I sat on this game for 24 hours, partly because I wanted to go back and watch the game highlights and partly because if I had tried to write this article yesterday, I would probably have ended up fired by SB Nation this morning for excessive language. I always try and look on the bright side of any situation, I'm a cup half full type of guy by nature; however if you are expecting or need that here then I advise you to look away now as it is as bad as I thought and well.......after a truly unacceptable performance, the questions deserve to be raised.
Before the game started, I really didn't expect us to win. I picked the 49'ers in the selections, and was filled with trepidation in my game preview on Saturday. I didn't think we matched up well with them, especially with Revis out. I didn't expect us to lay a goose egg and I didn't expect us to look that bad doing it. I have been reminded today that things have been worse and the Jets will put a performance out like this from time to time because that's what the Jets do. Well if the Jets can do that, then they can be ripped all the same.
I'm starting with the man in the middle Mark Sanchez. Sorry apologists, there is only so long you can continue to back your man with blind faith, there is only so long that you can blame the talent around him, the scheme he is in, perhaps the sun was too bright for his eyes or the wind too gusty for his hair, well it's year four and I'm starting to lose patience. Does he have elite talent around him, no he doesn't and his receiving options are getting thinner and thinner week by week. However I've gone back and looked at every single throw he made yesterday and the receivers are not the problem.
He was missing his guys by 3-4 yards, a receiver can't make a play unless it's in his vicinity. The routes looked good, Mark just had absolutely no accuracy at all. He threw it into double and triple coverage and how he only ended up with the single interception, I will never know. He wouldn't stand firm in the pocket, as soon as he felt a breath on his neck the ball was out, despite there being absolutely no chance it is completed. The ball hit the dirt more than I have seen in some time. His QBR was less than 5, the worst in the NFL. His QBR on the season is 36.5 and his completion percentage 49.2%. Stats only tell part of the story, but I hear so many people say that Tebow is not an NFL QB, well right now neither is Mark Sanchez.
Before people start calling me a Tebow backer, he's not the answer either. His packages don't work as they are as obvious as George W Bush's IQ test results. Put him in as the full time starter? well we won't see much improvement at all. However if Mark continues to struggle, I'm throwing my support behind Greg McElroy as he is the only signal caller we just don't know what we have with him. At no point yesterday did Sanchez look like he was going to drive us down the field, and the only time he did he fumbled the football. Sorry Mark, that's just not going to cut it, you're in your 4th year now.
We had a minus 234 yard yard differential which is the worst performance since the 1997 game against the Colts. We had a minus 200 yard differential on the ground which is the worst performance running the rock since the 1983 game against the Steelers. We missed a number of tackles, we played weak.....we saw our giant DT Kenrick Ellis get pushed off the line and flat on his back 5 yards down the field. We saw the 49'ers use misdirection to embarrass the defense. When the game was done, dead and buried we barely saw any back-ups get significant playing time. The last 3 49'ers series, get Demario Davis out there, get Josh Bush out there and certainly get Antonio Allen out there. Use that time appropriately.
This is where my next gripe comes, Rex Ryan and his personnel groupings. We see Coples disrupt three consecutive plays and make two tackles for a loss......we then see him jog to the sideline and he's not back on the field again for a significant time. We see Bart Scott out there pretty much every single snap, but yet we see him being fooled and looking lost. We see Bryan Thomas and Calvin Pace not setting the edge and then missing tackles. If the 49'ers had wanted to, this game could have gone into the 40's.
Unfortunately the simple truth is that this team is just not good enough right now. We don't have the depth and the talent, and that is hard to say and it's even harder to accept as I wanted to believe in the Jets this year. I wanted to believe that Rex Ryan knew what he was talking about when he said that we had assembled the best team since he joined us back in 2009, and I wanted to believe that this year was the year.
However we have absolutely no identity. We say that we want to be a ground and pound running team who plays physical defense. Unfortunately just saying it doesn't mean it's going to happen, I want to be a millionaire who doesn't have to work to earn a living, that doesn't mean I'll be flying business class to the Bahamas tomorrow. We can't run the football, we don't have the running backs to do that. We can't play physical smash mouth defense because we can't stop the run and our pass rush is non existent. We have no identity!
So where should the blame be placed. Well it needs to be spread around absolutely everyone. It needs to go to Mike Tannenbaum who has assembled a very thin team, we pay too much to too few. Rex Ryan needs to take some of that blame for sticking by his favourites and stubbornly sticking to his game plan without making in game amendments. It needs to go to Tony Sparano for putting together a very basic and obvious game plan. It needs to go to Mark Sanchez who looks no better today than when we drafted him 4 years ago. It needs to go through the offence and defense.
Now I apologise if this is a grim read, but sometimes the only way to get better is to exploit and expose the flaws of an organization that has won diddly squat in over 40 years. We are not cursed or any of that nonsense, we just don't follow the winning formula for an NFL team. What can we do this year? we can't do a lot this year. We have Houston and we have New England coming up and I will be shocked if we are not 2-4 by week 7.
We need to make improvements and make them quick. Unfortunately I just don't know if that is possible.