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Acosta On The Jets: Aging By The Week

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(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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By Ernie Acosta
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I was 26 when this season started, a few more of these games and I’ll be feeling well on the other side of forty. I very nearly needed a nap after watching the emotional vacuum that was the game between the Jets and the Texans. To think I actually kicked my feet up late in the third quarter and thought the Jets had this one easily in the bag. Even after the Shonn Greene fumble I thought there was no way the demoralized Texans would be able to come back from the 16 point deficit. Foolish, I should have remembered the 2010 Jets don’t do anything the easy way.

All week Rex Ryan spent his used his press conferences to call out the Jets fans to be in their seats for introductions. Rex hoped his challenge would rev up the offense that had struggled early in games all season. Well Rex will have to look elsewhere to find the source of the offense’s malaise, because a full stadium watched them put together only 41 yards on three drives for three points in the first quarter. It wasn’t really until the first drive of the second quarter and fourth of the game that Mark Sanchez and his receivers were able to put together a meaningful drive. Of course, I only mention Sanchez and the receivers because the running game was nowhere in sight for this contest.

The fans that do need to be called out aren’t the ones that were late to their seats, but the ones that headed for the parking lots after the Sanchez interception. I wish there were pictures of these frauds somewhere that we can make public and expose them for the frontrunners that they are. If only I could have seen those clowns faces as they walked to their cars and heard the eruption that came from the crowd that did stay to see Sanchez hook up with Edwards on the 42-yard bomb down the sideline. Those phonies sicken me and their Meadowlands privileges should now be as nonexistent as the maroon shirted guy that ran onto the field in the third quarter.

My previous rant should in no way be interpreted to think I was confident the Jets would pull this one out when they trailed with 55 seconds left on the clock and down by four. I completely thought the Jets’ luck had run out by that point, but the way this team has played there was still a flicker of hope that Sanchez could pull out another miraculous victory.

That’s one thing, besides the victory, Jets fans can take out of this game. There is no debate left regarding Sanchez’ ability to play in this league. The kid has proven himself time and time again that he is on the fast track to becoming one of the best signal-callers in the league. He has the touch, the pocket presence, the poise, mobility and now the decision-making that is needed to be an up and coming superstar. It’s safe to say his turnover issues from last year are no longer a concern. From twenty interceptions last year, he has thrown only seven this season and you can even argue only three of those seven picks were true mistakes. He’s given his fans, coaches and teammates plenty of reason to trust him and I for one, no longer cringe in fear every time he lets the ball go.

Besides the clowns that left this game early, the two biggest disappointments that came out of this game are the defense and Shonn Greene. Let’s start with the paper tiger defense that for the second straight week allowed a fourth quarter drive to lose the lead. Before the seven play 73-yard drive that ended up in the Foster touchdown, the secondary (namely Antonio Cromartie) was embarrassed by the 43-yard touchdown pass from Matt Schaub to Joel Dreessen. This is the same thing we saw out of this defense last year. Good all game but folding just when you need them the most. The secondary had looked brilliant up until that point, but to give up those TD’s in such crucial moments is inexcusable.

What could help the secondary is an actual pass-rush, which the Jets have shown almost none of all season. The Texans offensive line isn’t so good that Schaub should be comfortably roaming the backfield and picking the secondary apart like he did. Rex needs to figure something out because right now the unit he takes so much pride in couldn’t stop a co-ed intramural team in the 4th quarter.

None of this would have been an issue had Greene not put the damn ball on the ground. Dan Dierdorf had it right when he said Greene’s fumbles had him destined for Ryan’s “doghouse.” Fact is the Jets have fumbled the ball five times this season and Greene in his very limited play has two of them. The Jets simply cannot afford to rely on him in any key situations right now. His fumbles have plagued him since he came into the league last season and by now his confidence has to be shot.

Problem is the Jets have a serious lack of depth in the backfield. Greene was supposed to be the guy to carry the running game the rest of the way, with Tomlinson spelling him and handling most of the screen plays. Now Tomlinson may have to get the ball in nearly every close fourth quarter running play the rest of the season. What makes this even tougher to watch is seeing how important Danny Woodhead has become to New England’s offense. Woodhead would have made some huge impacts on this offense but he wasn’t given the chance.

Still, the Jets are an incredible 8-2 and continue to lead the league in wins. But, Jets’ fans should prepare themselves for the barrage of criticism the Jets haters will be throwing their way for the next three days. Funny how people seem to want the fans to be upset with these wins. My favorite line of “non-believers,” so far has been the “eventually this team’s mistakes will bite them in the butt.” Which means what? They’ll lose a game because of a mistake at some point? Of course there’s a chance the Jets’ mistakes will eventually cause a loss in a close game they should have won. You can say the same thing about 31 other teams in the league.

Fact is the team has gotten the wins in games they should have lost and I will take the mistake filled win over the cleanly played loss every day of the week. We found the way to win the games other teams have lost. Are the Jets the best team in the league? I don’t know, but they are in great position to finish the season strong and secure a bye and some home field advantage for the playoffs and that’s all that matters.

I wouldn’t mind a 20-plus point win over the Bengals for Thanksgiving. Right now I could really use an easy win because I still enjoy being in my twenties.

pixy Acosta On The Jets: Aging By The Week
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