Forget the score, the ineptitude in every facet of the game, Tom Brady’s ruthless efficiency against a toothless pass rush, or that smug fucking look you just want to smack off Belichick’s face. Here’s the really bad news: The Jets are in position to collapse like they did in 1986, 1994 and 2008. The Jets’ 9-3 mark is deceiving. They close with Miami, at Pittsburgh, at Chicago and Buffalo. The Dolphins are at their best on the road. The Steelers have the second best defense in the league. The Bears play down to their competition (lost to the Seahawks & Redskins at home), but up to it, too (beat Green Bay & Philly at home). The Bills are pesky (ask Pittsburgh). Disaster awaits!
Briefly on the 45-3 debacle:
Offense: I actually liked the way the Jets opened the game – Sanchez in shotgun, throwing the ball. They threw the predictable playbook out the window. And it worked! Well, on the first drive. Then Rex made the terrible decision to kick a 50-yard field goal into the wind. It wasn’t close. Patriots drove a short field to a 10-0 win. Sanchez was hurt by a Holmes drop on the next drive, then made a bad pass to Holmes (short, over the middle) and the Jets punted. Weatherford shanked one, and the Patriots had another short field for a 17-0 win. Ballgame.
For the second year in a row, Sanchez struggled on the road against the Patriots. Last year? Five turnovers. This year, three interceptions. The Jets actually ran the ball effectively (down 17-0) – 31 rushes, 152 yards. If there is a third matchup, expect a heavy dose of ground and pound.
Defense: Embarrassing. Shitty. Fraudulent. Porous. They gave up 405 yards. They permitted 7.0 yards per play. Instead of blitzing heavily, the Jets mixed it up and tried a meek pass rush and dropping eight guys into a zone. That’s the kind of shit you pull against rookies or bad QBs (Chad Henne, Carson Palmer, etc). Brady was 21-for-29. Did the Jets forget the 2nd half of the first meeting? You know, when they blitzed Brady, kept him off balance, and he was ineffective? On the plus side, Brady didn’t throw at Revis once! He did make Antonio Cromartie look like a clueless scrub, though. (If there is a rematch, Revis will definitely be on Branch.)
1986 collapse: Jets opened 10-1, were thumped 45-3 by the Dolphins, and never won another game in the regular season. They backed into the playoffs, though, beating the Chiefs and then losing to the Browns (who then lost to Elway’s “Drive”).
1994 collapse: Jets were 6-5 in first place in their division. They had Miami beat … until Marino’s fake-spike TD. The Dolphins won and took over first place. The Jets never won another game.
2008 collapse: Jets were 8-3 with Favre at QB after a road win over previously-unbeaten Tennessee. They got thumped at home by Denver, then lost three of four to miss the playoffs. Favre left, Mangini was fired, and the Jets hired Rex Ryan and drafted Mark Sanchez.
How the Jets can collapse in 2010: Jets lose their next four. Colts win their next four (very, very possible). Chargers win their next four (very, very possible). Chiefs win three of four (very, very possible). Jaguars win three. (very, very possible). And don’t think I’m just saying all that can happen – each of those four teams have soft schedules. It could easily happen. Then you have a logjam of 10-6 and 9-7 teams. Lisk will take you through the tiebreakers later, not that I even want to look at them.
We’ll leave you with this Pearl Jam’s Jeremy: