Denver 17, New York Jets 13. Before diving into this, I suggest reading the 2011 preview where I wrote the Jets made too many changes in the offseason and would regress in 2011.
* Quick thoughts on the Denver loss: The offense was embarrassing (I’ll get to the OC, the offensive line and Sanchez in a minute),and the defense was brilliant until Denver’s final drive. If you’re going to have a season go down the tubes, I’d much rather it be to a class act like Tim Tebow than any other QB in the league. I know everyone’s slurping Tim Tebow this morning for the 95-yard TD drive (wasn’t it fun when Jim Leonhard nearly tackled Eddie Royal in the end zone for a safety on the first play?), after lambasting him a few weeks ago. The kid is clutch.
* Oh, back to the defense: I was not surprised Denver scored a TD on that drive. The Jets’ defense, for whatever reason, has had enormous trouble getting a big stop in a big spot since that AFC title game loss to Pittsburgh. Failed to get a stop against the Patriots in the 4th quarter in the first meeting this season. New England kicked a field goal and put the game out of reach. Couldn’t get a stop against the Patriots in the 2nd meeting at the end of the half or when the Jets cut the lead to seven in the 4th. Rex’s defense has slipped in 2011.
* Denver had six first downs and 134 yards (I think) going into that final drive. New York used a 3-4 defense to bottle up Denver. Why switch to a nickle package on the final drive?
* This is the worst regular season loss for me as a Jets fan since Dan Marino’s fake-spike TD pass in 1994.
* [FIXED] Yes, it is somewhat ironic Mark Sanchez tried to do that on the final drive OF THE FIRST HALF – he had a good read; nobody was on Keller – but he made the wrong call. There wasn’t enough time left. Sanchez should have spiked it so they’d have one more play, then a timeout, and then one realistic crack at the end zone (or a Nick Folk field goal attempt).
* Von Miller is a terror, and along with Elvis Dumervil, the Broncos have one of the best pairs of young DEs in the league. But this should have been a flag.
* I see plenty of, “the Jets are 5-5, they aren’t dead yet!” reaction. True, the Jets were 4-6 in Rex Ryan’s first season, and then peeled off five wins in six games to sneak into the playoffs at 9-7. But a history lesson: that was the year the Colts rolled over in the 2nd-to-last game and benched Peyton Manning in the second half. The Jets took advantage of Curtis Painter to win, 29-15. The following week, the Bengals – locked into a playoff spot – basically did the same and lost, 37-0, allowing the Jets to lock up a playoff berth. So I urge you – just stop, guys. The SEASON IS OVER. Yes, the Jets are only 1-game out of the Wild Card hunt (regardless of who wins the Bengals/Ravens game) but they are far too inconsistent to make the playoffs and they have too many injuries. Also worth noting: They suck at football fundamentals – clock management, penalties, turnovers.
* After sleeping on the loss, I’m already over it. No playoffs will certainly mean that hopelessly clueless offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer will be jettisoned. Frankly, I’d consider making the move this week (Happy Thanksgiving, you bum!) along with cutting Eric Smith, who is only the worst starting safety in the NFL. Brodney Pool should be healthy for their next game.
* I already have eyes on
2011 2012. 1) Woody needs to open his wallet. Why would you stay $9 million under the salary cap with a team that just went to two straight AFC title games? 2) Please get a creative offensive coordinator. I need more time to come up with names, but I really do like Marty Mornhinweg. 3) The primary need in the draft, clearly, is the offensive line. Wayne Hunter absolutely cannot be a starter next season. 4) My thoughts on Sanchez – yes, he’s going to continue to have happy feet in the pocket if the line keeps collapsing. You could see it against Baltimore and New England, and everyone knows the way to rattle him – get to him early and he starts to panic because he doesn’t want to get clobbered. Hopefully, he’ll flourish with a rebuilt line and under the new OC and then you extend his contract. 5) If those changes don’t result in some improvement, well, Sanchez won’t be getting another contract.