By Peter Schwartz
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There’s really no other way to say it.
The Jets failed to capitalize on an opportunity to go to their first Super Bowl since 1969. Instead, their comeback tell short and they lost to the Steelers 24-19 in the AFC Title Game at Heinz Field.
Gang Green put forth a disgraceful first half as they fell behind 24-0 and were down 24-3 after 30 minutes. Several players admitted after the game that they came out flat in the first half.
How in the world do you come out flat when you are 60 minutes away from the Super bowl?
Yes, they deserve a lot of credit for not quitting and rallying to make it a game, but where was the sense of urgency? How can you not be ready to play in this game against a Steelers team that was more than vulnerable?
For the 2nd straight year, the Jets season ends one game shy of the biggest game on the planet and for a 2nd straight year, the off-season will be filled with “what ifs” and “we’ll get ‘em next year.” However, there’s one little issue with that.
With the current CBA between the owners and players due to expire in March, there’s no telling what the NFL landscape will look like in terms of salary cap and how a roster can be put together.
LISTEN: Mark Sanchez can’t hide his disappointment after loss
The Jets will have plenty of questions to answer in the off-season…
Can they re-sign both Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes?
Will Shaun Ellis be back?
Will Jason Taylor return? His post-game news conference may have suggested that his Hall of Fame career has come to an end.
How much of the team can be retained and what who will be on their free agent radar?
Many, if not all of these questions might not be answered until a new CBA is reached.
Do the Jets retain offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer?
And there’s plenty more questions that we’ll delve into as the off-season progresses. Maybe we’ll find out what might lie ahead when the Jets speak to reporters on Monday as they clean out their lockers at the Atlantic Health Training Center.
The sting of this loss will last a while. This was a talented Jets team that had a window of opportunity to get the job done. While the team has a talented core, time will tell as to whether or not the Jets can retool and get back to the Championship Game in order to take the next step.
Here’s a question that plenty of people are asking me right now…
Was this season a success?
There’s several different ways you can look at that. Sure, 13-6 including two playoff wins is nice and the Jets gave their fans lots to cheer about.
However, the ending was tough to handle.
So here’s how I label the Jets’ 2010 campaign… a good season that ended prematurely.
You never know when you’re getting back to the game. For the Jets, the waiting continues. When will it end?
Maybe next season… maybe not.
Here’s one thing that I know. The Jets have captivated their fan base and have become relevant again. It’s not what all of you fans want to hear right now, but business is business.
The Jets just need to make some adjustments in their pursuit of getting to the Super Bowl.
Here are some other notes about the game, courtesy of the Jets’ media relations staff…
QB MARK SANCHEZ finished with 233 yards and two touchdowns on 20-of-33 passing with a quarterback rating of 102.2, marking his second consecutive game with a 100+ passer rating. Sanchez now owns three of the top five marks in club postseason history (139.4 on 1/9/10 at Cin & 127.3 on 1/16/11 at NE). He is the only Jets QB with 100+ passer rating in multiple road playoff games (min. 15 att.).
The Jets opened the second half with a five-play, 90-yard touchdown drive that was capped with a 45-yard pass from Sanchez to WR Santonio Holmes. The drive took 2:47 and brought the Jets within 14 (24-10). It is the fifth postseason touchdown reception of Holmes career in six games played. Holmes finished the game with two catches for 61 yards and the score.
WR Jerricho Cotchery caught his second career postseason touchdown in the fourth quarter to bring the score to 24-19 in favor of the Steelers. Cotchery finished the game with five receptions for 33 yards. His five receptions give him 30 in the postseason the most by any Jet in club history.
RB Shonn Greene finished the game with 52 yards on nine carries (5.8 avg.).
The Jets defense held the Pittsburgh Steelers offense to 46 net yards on 26 plays in the second half. The Jets recorded their third safety of the season when they tackled Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger in the end zone following an aborted snap in the end zone. The other safeties came at PIT (12/19/10) and vs. CIN (11/25).
LB Calvin Pace recorded his third-career postseason sack, all three of the sacks have come in this postseason.
DE Trevor Pryce recorded the Jets second sack of the game, dropping Roetlisberger for a five-yard loss.
It is the Jets 13th consecutive postseason game with a sack. The streak started in the club’s 1998 AFC Championship Game when they recorded three.
LB Bryan Thomas recorded the first interception of his career in the second quarter, when he caught a Roethlisberger pass that bounced off of RB Rashard Mendenhall.
S Brodney Pool recorded the Jets second interception of the game when he jumped in front of a Roethlisberger pass. It was the third interception by the Jets defense this postseason.
That’s all for now. Thanks so much for following my coverage of the Jets all season. It was a blast for me to cover the team and I’m sure it’s going to be an off-season chock full of news so keep checking back for updates.
How far can the Jets go next season (if there is one)? Sound off in the comments below…