I don’t know, I just don’t know. Sitting their in the upper deck late in the fourth quarter as chants of "Lets go Giants, and "J-E-T-S suck suck" reverberated around me I felt that sick feeling in my gut. It was the same feeling I had when Ben Roethlisberger completed that pass to Antonio Brown to end the AFC Championship Game last year. That sense of crushing finality, of knowing that it’s over, and that the hope and optimism was for naught. Today though there were no tears, there was no depression, because I know this team was not good enough. From Mike Tannenbaum to Rex Ryan to Mark Sanchez to the Offensive Line to the Wide Receivers to Special Teams, this team was not good enough.
More then anything today was a manifestation of all the problems that have plagued the Jets all year, and made this season a failure. Following a despicable loss last week in Philadelphia the Jets were playing a Giants team that was reeling. Playing in front of a crowd that was 70/30 Jets fans, the Jets had a chance to make up for last week by beating a mediocre Giants team. Instead the Jets played like the team they are, an overrated bunch of mediocre under executing over paid frauds. The Jets gave up a 99-yard touchdown. Mark Sanchez threw the ball 59 times and had 2 interceptions. Mark Sanchez was sacked 5 times. The Jets went 4/21 on third down. Nick Folk missed a field goal. T.J. Conley muffed a punt. The Jets had 10 penalties for 95 yards. The Jets gave up a safety. The level of execution was so mind numbingly atrocious on offense and special teams that I thought I was watching a repeat of the game against Oakland, or the one against Baltimore, or both of the games against the Patriots, or the game against the Eagles. Today the Jets didn’t deserve to win, and after this, they don’t deserve to make the playoffs either.
But they had us fooled didn’t they? All training camp and throughout much of the regular season we were inundated with Rex Ryan telling us how this team was going to the Super Bowl. The Jets were a great defensive team, with a hot young QB ready to take over the reigns and lead us to the Promised Land! We were the kings of New York, a hard hitting, well coached tour du force whose path to Indy had been pre-determined by the NFL Gods!! Rex was wrong. This season he wrote checks he couldn’t cash. His bark was bigger then his bite. The Jets weren’t good enough to back up Rex, and that is his fault alone. This was the season where Rex’s whole trash talk and confidence turned into an act. It was abundantly clear that the Jets weren’t good enough from week 8, but Rex still kept up this b.s. act, trying desperately to make everyone think the Jets of 2011 were still the Jets of 2010. They weren’t and in trying to keep up that false pretense Rex failed as a leader in 2011.
He failed because his Jets lacked accountability. The Jets turnover problems began in week 1 and never stopped. Rex not only never addressed it, but he never punished anyone for turning the ball over or messing up! Rex tried to sweep it under the rug by offering unconditional support for his players, even after horrific performances, like Santonio Holmes’s disaster in Philly. Rex Ryan offered unconditional support for a player who had an excessive celebration penalty after GIFT WRAPPING THE EAGLES 14 POINTS!! Did he bench Santonio? Did he go over to him and tell him that his selfish act had hurt the team? No, he said the Jets fully supported Santonio, and refused to even acknowledge his idiocy. The lunatics were running the asylum, just as they were when Santonio complained about the offensive line. Instead of fixing problems in house the Jets went to the media to address the issue, just one in a series of childish, ridiculous acts that have occurred under Rex’s watch this year. This lack of accountability extends to how Rex dealt with the offensive line this year too. The Jets offensive line was horrible the whole year, and Rex never once called out Wayne Hunter, Ferguson, or anyone on the line for their continued bad play! He never even acknowledged the problem, nor put the onus on the players to fix it! Instead Rex continued to act like everything was hunky dory, and his refusal to bench players or try anything new on the offensive line proves how his blind loyalty ruined this team this year, almost as much as his continued refusal to sit Eric Smith does (But that’s a post for another day).
The problems with this team extend far beyond Rex though, and while I lay the blame first with Rex and Mike Tannanbaum the offensive players too have failed this season. On the offensive side of the ball can anyone name one Jet who played at a high level consistently this year? Even after Victor Cruz raced 99 yards for a touchdown and Nick Folk blew an easy field goal, the Jets first half deficit should be blamed on the offense. When a team with a 7-point lead continually fails to move the ball, it leaves the defense tired, and susceptible to giving up the big play. We saw it today with Cruz, and we saw it in Denver when Tebow blew by Eric Smith for the touchdown. When a defense is on the field constantly, always with the game close, it leads to a bend but don’t break mentality that cannot be successful. The Jets offense’s continued inability to get first downs or score put an impossible burden on the defense, and that led to the system-wide meltdowns that happened multiple times this season.
Even if they miraculously make the playoffs there are massive holes on this team. The embarrassment today only proves that the Jets are on their way down, not up. That is unacceptable, and moves must be made to correct this situation. The Jets must start next year out to prove themselves, with a new offensive coordinator, a better offensive line and receiving corps, and a quarterback who must step up, or else be replaced. It may be a while, but it is necessary to correct a team currently in disarray. A team at risk of alienating its fans, and a team that cannot win with the current system in place.