Some people wonder where the SOJ (Same ol’ Jets) mantra comes from. Well, unfortunately you don’t have to look much further than last week’s abysmal performance. This was their latest display of putrid football when they needed to play their best. We have seen the Jets bounce back from this mess before. We’ve also seen them completely fall apart. What the end of the 2011 season will look like is anyone’s guess. Here’s a look at some other recent Week 15 collapses.
1997 Week 15 vs. Indianapolis Colts
A year after going 1-15, the Jets found themselves tied for first at 8-5 going into their Week 15 matchup at home with the 1-12 Indianapolis Colts. The Jets were coming off of a loss to the Buffalo Bills and needed a victory to remain atop the division. As luck would have it, in came the Indianapolis Colts who had just recently won their first game of the season. The Jets had defeated the Colts in their early season match-up and were expected to win at home.
The Jets however, came out flat. They allowed Marshall Faulk to run all over them for 133 yards, they allowed 8 sacks for a loss of 58 yards, couldn’t run the ball and were down 22-0 in the 4th Quarter.
Coach Parcells simply said “We stunk” after the game and promised changes. The loss dropped them to 8-6 – a game behind the Patriots and Dolphins in the division – and dropped them out of the Wildcard. They would go on to defeat the Buccaneers in the next week and were fortunate to have the Dolphins lose the next two games. They had a chance to get into the playoffs in the last week but lost to the Lions 13-10 and were knocked out of the playoffs.
2000 Week 15 at Oakland Raiders
Going into their Week 15 match-up with the Oakland Raiders the Jets were 9-4 and in 2nd place in the AFC East – 1 game behind the Dolphins. They traveled out west to face the 10-3 Oakland Raiders. The Raiders were a tough challenge for the Jets. But riding a 3 game winning streak the expectations were that the Jets were going to give the Raiders a big challenge.
The Jets however did not show up losing 31-7. Their only points came when 3rd string QB Chad Pennington hit WR Wayne Chrebet for a touchdown with 24 seconds left in the game. Starting QB Vinny Testaverde went down with a groin injury but not after throwing 2 Interceptions. His back-up Ray Lucas did not fare much better also threw 2 Interceptions.
The Jets would still have a chance to get into the playoffs by winning one of the final two games. They blew an opportunity against the Lions the next week and then had to play against the eventual Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens in the final week. Despite playing the Ravens tough they would fall short after seeing the Ravens return 2 punts and an Interception for Touchdowns.
2002 Week 15 at Chicago Bears
After starting 2-5 the Jets had gotten themselves back into the playoff race by winning 5 out of their last 6 games heading into the match-up with the 3-10 Chicago Bears. Despite getting back into the playoff race the Jets endured a big fight during practice leading up to the Bears game.
The Bears scored 10 points in the 2nd Quarter to go up 10 – 0 into halftime. The Jets – after a holding penalty called back a Kickoff return for a TD by Chad Morton – responded with a touchdown drive cutting the Bears lead to 10-7. The Bears answered back with a 63 yard drive culminating with a TD by former Jet Leon Johnson. After two FG’s by Jets kicker John Hall and one by Bears Kicker Paul Edinger the Jets had one last chance. They got the ball with 2:38 left in the game at their own 24. They began to move the ball down the field with passes from QB Chad Pennington to RB’s Curtis Martin, Chad Morton and Richie Anderson. They moved the ball down to the Bears 37 yard line with 1:19 remaining.
That’s when ‘it’ happened. Chad Pennington hit WR Wayne Chrebet on the left side of the field. Chrebet took the pass and began to run up the field. Instead of running out of bounds Chrebet tried his best attempt a flying. He was hit while in the air and began falling towards the field head first. He held out his arms to brace for the impact and lost the ball. The Bears recovered and the Jets lost.
The Jets needed to win each of their next two games and get help to have a chance to make the playoffs. And help they did get. First the Dolphins lost to the Vikings in a Saturday night game. Then the Jets went into Foxboro and defeated the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots.
The following week was one of the most insane and unpredictable days in Jets History. The Jets needed either the Browns to lose to the Falcons or the Dolphins to lose to the Patriots. The Browns stopped a Falcons march down the field to win their game and the Patriots were losing to the Dolphins by 11 points in the closing moments of their game. The Patriots (aided by some very strange coaching decisions by the Dolphins) tied the game and forced OT. When Adam Vinatieri’s 35 yard GW FG went thru the uprights the fans at the Meadowlands erupted in euphoria and the Jets had a chance that they would not spoil.
2009 Week 15 vs. Atlanta Falcons
The Jets in Rex Ryan’s first season as Head Coach were looking to make a late season run into the playoffs. They had won 3 games in a row and were hosting the 6-7 Atlanta Falcons. The Jets needed the win to keep pace with 4 other teams vying for the final Wildcard spot.
The Falcons got the scoring going with a Matt Bryant 24 yard FG. The Jets responded and got a TD pass of 65 yards from QB Mark Sanchez to WR Braylon Edwards. Neither the Jets nor the Falcons would score again until late in the 4th Quarter when the Falcons marched down and got the GW TD on a 6 yard pass from QB Matt Ryan to TE Tony Gonzalez. The defense failed to stop the Falcons with the game on the line. Rex Ryan thought the Jets playoff chances were over.
However, Ryan was wrong but the Jets needed to defeat the undefeated Indianapolis Colts and the playoff bound Cincinnati Bengals in back to back weeks to get in. The Colts decided that going for the undefeated season was not a priority sat most of their star players allowing the Jets to roll over the Colts in the 2nd half and get the needed victory. The Jets now controlled their own destiny and with their win the next week would go on to make the playoffs as the 2nd Wildcard.
There’s the brief rundown of our recent Week 15 collapses. I decided to write about this as part historical reference and partly to show that despite last week’s loss – as bad as it was – we can still get into the playoffs and make a run. This can go either way. Let’s go Jets!!