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Jaguars 24 Jets 22: A New Low

The Jets are 4-5 after their 24-22 loss to Jacksonville in the Meadowlands today. That makes 5 losses in 6 games.  It's the 4th of those 5 to be decided in the final 2:00. It's yet another crushing loss in a season that started so well.
More after the jump.

The Bad:

Kerry Rhodes: I've officially had enough of hearing Kerry talk about how great he is. Tone it down until you back it up on the field. Despite the defense's success, he hasn't transformed into the playmaker many expected. He was burned on the decisive play that set up a chip shot field goal.

First Half Defense: The Jets did not force a punt in the first half, and the front seven was completely manhandled. Jacksonville's run blockers constantly sealed their men and gave Maurice Jones-Drew holes to explode through. He almost because the first 100 yard rusher against New York this season in the first half alone.

Last Drive Defense: The pass rush wasn't there. I know this is a great defense, an elite unit. It would be nice if they could get the big stop, though. This is the third time in six games the other team has put together a game winning drive late in the fourth.

Rookie Mistakes by Mark Sanchez: This game was not a total wash for the rookie quarterback. He made some plays that flashed his promise and showed signs of what he will become with more seasoning. There were subtle errors, though, like not elevating the ball Quentin Groves interception. Don't get me wrong. It was an incredible display of athelticism and coordination by Groves. Great, great play. However, part of being a quarterback in the NFL is to make sure a quick throw to a receiver is high enough to get over a lineman. There was the timeout on the goal line he burned in the second half with plenty of time left on the play clock. There were a few attempted throw aways that Jacksonville defenders touched. These didn't affect the game, but it's playing with fire. If you're throwing it away, put it in the second row, not within reach of a defender. These things come with time and illustrate how tough it is to win with a rookie quarterback.

Dustin Keller: I know it's really tough to get on him. His 6 catch, 58 yard day was productive and encouraging. He's starting to emerge in the passing game. There were also a couple of key drops. In addition, a guy with his athleticism ought to be able to make somebody miss or break a tackle every now and then.

Braylon Edwards: Again, tough to get on him with 79 yards on 3 receptions, but his fumble was a killer. So was his drop on the two point conversion after the Jets took the lead in the fourth. It was not an unforced error but still a ball a number one receiver can't let hit the ground. He also never should have thrown it on his option pass. He had open field and a blocker in front of him and could have picked up a first down by tucking and running.

Lowery/Sheppard Combo: Dwight Lowery and Lito Sheppard are good football players. They have been good to very good this season. They had trouble with Torry Holt and Mike Thomas. Darrelle Revis shut down Mike Simms-Walker, but Jacksonville's top wideout scored a touchdown when Revis wasn't on him.

First Play Call: One thing I've always said about Brian Schottenheimer is that he has incredible acumen of X's and O's but doesn't know how to apply his knowledge. It reminds me of this teacher I had in high school chemistry. He was a brilliant guy who knew the concepts inside and out. He just couldn't communicate them so nobody in my class left with the slightest clue about chemistry. The first play of the game made sense on the chalkboard. It ended with Jerricho Cotchery wide open. The problem is it's really too hard for a rookie quarterback to roll left and make an accurate long throw against his body. The result was failure.

Let me talk about the Edwards throw. Part of the blame goes on Braylon for making the throw with open field in front of him, but why would you want him throwing with the game on the line? He's not used to doing it. It's not what he does best.

Darrelle Revis Returning Punts: Let me go on record. This is a horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible idea. I know he was great returning punts at Pitt. I know he had an incredible return against West Virginia. I watched that game and was blown away. There is absolutely no reason for him to be returning punts. By far his most important role on this team is shutting down the other team's best receiver. Why get him hit and potentially injured by running punts back? Is the risk worth the benefit? How much better will the team be with him instead of Jim Leonhard even if he is a little better as a return man? By the way, his long on 2 returns was for 3 yards.

Lack of Intensity: I'm sure we'll hear all week about how Rex Ryan giving the team 6 days off during the bye led to such a sloppy performance. That's a really simplistic explanation, but the poor performance full of mistakes in the first half will give these people plenty of ammo.

Up Men: The Jets got lucky on Jacksonville's surprise onside kick. That's all there is to it. The front line left early. They've been doing it all year. It was only a matter of time before somebody exploited it. The Jaguars executed, and the Jets got a few lucky bounces. It was frustrating to see these guys continue to leave early even after that. This needs to be corrected.

The Good:

Thomas Jones: He hit holes, broke tackles, and grinded out tough yardage on his 77 yard, 21 carry day.

Mike Devito: He played really well in the middle of the line, winning his matchups and getting off his blocks.

Jim Leonhard: He was all over the field with 7 tackles and a sack.

Brad Smith: Made some nice plays on coverage units.

Jaguars Fans on This Site: All week Jaguars fans graced us with their presence here on GGN, and I can't say enough about them. They were classy, knowledgable, and added a lot to our discussion here. In the year and change I've run this blog, I've come across some great fan bases. The Bills and Texans come to mind. The Jaguars fans we came across this week top the list. Congrats on the win. Good luck the rest of the way. Please do continue to stop by.

 Halftime Adjustments: The Jets played much more inspired football in the second half.

Other Thoughts:

  • You really can't say enough about Maurice Jones-Drew. It's been a long time since a football player impressed me like he did today. He's the total package. He's got speed and vision. He hits hits holes. He's bruising between the tackles. He's a threat as a receiver. He blocks well. He's got football intellect and is selfless like when he went down on the 1 instead of padding his stats with a touchdown so the Jets wouldn't have a chance to get the ball back. He was the difference.
  • David Garrard also gets props. He made the plays on that last drive.
  • It's funny how things even out. Two weeks ago, the Jets pretty much manhandled the Dolphins but essentially handed them the game by making silly errors. This week, the Jags really had the better of the play for most of the game, but a missed field goal, a guy tripping himself going into the end zone, and a botched exchange from the one foot line were enough to almost gift wrap the Jets a win.
  • I find this a bit easier to swallow than the Miami game. It's one thing when the opponent plays better than you like the Jaguars did. It's another to constantly shoot yourself in the foot like the Jets did two weeks ago. There was no doubt the Jaguars were the better team today.
  • It's frustrating because it's clear the Jets are on the verge of being a good team, but they just can't finish games. Kind of like Mark Sanchez. He makes plays that show the ability is there, but it just hasn't all come together yet.

Well, these are surely not the circumstances you want heading to Foxborough. This team is in bad shape after a series of bitter losses. At this point, the Playoffs have begun. The Jets probably need to win their last 7 to make it. How disappointing.