We've been through this many times before, we've believed in this many times before and the Jets have failed just like this many times before. They did it again last night when in a must win game against the hated Patriots, they just failed to perform up to the level needed to be competitive. In the game that was expected to result in the shift of power in the AFC East, the crowned champ simply demolished the contender. Contrary to last week, when the Gang Green performed admirably against the Bills in every aspect of the game, this time they made crucial mistakes everywhere they could - offense, defense and special teams.
The offense could not consistently move the ball against statistically the worst defense in the league that was also plagued by injuries. The offensive line could not pass protect, as they gave up 5 sacks, 4.5 of which were by Andre Carter who matched his total for the previous 8 games. Only the running game seemed to be working in the first half, but for some unknown reason the Jets decided to abandon it despite averaging almost 5 yards/carry. And then, of course QB Mark Sanchez, who inexplicably took an early timeout in the first half and then threw a pick-six which sealed the game for New England.
The defense once again could not "stop a nose bleed" when they had to. They never adjusted to the Pats' no-huddle offense in the second half and failed to apply any pressure on Tom Brady, which as we all know is usually the key to disrupting New England's attack. Jets' defenders had Brady almost down on several occasions but just could not make the play. Defensive backs should have had at least two interceptions in the first half but just could not make the play.
Finally, usually reliable special teams failed as well. First, PK Nick Folk missed a 24-yard field goal attempt on the opening possession. Then, in the third quarter, RB/KR Joe McKnight muffed a punt, giving the ball back to the Patriots on the Jets' 13-yard line. This was the momentum changer that gave New England a two touchdown lead and put the game pretty much out of reach.
The Patriots did absolutely nothing new in this game - the no-huddle, throws to tight ends - we've seen all of this before. Yet the Jets could not stop it. The supposedly one of the best defenses in the league failed to make plays and, as we all know, Jets' offense needs big plays from defense and special teams to be able to keep up with high-scoring opponents. Mark Sanchez, in his third year as a starter, has only shown occasional flashes so far, which is certainly not enough to be considered a justifiable #5 overall draft pick. Brian Schottenheimer also seems to be a problem with his at times asinine playcalling. But could his playcalling be the result of knowing what Mark Sanchez can or cannot do? He's pretty sure more familiar with Sanchez's strengths and weaknesses than anyone else.
Well, the division title is now pretty much out of reach and the Gang Green will have to fight for a Wild Card spot. The high expectations are all but gone now, as this team just cannot compete with the league's powerhouses, such as New England. There's always something that doesn't work right. One Sunday it's the offense that can't move the ball, another Sunday it's the defense that can't stop anyone, or it can be all failing together, just like last night against the Patriots. There's always something wrong. This team just can't perform consistently, and until they do, they should forget all of their Super Bowl bravado.
Offensive line - they were manhandled by New England's 4-man rush.
CB Kyle Wilson - dropped a sure interception, then pushed a Pats played into WR Jeremy Kerley who had to be replaced by RB/KR Joe McKnight as a punt returner. McKnight muffed a punt, giving the momentum to the Pats. Wilson also allowed a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
RB/KR Joe McKnight - muffed a punt, then dropped the ball on a kickoff.
S Eric Smith - he was terrible again in pass coverage. When's Brodney Pool coming back?
TE Matt Mulligan - he can't block, can't catch passes. Why is he even on the team?
Pass-rush - there was none.
PK Nick Folk - missed a 24-yard field goal on the opening possession.
Rex Ryan - he was outcoached by Bill Belichick... AGAIN.