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Palladino: Jets’ Debacle Raises Doubts About Rest Of Season

Santonio Holmes, left, of the New York Jets writhes on the turf after fumbling a ball picked up by  Carlos Rogers of the San Francisco 49ers during a game at MetLife Stadium on September 30, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Santonio Holmes, left, of the New York Jets writhes on the turf after fumbling a ball picked up by Carlos Rogers of the San Francisco 49ers during a game at MetLife Stadium on September 30, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

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By Ernie Palladino
» More Ernie Palladino Columns

The Jets are selling season tickets for as low as $50 per game.

Don’t jump on that yet, though. The way Rex Ryan’s self-proclaimed best team of his coaching era is going, you might be able to get a nice view for the price of bus fare to the Meadowlands in a few weeks. Then, the issue will become whether this team is worth sitting in the wind and the cold of late autumn as opposed to watching it in a warm living room.

Their record stands a 2-2 after Sunday’s 34-0 debacle to San Francisco. So take comfort in the fact that only the first quarter of the season is now in the books. There are still 12 games to go, certainly plenty of time for normal teams to correct mistakes and turn win-loss marks upside down.

But the Jets aren’t really a normal team anymore. They lost their best overall player in Darrelle Revis for the season last week and, please, let’s not buy into Ryan’s nonsense about keeping him around in case there’s a Super Bowl where the Jets might be able to use him. He’s cooked for 2012, whether he’s designated under the tweaked injury rule where one player can come off the IR.

Adding to what, after yesterday, seems an absurdity to even talk about a wild card spot, let alone a Super Bowl, now the Jets will likely take this next stretch without Santonio Holmes after their best receiver went down with yet another non-contact injury. First play, fourth quarter. Holmes cut awkwardly after the catch, and then appeared to fling the ball away to clutch his left leg before any defender touched him down. Carlos Rogers returned that one 51 yards for a touchdown that pumped the score to 24-0.

Not that we’re blaming Holmes for reacting the way he did to what was likely searing pain in, as identified after the game, his left foot. It was simply the way things went for Gang Green on a lost Sunday afternoon.

By the way the season has gone, one can safely assume Holmes will be gone for an extended period. That won’t help Mark Sanchez’ shaky confidence after a 13-of-29, 103-yard outing that still wouldn’t have been impressive had Dashon Goldson not flicked away his deep, third-quarter shot to Holmes. It was the kind of game, and kind of quarterbacking performance, where it felt there was no return from 17-0.

The defense was horrendous. As the 49ers out-Tebowed Tony Sparano and that whole, ineffective Tim Tebow package, they grounded and pounded, finessed, and snookered their way to 245 rushing yards. At one point, the Niners’ offensive line pile-drived 346-pound Kendrick Ellis four full yards off the line of scrimmage for a healthy gain.

They gave the Jets the offensive variety Ryan wanted for his own team. Only, when the Jets tried it, there was nothing there.

Tebow was laughable behind center, whether as the sole quarterback on the field or in the Wildcat with Sanchez split. His first pass as a Jet, a little quick throw over the middle to Dedrick Epps, was fumbled. Not his fault. But not a potential big-gainer, either.

Ryan said he’ll stick with Sanchez as his starter. He should. Sanchez is only one of the problems, and a backup who can’t throw at all is not the answer there.

The fact is, the Jets have issues all over the field now, and not just because of missing stars. The offensive line run-blocked to a 2.6-yard average, well below the equally unimpressive 3.3 mark they took into the game. The pass blocking picked up nobody. When Sanchez did have time, he missed open receivers.

The running backs couldn’t find holes, and now Jets fans should surely wonder if Shonn Greene is indeed a worthy starter.

The defense? The score could have been much worse had Alex Smith not overthrown receivers three times against beaten right cornerback Kyle Wilson.

The Jets have a lot to straighten out, but do they have the manpower to do it?

The next two games against 4-0 Houston and 1-2 Indianapolis should provide some answers. If they’re a non-competitive 2-4 heading into New England on Oct. 21, go ahead and buy Woody Johnson’s bargain tickets.

By then, a smile and a kind word ought to get you two in the end zone.

Do you think the Jets are already cooked? Be heard in the comments below…