By Ernie Acosta
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What a disgusting, heart-wrenching performance by the Jets. How could this team – check that – any team put up such a pathetic offensive display as we saw on Sunday. In baseball, 9-0 is the official score put into the records books when one of the teams has forfeited. This is fitting considering how this team’s offense seemed like they were purposely trying to punt this game away. Losing is one thing, but to embarrass yourselves by being shut out, at home coming off a bye week to a team as decimated by injuries as the Packers were, is inexcusable. I know this team probably had a loss coming to them after the way they played in the last two wins, but I never expected a soul crushing loss like this.
It will be interesting to see how much heat Rex Ryan gets for giving his team a long layoff during the bye week. I don’t care how well the coaches and players will tell us they practiced all week, because they played like garbage and looked like they hadn’t been on the field in months. This goes for our offensive coordinator Brian Shottenheimer as well. Forget the absurd amount of passing plays he called, but who can explain why he has completely forgotten about the guy that was supposed to be the main back coming into the season. In a game the Jets never trailed by more than a touchdown until the final minute of play, there is no excuse for giving Shonn Greene the ball only six times. When you have not one, but two excellent running backs, the formula for success is not running the ball only 22 times.
I will, however, stand up for Mike Westhoff. I don’t want to hear anybody get on the Jets special teams coordinator for the ill-fated fake punt. It was Steve Weatherford’s decision to try running for a first down on the 4th and 18 play. Regardless, it doesn’t matter that the play led to the Packers first three points of the game. The Jets weren’t scoring all day anyway. What, the field goal with 53 minutes left in the game was too demoralizing a deficit to come back from?
That play was not what doomed the Jets, but I’ll tell you what play did hurt this team in a big way. In the third quarter, in the Jets best drive of the game (not saying a lot I know), Sanchez had just hooked up with Jerricho Cotchery on a big 49-yard pass. The Jets had 2nd down with two yards to go when Shonn Greene ran to the right for five yards and what would have been a first down, except for a holding penalty on Nick Mangold. The offense was never able to get that first down back and was forced to attempt a 37-yard field goal, which Nick Folk would then completely miss. I’m not saying this team would have put up seven after that first down, which would have put them in the red zone, but I would have really liked their chances.
Who knows maybe Mangold was just saving us from having to see another ball stripped from one of Jets receivers. The hands on these wide receivers are starting to become a major issue. Not only is getting the ball yanked out of the receivers’ hands embarrassing, seeing one dropped pass after another by everyone eligible to catch a pass in a green jersey is wearing on me. Even Cotchery, who has the best hands on the team dropped a sure first down in a fourth quarter drive that would ultimately lead to a turnover on downs. Holmes dropping what could have been a touchdown in the first series after the half was a crushing miscue. Seeing how badly the team played in the first 30 minutes of the game, I thought for sure they would come out firing in at least their first offensive drive of the second half. Especially when Brad Smith returned the kick to the Green Bay 48-yard line. Instead the Holmes drop led to a three-and-out and the team would never come so close to getting in the end zone again.
Sanchez deserves his share of blame. It’s a third straight outing where he’s reminded us of his inexperience and youth. It’s hard to blame him for the second interception, that was really a good pass that Keller lost and probably would have been overturned had Rex not used his two challenges already. I will hold him to task for the first pick. The ball never should have been thrown that way. It was 3rd and eleven, the play should not be a four yard pass to a stationary Cotchery over the middle. It’s alarming to hear that during the week Sanchez said he needed to check down more to his receivers. That kind of conservative play is what lost the first game of this season. And if you’re going to play conservatively, it should probably not lead to two interceptions.
Before I forget, as a Cablevision subscriber I would like to thank Cablevision and Fox for coming to an agreement Saturday night so this game could be broadcast. After watching the game I have one question for you. Couldn’t you have waited one more day?
You’re never as bad as your worst game and never as good as your best. I know this team probably was never as good as their 5-1 record, but a loss like this one is scary. Championship teams don’t have games like the Jets did Sunday. I’m sure Rex will ride them all week and they will come out and blow apart the Lions next week, but no matter what happens, the fear of seeing a game like this again will stick in my mind for the rest of the season.