avoid missing the playoffs for the second straight season - a feat that actually doesn't seem impossible when you look at the Jets' easy schedule, but then you come back to reality after you closely examine this current team and realize that they probably couldn't win five games in a row if they played in the SEC. At some point, they'd end up beating themselves, which in many ways is what they did to the Patriots. Any time a team hangs nearly 50 on you and you lost by 30, it isn't just that you threw the game away; the Patriots were and are a far better team, and they do deserve credit for their performance. But the Jets essentially handed them 21 points during a 35-point second quarter, putting the game and likely the season away for good.
While it seems like there should be nothing worthy of going in "The Good" section after that debacle, lets just remember that the score after the first quarter was 0-0. Technically, it was about 7-0, as New England scored the opening touchdown of the game on the first play of the second. But either way it was an even first quarter with the Jets' defense coming up with a few good series to start as Tom Brady looked quite shaky. Actually, now that we've mentioned Brady, we should mention that he actually didn't even play that well. When you simply look at his statline, you'd think I'm crazy, but especially in the first quarter Brady was very inaccurate for his high standards. If the Jets were at all a competent, functioning football team, there's no way this game is a 30-point blowout based on how the Pats' signal caller looked.
Bilal Powell scored another touchdown, his third in the past two weeks, and looked like the Jets' best back again. With the playoffs a total pipe dream and a severe rebuilding on the way this offseason, there is zero reason Powell should not be the starter the rest of the way.
Mark Sanchez turned the ball over twice, in key spots, both on terrible mental mistakes. This is what we mean when we say that the Jets handed the Patriots much of this game. After Stephen Gostkowski missed a field goal that would have opened the scoring in the first half, Sanchez was intercepted in the red zone when the Jets were ready to take the lead (We won't mention the next turnover in specifics yet, because it deserves to be in the next section of this breakdown). Just another poor game overall for the Jets quarterback, who is now only holding on to his job because his backup, Tim Tebow, is the worst throwing quarterback in the past 50 years in the NFL.
The general non-urgency from the Jets was mystifying, and it's something we saw from them in games earlier in the season where they were also being blown out. Understandably when you fall behind 35-0 in the second quarter, the game is essentially over, but why were the Jets going into full huddles on every possession and running the play clock down to zero on about every play? Why weren't they running hurry-up and no huddle? Totally boggles the mind, and is something I will just never understand.
For instance, the sequence right before halftime was laughable. The Jets go for it on a fourth down inside the red zone with about 30 seconds left and no timeouts. They convert on a pass play, rush up to the line and spike the ball. Then, after an incomplete pass stops the clock with seven seconds left, they bring on the field goal team. Because anytime you can cut that lead from 35 to 32 right before halftime, you have to do it. I mean, really? Why go for it on fourth down, eight yards earlier, only to kick a field goal with no time left? Wouldn't you have just kicked the field goal on fourth down if you were playing for three?
Shane Vereen's 83-yard touchdown reception was like something out of backyard football. How does that happen in the NFL?
Sanchez's fumble in the second quarter that was returned for a touchdown and gave New England a 21-0 lead will be the lasting image of the Jets' 2012 season, and sadly, maybe of Sanchez's NFL career. It was the 2012 version of Bubby Brister's intercepted shovel pass. What makes it worse was that it was apparently Sanchez's fault altogether, going the wrong way to hand the ball off and leaving himself nowhere to go; so naturally, he slides right into his right guard's ass and fumbles the ball without being touched by a Patriots defender. You can't make it up.
Overall, this Jets season is officially beyond repair and this might be the night that it all came crashing down. After another blowout loss (that's five this season, including three on home field for the record), this one on national television to your biggest rival, there's a good chance that this team will look vastly different when it enters training camp in 2013. And it should. In a way, it might be for the best for the Jets to totally tank and finish 5-11 or 6-10, instead of rallying against their weak schedule and finishing respectable. If that happens, the Jets' front office can hide behind the injuries to Santonio Holmes and Darrelle Revis and say "See, we really weren't that far away, and if we had those guys, well..."
Well, no. This team is mediocre on defense, horrifying on offense, terrible on special teams all of a sudden, have mediocre coaches up and down the board, a bad-and-getting-worse General Manager and an owner who oversteps his bounds and has zero football knowledge. A few plays away? A player or two away?
Nope, this thing needs to be gutted.