Through 10 games this season, the New York Jets have only managed to break even, falling to 5-5 after losses to the New England Patriots (6-3) and Denver Broncos (5-5) in Weeks 10 and 11, respectively.
After Denver quarterback Tim Tebow (9 of 20 passing, 104 yards; 68 rushing yards, 1 TD)–facing a three-point deficit late in the fourth quarter–marched his team to New York’s 20-yard line Thursday night, he rushed the ball in for a go-ahead touchdown. The Jets came up empty in their final possession and would lose 17-13.
We can talk about the Jets possibly being fatigued since their most recent game entering Thursday had taken place four days prior; we can talk about them losing running backs LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene to injury before and during the game, respectively; and we can talk about Mark Sanchez (24 of 40, 252 yards, 1 INT) throwing a pick six and no TD in the contest. This loss is on the shoulders of the coaches.
On offense and defense, players, no matter their level of talent, have to be placed in a position to succeed. For instance, why wasn’t someone spying on Tebow during Denver’s last drive? Anyone who’s ever played an NFL video game the last 15 years knows having a QB spy has its benefits–especially against a QB who runs as often as Tebow. At the very least, it could have helped to prevent him from winning the game with his legs.
Look at the replay of Tebow’s game-winning dash; no Jet was in position to seal the corner, creating a wipe open lane that made the 24-year-old’s 20-yard TD run fairly easy.
Is Gang Green’s season over? Not mathematically. But losing to a QB many experts believe should be no more than a towel boy in professional football certainly doesn’t help morale. Head coach Rex Ryan and his staff knew–along with the entire planet–how Denver’s offense was going to come at his team, and yet Tebow couldn’t be stopped at the very end.
And perhaps that is because, when you get through all the hype and tinsel, the Jets this season just aren’t that good.