In what was another game of high hopes and expectations, another must win, the New York Jets laid yet another egg, getting thoroughly embarrassed by the Philadelphia Eagles, 45-19. Just like in Week 3, or just like in Week 9, when the Gang Green had to win to make a statement and take over the first place in the division, they just came out flat and got totally outclassed. This time the division lead wasn't on the line, as the Jets had lost any realistic hope for the division title a while ago, but the Gang Green could have solidified their Wild Card claims with a win in Philly, but it just wasn't to be.
It all started on the Jets' opening possession with a fumble by the usually sure handed WR Santonio Holmes. The Eagles recovered on New York's 43-yard line and returned it all the way back for a touchdown. Two minutes later it looked like Philadelphia was about to return the favor with a muffed punt deep in their own red zone, but Holmes' sure hands struck again. This time QB Mark Sanchez's pass flew right through the receiver's hands directly to an Eagles' defender. Following the interception, Philly quickly marched down the field, extending the lead to 14-0.
It went downhill from there on, as the Jets kept making mistakes, committing stupid penalties, blowing coverages, missing tackles - you name it. Whatever could have gone wrong, surely did go wrong for the Jets in this game, as they got dominated, outclassed and outcoached on both sides of the football.
Holmes, who was responsible for the first two turnovers, then was also flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct, following his touchdown catch in the second quarter. The Jets were down 28-10 at that point, yet Holmes felt the need to put his foot on the ball and flap his arms mimicking the Eagle touchdown celebration. Is that how a team captain should conduct himself? When asked whether he regretted his actions after the game, Holmes quickly said "no."
Then, there was OT Wayne Hunter. How many times did we see him get beaten time after time this season? It didn't take long for the Eagles to expose this glaring weakness in the Jets' offensive line. Hunter was simply no match to DE Jason Babin, who came into this game leading Philly with 15.0 sacks. As Hunter was getting beaten time after time, the Gang Green's coaching staff made absolutely no adjustments. They did not put a tight end or a running back on Hunter's side to give Sanchez, who was getting hammered back there, an extra second or two to release the ball.
But then, we're talking about Brian Schottenheimer, whose offensive genius once again was on display in all its glory today. The Jets had their running game working for them pretty well early in the game. RB Shonn Greene was averaging over five yards per carry, busting two 10+ yard runs on the Jets' opening possession. Yet for some reason the Gang Green abandoned the ground and pound right after the first Philly score, opting to throw the ball instead. This played right into the hands of the Eagles' defense whose pass-rush was way more than the Gang Green could handle.
The defense was just as bad. Once again they made an ordinary tight end look like an All-Pro. This time it was Brent Celek, who came into this game with 517 receiving yards in 13 games (roughly 40 yards per game). He had 140 receiving yards against Rex Ryan's defense, including a 73 yard catch in the third quarter that pretty much nullified any comeback hopes for the Jets.
Fortunately, nothing really was lost today, as both the Raiders and the Titans lost as well. So, the Jets still control their own destiny and will make the playoffs if they win the two remaining games. The first task will come next Saturday when the Gang Green takes on the Giants (7-7) in what is going to be a basically playoff elimination game, as the Giants have to win their remaining two games as well. The Giants got embarrassed today by the Washington Redskins and will surely look to rebound against the Jets. Hopefully, Rex Ryan's team will be up to the task...