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Bills 16 Jets 13 (Overtime): Searching for Answers

The Jets dropped a home game today to one of the worst teams in football. This is a team that lost last week to a quarterback who went 2 for 17. This is a team that lost to Eric Mangini's pathetic Browns. Every football team has at least one loss each season that just leaves you scratching your head. This one fits the bill for the Jets

More after the jump.

The Bad:

Mark Sanchez: This was as bad as it gets for a rookie. 10 for 29, 119 yards, no touchdowns, and 5 interceptions. He frankly looked lost out there. His decision making was terrible. His accuracy was way off. It seemed like the cold weather got into his head. It didn't seem like the California kid could grip the ball, the second time he was having trouble in two bad weather games.

Ok, we got that out of the way. Please go easy on the rookie. There's no tougher transition in the game than playing quarterback one year in college and in the pros the next. There are days he will look great like he did when he outplayed Tom Brady in Week 2 or when he led his team from a deficit twice in the fourth quarter in a road game on national television last week. Unfortunately there are also going to be days like today when the speed and skill of the pro game overwhelms him because he's not used to it. Even Peyton Manning had them. Don't act like one game defines his career.

Did you want Sanchez back in April? If you did, you had to know there would be days where his play would be miserable this year. That's just part of the deal. Don't call for his benching. He needs to learn. Baptism by fire. Doing that would be so short sighted. I still say he's better than Kellen Clemens.

The fake field goal or bad snap: This was just a really, really stupid call. With the game on the line, you can't ask Steve Weatherford to hit a 13 yard pass. He's not used to throwing it. That was a crazy risk on that spot on the field and one that wasn't going to work out. If it was just a bad snap and a field goal call from the bench, that's still not a great play. A 50 yard kick in the Meadowlands wind probably wasn't happening. The play is to line up with Feely holding and Weatherford as the kicker. Direct snap it to Weatherford, and let him pooch it with no returner deep. Flip field position and let your defense win the game.

Dustin Keller: A couple of drops. A killer penalty in overtime. Awful week in a quiet year for a guy who was supposed to break out this season.

Ben Hartsock: There's just no excuse for that holding penalty in overtime. Let Thomas Jones get tackled. Don't hold. It's still a shorter field goal try.

Calvin Pace: Bad penalty in overtime. Didn't do well in pass coverage. Cheap shot to take out Trent Edwards. I understand defenses take pride when they knock a quarterback out of the game, but that's only on a clean hit. He threw Edwards down when the play was over. That's a great way to put a target on Mark Sanchez's back in the second meeting.

James Ihedigbo: Cost the Jets 15 yards to start the fake field goal drive in overtime because he lost his cool and threw a punch. Don't you think the Jets could have used that yardage and kicked a 35 yarder instead of a 50 yarder. I really hate to call for a man's job, but Ihedigbo deserves to be cut tomorrow. He let down his teammates in a big way. When everything was on the line, he selifishly decided his own retaliation was more important than his 51 teammates. There's no room for that on the team. Nobody is bigger than the New York Jets. His job is to contribute on special teams. Today he showed that the team can't count on him. This wasn't a mistake on the field when he was trying to do his best like Mark Sanchez. This was a conscious decision. Nice story he made the team undrafted from UMass. He of all people should understand playing in this league is not a right.

Third quarter play calling: You're going into the wind. It's affecting your quarterback. He's got no confidence. He's throwing it up for grabs. He's inaccurate. Why throw it deep twice? That's asking for two interceptions.

The Defense: This is supposed to be an elite unit. You need to stop Ryan Fitzpatrick in a key spot in your building. You just have to.

The Good:

Thomas Jones: What can you really say? 22 carries for 210 yards. He carried the load offensively.

Leon Washington: 18 offensive touches for 145 yards.

The Offensive Line: They were consistently getting a push all game and winning battles. You don't run for 318 yards without a dominant performance by the offensive line. This unit is really rounding into form. They're starting to live up to their four first round pick billing.

Darrelle Revis: After a couple of early penalties, we didn't hear from Terrell Owens at all. Another man who went to Revis Island and was never heard from again.

Sione Pouha: He was controlling the point of attack before Kris Jenkins got hurt and consistently got a push after Jenkins left injured.

Vernon Gholston: I made it a point to focus on Gholston today. I really liked what I saw. He showed good power moves as a pass rusher. The Jets lined him up on the nose a few times in obvious passing downs. He flushed Ryan Fitzpatrick from the pocket a few times and generally made him uncomfortable. He understood his assignments on running plays and did a good job containing. It seemed like he really knew what he was doing, which was good considering how raw and lost he looked a year ago. Should we expect more from a top ten pick? Yes. Has he shown a lot of improvement? Yes.

Other Thought:

  • Dick Jauron never should have played for a long field goal at the end of regulation. That stadium is known for its crazy wind. He should have kept attacking. He almost cost them a win in the Meadowlands for the second straight year.

This obviously stinks, but it's important to keep it in perspective. The Jets are 3-3. They're still in the thick of the race in the division. They have a better record than the Bills and Dolphins. They are a game behind New England with a head to head win. You may not feel good about the way the team has arrived here. Would you feel better if the club started 0-3 and won three straight? Maybe, but the Jets would be in exactly the same spot.

Well go crazy and let this sink in. No team is ever as good as it looks at its best or as bad as it looks at its worst. Not everything will always click like it did today.

I wrote that after the Week 1 domination of the Texans. The same applies today in terms of the Jets not really being as bad as they looked. This team is better than it looked today. Things won't stay like this all year. Just remember it's a long season. It ebbs and flows. How many times did your perception of last year's team change? This team has the potential to play with anybody in the league like it did with the Pats Week 1. It has the potential to lose to anybody like it did with the Bills today. Just because the Jets look one way one week doesn't mean they will look that way the rest of the year. The Jets are still in decent shape and can turn this around.

I get it. This was a bitter loss, but there's a lot of season left.