By Jason Keidel
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The roof collapsed on the Giants, and it landed on the Jets.
The Jets played another game of football follies yesterday, splashing around the stormy Meadowlands in a 10-6 loss to the Miami Dolphins. But fans aren’t finding it funny this time.
Miami had 131 yards and six first downs, which would be a fine first quarter. But those were their totals all game. Yet the Jets – who have now gone nine quarters without a touchdown on offense – are playing with none of the might and mojo that made them Super Bowl contenders after eleven games.
If the Jets got a mulligan for the mauling in New England, they’ve lost all the latitude that their fans have given them after a sizzling 9-2 start. Supporters said that the close wins that have defined their season hardened the team for a playoff run. Cynics asserted that their record was built on the backs of losers.
This game strengthens the hypothesis that the Jets feast on the league’s least. Now 1-4 against clubs with winning records (and just 4-3 at home), the Jets are tanking at the worst time. Their next two games are on the road in foul weather against fine teams (Pittsburgh and Chicago).
Yesterday’s game was vital, if only as a brief bandage on a brutal month that includes three probable playoff teams. It was, as much as a non-elimination contest can be, a must-win game. Mark Sanchez couldn’t throw the ball, LaDainian Tomlinson couldn’t run the ball, and the Jets are perilously close to slipping from daunting to haunting in a matter of three weeks.
The Jets have made their symbolic bed, saddled by the twin burdens of poor play and trash talking. Rex Ryan, their lead vocalist, never met a microphone he didn’t like. And he’s trained his team in verbosity. Each loss chops some charm off his persona.
“Hopefully they’ll bury one of our footballs, too,” Brandon Marshall told The Associated Press, a sardonic reference to Rex Ryan’s pseudo-funeral for the game ball after the galling 45-3 loss at New England.
All the talk is tolerated when you win. When the losses mount, the league rejoices in watching the Jets crash. “We felt if we got out in front of them, it kind of takes a lot out of them,” said Marshall.
“We’re not going to call them front-runners,” he continued, and then called them front-runners. “…when you get out and score fast, hit them in the mouth fast, they tend to be the ones getting off the ground second.”
Reinforcing the notion that the Jets play with no class, the Jets’ strength and conditioning coach, Sal Alosi, tripped a Miami player during a special teams play in the third quarter, bending his left leg to make his knee jut just enough to catch Nolan Carroll galloping down the sideline. “They’re cheaters,” said Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder, according to AP. “They do what they do. They cheat. They talk junk. But we beat the hell out of them today.”
The video replay of the incident is damning. Indeed, there is no video other than two field goals that the Jets will enjoy.
More than anything, Marshall called the Jets soft. There’s a growing perception that the Jets are quintessential bullies, and if you fight back they fold. The Jets have three weeks to prove the world wrong. Beating Pittsburgh says more than any press conference ever could. Bury a team rather than bury a ball.
Feel free to email me: Jakster1@mac.com
- Sanchez ‘Sick’ Over Jets’ Sloppy Loss To Dolphins (newyork.cbslocal.com)