The Jets lost their third game in the last four today, a 13-3 defeat at the hands of Seattle. It is an exclamation point on yet another late season collapse this God forsaken team has put its fans through. This team may still be mathematically alive, but make no mistake about it. This season is over. A month ago, this team was a Super Bowl favorite. Now it is on the outside looking in with only a miracle win against Buffalo coming since. We will have plenty of time to discuss how we were all duped into believing again and where to go from here. For now, we can talk about this debacle.
Coaching: There is no room to mince words. This team is horribly coached. They came out in the most important game of the year and made killer errors. There were inexcusable penalties like the delay of game on the field goal and the illegal formation on a third and short near midfield. That shows a lack of discipline. Everybody needs to be lined up at the snap. Somebody needs to notice when the play clock is running out to call a timeout. It goes beyond this.
The Jets could not generate much of a pass rush at all. This is because they insisted on playing their base defense for most of the game. The team should have blitzed nonstop in this game. Seattle's ENTIRE STARTING OFFENSIVE LINE is on injured reserve. Instead, we saw a steady barrage of three and four man rushes. Seattle may not have scored many points because of the conditions, but it controlled the critical field position battle in the second half. Getting to Wallace could have made a difference in a game where defenses dominated. It could have made the ball slip out of his hands in a snowstorm or forced him to throw too quickly into coverage. When the Jets sent Kerry Rhodes on a third down in the second quarter, he forced Wallace to throw early. Somebody needs to tell Eric Mangini and Bob Sutton that sending one outside linebacker does not constitute an attack 3-4. In addition, how about getting the most explosive player on the roster, Leon Washington, more than 3 touches on offense?
Let us talk about decision making now. The Jets came out on their first drive and moved down the field with ease. The offensive line was getting a push. On fourth and one from the three, Mangini kicked a field goal. The Jets are more talented than the Seattle team that took the field. This game means everything to them. They were pounding the ball at will. Had they run Tony Richardson, they would have picked up the first down. Richardson already had two impressive runs on the drive. It would have sent a message. The Jets would have scored a touchdown and set the tone for the game, while silencing a hostile crowd. Instead, this team took the safe route. Part of the reason Mangini was hired was that he was supposed to bring the Patriot way of doing things. When has Bill Belichick ever shied from a risk? He shows confidence in his players to produce and goes for the jugular whenever he has the chance. Mangini was coaching scared with that decision. Ditto on the field goal after the aforementioned delay of game. Even though the Jets did not get the play off in time, they did snap it, and Jay Feely hit a kick from 45 yards right down the middle with about 10 yards to spare. Mangini decided to punt after the loss of five years for fear of losing field position. This team played not to lose today, and it took its cues from its head coach.
Brett Favre: Favre did pretty much nothing after that first drive. His receivers were getting open. There were plays to be made, and Brett left them on the field. He constantly underthrew receivers on deep routes. He threw an awful interception off his back foot across the field that set up the only touchdown of the game for Seattle. The Jets led 3-0 at that point and seemed to have control of the game. A month ago, Favre was riding as high as the team. There was even some MVP talk. This is a sad way to see a legend end his career, and make no mistake about it. Brett is finished after this year. Why should an old man put his body on the line for the mess this team has become?
Elam's Whiff: Abram Elam was the hero a week ago. This week, his failure to finish a tackle on T.J. Duckett on a big third down play allowed Seattle to continue a drive that would lead to the only touchdown of the game.
Steve Tasker: How does a guy who thinks punting on fourth and four while trailing in the final 3:00 get a job as a color man on CBS?
Thomas Jones: TJ ran like a man. His 67 yards on 17 carries line in the box score does not indicate how he fought for tough yardage.
Tony Richardson: Richardson responded to an unusually heavy workload by rushing for 36 yards on 5 carries, including a 16 yard scamper on that first drive of the game. Seattle's smallish front had major issues getting hit head on with New York's power back.
Jets fans have seen worse, but this still hurts. This team was 8-3 and now probably will miss the Playoffs. Even if Gang Green makes it by some miracle, what difference does it make. It only will prolong the inevitable, and we will have to watch the Colts' receivers run wild for 60:00 in the Meadowlands two weeks from now. This year was supposed to be different. There was no Tom Brady standing in our way. We had Brett Favre. Instead, we get the Same Old Jets. After an exhilarating win, the team comes out flat in the biggest game of the season. Previous eulogies may have been premature, but we now know things will not turn around for this club. What reason is there to believe they will at this point if they did not with everything that has happened? Now Jets fans get the final humiliation next week. Either Chad Pennington will exact the ultimate revenge and win the AFC East for the hated Dolphins on our home field or the Jets will put a gutty Patriots team into the Playoffs. Is anybody else going to be sick?