Posted on: October 5, 2009 10:16 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2009 10:26 pm
So the Jets went down to New Orleans on Sunday to face their toughest competition to date and left with their first loss of the season. They looked great on one side of the ball and horrific on the other. It may have looked bad on Sunday but the immediate future looks good for the Jets.
The defense looked very strong against the high powered offense of the Saints. They were able to hold QB Drew Brees to under 200 yards passing for the second game straight with no touchdowns. In fact the Saints did not score an offensive touchdown until there was about six minutes left in the game. Brees was never able to get into a serious rhythm against the Jets.
The Saints marched down the field on the opening possession and the "bend but dont break" defense of the Jets held them to a field goal. Brees only managed to throw for 190 yards, but most importantly he had no turnovers. It was the Saints running game that gave the Jets defense fits on the afternoon.
The Jets run defense, which had only been giving up about 82 yards per game on the ground, surrendered 153 yards to New Orleans, one of their worst performances over the past 2 seasons. RB Pierre Thomas, who scored the only offensive touchdown for the Saints, racked up 86 of those yards himself.
New York's defense did more than enough to win the game. They only gave up 10 points to the Saints offense on the afternoon, the same offense that was averaging about 40 points per game over the first three games. The defense just could not come up with the big play. They had no interceptions on the day. They did force the Saints to fumble twice but only recovered one of them. The one that they did recover, they turned into a touchdown.
It was the Jets offense that cost them this game. Rookie QB Mark Sanchez looked like a rookie for the first time on Sunday. The Saints had Sanchez looking confused all day. They forced the Jets QB to throw three interceptions and forced him to fumble which led to a touchdown for the Saints defense. On the Jets first play of the second quarter, Sanchez took the ball on the Saints 15 yard line and fired a pass to TE Dustin Keller in the end zone. Except it was picked off by S Darren Sharper on the 1 yard line and taken all the way back for a touchdown. Instead of the Jets taking a 7-3 lead, they were down 10-0.
Sanchez was confused all day and got limited help from anyone else on the offense, namely the running game. Jets RB's Thomas Jones and Leon Washington were not able to get anything going against an improved Saints defense. Combined, they only managed 65 yards on 17 carries. Washington only was able to grab 4 of those carries. He is a key to the Jets being successful this season and he needs to get the ball more than 10 times per game. That was not to be on this afternoon.
The bottom line here is that the Jets lost to the better team on Sunday. The Saints controlled the game on both sides of the ball. Brees did not have a huge game but he didn't need to. He was able to control the clock and the Saints defense did the rest. The New Orleans defense gets the game ball this week. They did something that the Jets three other opponents failed to do. Make Mark Sanchez look like a rookie.
Things will get better for Gang Green over the next four weeks. They have the Dolphins twice, the Bills and the Raiders coming up before their bye week. The defense continues to improve and will get even better with the return of LB Calvin Pace this week. We will see what kind of team the Jets are going to be next week against Miami. This is the first time they will be coming off a loss and we will see how they will respond. I expect the Jets to come out mad and firing on all cylinders next week.
Posted on: October 1, 2009 4:06 pm
So what's more important, a good defense or a good offense? That's the question that will be answered this Sunday when the New York Jets bring their revamped defense down to the Big Easy to take on the high powered offense of the New Orleans Saints. Everyone says that defense wins championships, but the Saints are trying to prove that a very good offense can get you to a championship. Both units will be put to the test on Sunday.
New York's defensive unit will face its biggest test of the 2009 season so far, going up against QB Drew Brees and the Saints offense. Brees has been off the charts over the past two seasons. In 2008, Brees threw for 5069 yards and 34 touchdowns. So far, three weeks into this season, he has 841 yards and 9 touchdowns. Brees' career has really taken off in New Orleans and the Saints have all the tools around him to make a successful run at the playoffs in 2009.
Brees' number one target in the passing game is WR Marques Colston. So far this season he only has 195 yards receiving through three games, but he has 15 receptions with 3 of them going for touchdowns. He will be matched up with Jets Pro Bowl CB Darrelle Revis. All Revis has been able to do this season has been shutting down Andre Johnson, Randy Moss and Justin Gage in successive weeks. The key for Revis will be keeping Colston out of the end zone.
The Jets are hurting a little in the secondary with Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland still nursing injuries and are questionable for Sunday. Revis and S Kerry Rhodes are also a little banged up, but they will be in the lineup on Sunday. The Jets have to do their best to take away the receivers and make the Saints beat them in other ways.
That's where the defensive line comes in. Last week against in Buffalo, the Bills held Brees to only 172 yards passing. The flip side to that was that the Saints ran the ball for 222 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Jets run defense is ranked 9th in the NFL giving up 82 yards per game on the ground. If the secondary is able to keep the receivers quiet, then the defensive line will have their hands full with RB's Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush.
The front seven of the Jets defense will need to keep pressure on Drew Brees and the running backs. It will be tough but I'm sure Rex Ryan has a good game plan in place.
One player that could end up having a good game is Saints TE Jeremy Shockey. So far this season, he been able to haul in 14 catches in the first three games. The Jets gave up some yards last week to Titans TE Alge Crumpler, so Shockey could be a huge factor in this game. Expect the Saints to use short passes to Shockey and quick screens to Bush to help them control the clock.
On the other side of the ball is the Jets offense led by rookie QB Mark Sanchez. Sanchez is having a good year by rookie standards so far with 606 yards and 4 touchdowns. He has only thrown two interceptions through three games, but does have 4 fumbles. Sanchez, the NFL's offensive rookie of the month in September, has been working on protecting the ball better in the pocket. As expected, he has made a few mistakes this season, but not when it counts. He has been very solid during the important moments of the games so far.
The Saints secondary is ranked 22nd in the NFL against the pass, giving up 245 yards per game through the air. Sanchez will have to try to expose this so he can open things up for the running game. He does have the luxury of passing to WR Jerricho Cotchery, who is currently 3rd in the NFL with 285 yards. Throw in TE Dustin Keller and WR Chansi Stuckey with Sanchez' pocket presence and the Jets should be successful through the air on Sunday.
A main key for New York is to get the ground game going to control the game clock. Last week against the Titans, RB Thomas Jones was only able to get 20 yards on 14 carries. The Saints running defense is currently ranked 5th in the league, giving up 67 yards on the ground per game. Jones and Leon Washington got plenty of carries last week but could not get the yards against Tennessee. New Orleans defense has really improved since last season and may have a good day against the Jets running backs.
They key on offense this week for Gang Green is try to establish the running game against the Saints. If they can do this, then the passing lanes will open up even more on a poor Saints secondary. They have to establish the run and keep Drew Brees and Co. off the field. The key on defense is to keep the pressure on Brees. Get him confused and try to force him into a mistake. But do not over do it on the blitz or he will burn you. The Saints offense is too talented and will find ways to score.
I have confidence that the Jets can win this game. As long as they can keep the Saints offense some what in check, then I believe their offense can do enough to win. But they are going to have to put some points on the board. Jets head down south and take it 28-24.
Posted on: September 24, 2009 9:58 pm
Edited on: September 25, 2009 8:18 am
So the Jets enter Sunday's game against the Titans with a record of 2-0. Last week they outplayed and outcoached the New England Patriots, beating them in the Meadowlands for the first time since 2000. Now they will play a Tennessee team that comes in at 0-2 and desperate for a win. So far this week, the trash talking Jets have been remotely quiet. After talking all week about the Patriots leading up to the game, the Jets have not posted any bulletin board material leading into the showdown with the Titans.
We'll start off here with the Jets offense. Last week against New England, the Jets could do nothing on offense in the 1st half. All they were able to manage was a field goal. Against the Texans in week 1, they managed only a field goal in the first quarter. The Jets may not have the opportunity to start out slow this week. Tennessee will be fired up in this game, looking to take the crowd out of it early.
The best way for the Jets to stop that is to establish the running game early. Last week Thomas Jones rushed for 54 yards and Leon Washington rushed for 58 yards himself against New England. Last November in Tennessee, Jones and Washington put up 178 yards against a defense led by Albert Haynesworth. Now that Haynesworth is in Washington, the Titans run defense is not as strong as it was last season, but it is still very good. They are currently 2nd in the NFL against the run, giving up about 99 yards per game. Do not expect the Jets to put up 178 yards this time around, but expect a solid performance out of the running game on Sunday. As long as they can get something going on the ground, they should be able to set up the play action passes and keep the Titans guessing.
When it comes down to it, the game may be Jets rookie QB Mark Sanchez' for the taking. While the Titans defense is ranked 2nd in the league against the run, their passing defense is on the opposite end of the spectrum. They are currently ranked last in the NFL, giving up about 340 yards per game in the air. This looks to be the perfect opportunity for the Jets passing game to finally take off. Heading into week 3, New York is averaging about 205 yards per game in the air. It's time for Brian Schottenheimer to use some spread formations and get some receivers downfield and see what Sanchez has.
As of now Jets #1 WR Jerricho Cotchery leads the team with 10 receptions for 177 yards. The yardage is not bad through two games but he needs to get more than 5 catches per game. Jets #2 receiver Chansi Stuckey only has 8 catches in the first two games. Sanchez needs to get him more involved in the offense this week. WR's Brad Smith and David Clowney round out the top four and have not done much over the first 2 weeks.
Sanchez has been very good over the first two games protecting the football. He seems to be very smart with the ball in the pocket. If he can find some open receivers, it will open some holes for the running game. And if the Jets can run the ball, the pressure will be off Sanchez. If he does have any trouble while dropping back, he can always get the ball over to TE Dustin Keller. Keller is building off a solid rookie year to emerge as a solid option for the Jets in the passing game.
The rock of the Jets so far this season has been their defense. Their front seven has looked very strong over the first two weeks. They will have their work cut for them. So far this year, the Titans have been averaging 163 yards per game on the ground. Last week against the Texans, RB Chris Johnson ran for 197 yards and caught 9 balls for 97 yards. His career day also included 3 td's. A key for the Jets this week is to try to slow down Johnson. It will be hard for them to stop him, so they need to limit the damage. Stop Johnson and make QB Kerry Collins beat them through the air.
The passing game for the Titans, which is averaging 221 yards per game, is still not clicking on all cylinders yet. Their top two receivers Kenny Britt and Justin Gage still have not taken off just yet. Both of them only have about 100 yards on the season. Meanwhile the Jets secondary has only been giving up about 180 yards per game, good enough for 9th in the NFL. But the Jets are hurting out there right now. CB's Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland both got banged up last week against the Patriots and have missed some practice time this week. But with CB Darrelle Revis and S Kerry Rhodes still back there, the Jets should be ok this week.
This is a tough game to gage for the Jets this week. They are riding high after shutting down two top offenses in the NFL in the Patriots and Texans. In fact, they still have not surrendered an offensive touchdown this season. While the Titans have lost two tough games and are looking to right their ship this week. This is setting up to be a classic "Let-Down" game for the Jets. But that is why Jets hired Rex Ryan, to keep this team motivated and ready to go come game days. I think the Jets defense comes out firing on Sunday and knock Kerry Collins around to start the game. Make him make mistakes and try to limit the damage from Chris Johnson. If the Jets can do this, they will be off to their first 3-0 start in a while. Jets open up the passing game and take this one 28-17.
Posted on: September 14, 2009 1:51 pm
So the Mark Sanchez and Rex Ryan era finally began this past Sunday and it did not disappoint. The Jets went down to Houston and totally dominated a Texans team that many have said are ready to have a break out season. New York's defense was as good as advertised on Sunday and the Jets walked out of Reliant Stadium with a very impressive 24-7 win.
Mark Sanchez seemed to be the real deal on Sunday. The rookie quarterback looked like a seasoned vet with all the poise he showed. On the afternoon, Sanchez was 18-31 for 272 yards with a touchdown and an interception. A very solid performance for the rookie quarterback. But the most impressive stat were his third down numbers. On third down, Sanchez was 12-18 for 191 yards. The Jets offensive line also did a great job as Sanchez was not sacked in the game. The rookie looked very comfortable in the pocket too, not letting the pressure get to him.
Thomas Jones picked up right where he left off last season, where he led the AFC in rushing. Jones racked up 107 yards on 20 carries. He also added 2 touchdowns to his stat line. And after the Texans pulled to within 17-7, Jones broke off a 38 yard touchdown run to put the game away with about 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter. The running game started off slow, but really came on in the second half. Leon Washington also added 60 yards on 15 carries. Rex Ryan has been saying since he became the head coach that he wanted to get Leon more touches per game. He did that by having him run the ball 15 times as opposed to last season where he ran the ball about 5 times per game. If the Jets want to win, they need to get Washington the ball at least 12 times per game. Sunday was a good start.
The Jets, who flirted with the idea of acquiring Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall, showed that their receivers will be just fine on their own. Jerricho Cotchery led the team with 6 receptions on Sunday for a total of 90 yards. Chansi Stuckey also added 4 receptions of his own for 64 yards and a touchdown. His touchdown was a key moment of the game as Sanchez hit Stuckey on 3rd down for a 30 yard touchdown reception. Dustin Keller, who is becoming one of the best young tight ends in the NFL, continued his growth with 4 receptions for 94 yards. His 40 yard reception in the 4th quarter set up Thomas Jones' 38 yard touchdown run. Keller will be relied upon to be a top target for Sanchez and seemed up to the task in this game.
Rex Ryan proved that his defense is not all talk after the game in Houston. The defense, led by Bart Scott and Kris Jenkins, totally shut down the Texans offense. Steve Slaton was held to just 17 yards on 9 carries. Slaton was coming off a rookie season that saw him gain almost 1300 yards, could not get it going against the Jets defensive line. Kris Jenkins was a beast on Sunday. He would not allow Slaton to get anything going and basically had his way with the Texans offensive line. Linebackers Bart Scott and David Harris had constant pressure on Houston's quarterback Matt Schaub. The Jets defense may have only had two sacks on the day, but they were constantly in Schaub's face.
New York's secondary took a big step forward compared to last years unit. They shut down pro bowl wide receiver Andre Johnson, allowing him only 35 yards on four catches. Johnson was primarily matched up with Darrelle Revis most of the day. Revis continued his pro bowl form by shutting down Johnson. Playing opposite Revis was the Jets new acquisition, Lito Sheppard. Sheppard had a solid game himself and capped off his Jets debut with an interception.
There were two key stats in this game that led to a Jets win. The first was the time of possession. The Jets had the ball for over 38 minutes while the Texans only had it for 21 minutes. The other key stat, and it was the big one, was the Jets out-gaining the Texans 462 to 183. That was one heck of a performance by a revamped Jets team. All in all it was a good game for Gang Green. They dominated the Texans on both sides of the ball. Sanchez looked very good in his first start. Hopefully a sign of good things to come. The defense was as good as advertised, totally shutting down the Texans big three of Shaub, Johnson and Slaton. It was a good win on Sunday, but now the focus switches to a familiar foe in the New England Patriots. They will be visiting New York in week 2. The Jets looked good in Houston, but now its time for a real test on how good the Jets may be this season.
Posted on: September 9, 2009 2:58 pm
Edited on: September 10, 2009 12:10 am
So here we go again. The 2009 New York Jets season is about to start and a lot has changed since the end of last season. The Jets will take the field at Reliant Stadium on Sunday to take on the Houston Texans. They will be led by new head coach Rex Ryan, who brings his defensive mind to New York from Baltimore. The Jets will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing end to the 2008 season and it all starts Sunday in Houston.
Posted on: July 31, 2009 2:04 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2009 5:24 pm
So camp is finally open for the New York Jets. "Another" new season of hope for Gang Green. The Jets enter camp like most other teams in the NFL, with question marks. A lot has happened for the Jets since the disappointing loss to the Dolphins to end the 2008 season.
The Jets did some house cleaning since January. Out is head coach Eric Mangini, QB Brett Favre, WR Laveranues Coles, TE Chris Baker and CB Ty Law. Mangini was let go right after the season ended. The Jets had to make the move. They were at one point 8-3 and leading the AFC East. Only to lose four of the final five games to finish 9-7 and miss the playoffs. When that happens, its on the coach as well as the players.
Exit Mangini, enter Rex Ryan. Ryan is a defensive minded coach from the Baltimore Ravens. For the past 9 years or so, the Ravens defense has always been one of the best in the NFL. Ryan was a big part of that. He will be looked upon to get the Jets defense to one of the tops in the league. His main focus should be on an average Jets secondary. As good as the Jets defensive line was last season; their secondary was the complete opposite. With the exception of Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis, the rest of the secondary was horrible.
Exit Ty Law, enter Jim Leonhard and Lito Sheppard. Ryan brought in Leonhard, the hard hitting safety from the Ravens, to help bolster the team up the middle. He was a solid backup for Baltimore playing behind Ed Reed. He should be able to shine for the Jets with Kerry Rhodes in the secondary. Lito Sheppard was brought in via trade with the Eagles. Sheppard only started only 3 games last season for Philadelphia with Asante Samuel and Sheldon Brown playing so well for the Eagles. Sheppard the former two-time Pro Bowler will be a nice compliment to Revis on the other side of the field.
New York's crown jewel of free agency is LB Bart Scott. Scott was signed away from the Ravens as well this off-season. He will be relied on to shore up an already strong Jets run defense. A unit, which showed signs of wear and tear over the final month of the season. Scott along with David Harris, Calvin Pace (suspended for the first 4 games) and Bryan Thomas give the Jets one of the best line-backing cores in the NFL in the 2009 season.
With Pace suspended for the first four games of the season, the Jets will be leaning on last years first round pick Vernon Gholston to pick up the slack. Gholston, who was force in the 4-3 defense that Ohio State ran, never really adapted to the Jets 3-4 defense last season. Ryan is looking forward to working with Gholston and is confident he can get him back on track and get a return on the investment for the Jets.
With Brett Favre opting for retirement form the second time in two seasons, the Jets decided to make some moves at this years NFL draft. The traded up with the Cleveland Browns to land the number five pick in the draft. They drafted USC QB Mark Sanchez. Sanchez will hopefully be the Jets long term solution for the quarterback position. Whether or not he will be ready to start the season as the Jets number one QB remains to be seen.
Rex Ryan has stated that QB Kellen Clemens will be the #1 quarterback on the depth chart heading into training camp, but there will be an "open competition", which gives Sanchez every opportunity to win the job. 2009 will be Clemens fourth season with the Jets and fourth year working with Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. Clemens definitely has a better understanding of the Jets playbook and should be listed as the number one QB for now.
Another question mark for Gang Green is their running backs. Thomas Jones, who ran for 1,300 yards and 13 TD's last season, wants a new contract. Leon Washington, who ran for 450 yards and 6 TD's last season, also wants a new contract. Jones had an excellent season in 2008 after a disappointing 2007 season. The Jets have said that they have no plans on restructuring Jones existing contract. Will that affect Jones this season? We will have to wait and see.
Washington is in a different situation. He is currently playing in the final year of his rookie contract and wants a big raise. The Jets need to get him locked up for the long term. Leon is the Jets "X" factor. He does so much for the team between rushing, receiving, punt and kickoff returns. He truly is irreplaceable for the Jets.
One of the Jets main concerns at this point is at wide receiver. Right now, their only proven WR is Jerricho Cotchery. Cotchery should not be considered a number one receiver either. He is a very solid number two or a 1-A receiver. The Jets now look at him as the number one with Chansi Stuckey, David Clowney and Brad Smith behind him.
Stuckey had a few big catches last season and will be relied upon this season to fill the spot left open by Coles opposite Cotchery. David Clowney was not activated until late in the season so he is not proven. Although he is very fast, he has not made any impact as of yet.
As you can see, the Jets head up to Cortland with quite a few question marks for this season. The way the team is constructed right now, they could be either an 5-11 team or an 10-6 team. The defense will be strong with plenty of young veterans out there. The offense will have its work cut out for them over the next six weeks. Only time will tell where the Jets will end up this season, but this is just the start.
Posted on: January 20, 2009 5:24 pm
So the New York Jets have their new head coach, Rex Ryan. The Jets were able to lure the defensive guru away from the Baltimore Ravens, where he has been for the past 10 years. New York offered Ryan a 4 year deal worth about 11 million dollars. He now takes over a Jets defense that was all over the map in 2008.
The Jets pass defense was the team's achilles heal all throughout the 2008 season. They ranked 29th in the league in passing yards against, giving up 235 yards per game in the air. A very odd stat considering you have Kerry Rhodes and Darelle Revis in the secondary. This is an area that needs to be addressed for the Jets to be successful in 2009.
The Jets defensive line was very successful for the first 11 games of the season. With Kris Jenkins leading the 3-4 defense, the Jets were ranked in the top 4 in the NFL throughout the first 11 games, surrendering about 78 yards per game on the ground. During that same time period, they did not allow a rusher to top the 100 yard mark. Over the final 5 games, the Jets allowed three 100 yard rushers and the other 2 games; they allowed over 100 total yards to multiple rushers. The defensive line just seemed to be tired and worn down at the end of the season.
We all have seen what the Ravens defense has done over the past 10 years. They always seem to be ranked near the top of the league, especially against the run. Baltimore has always seemed to have very talented players on their defense, including Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs to name a few. The question is: Is Ryan that good of a defense guru? Or is he only as talented as the players he is coaching? I personally would like to see Ryan call a lot of the defensive plays, but we shall see what the Jets do about hiring a defensive coordinator.
In January 2006, the Jets hired the Patriots defensive coordinator Eric Mangini as their head coach after seeing what he did with a beat up defense in New England. As we all saw, one year as a defensive coordinator was obviously not enough to lead a defensively challenged team such as the Jets. Ryan has been the Ravens defensive coordinator for the past four years and was a defensive assistant for the six years previous to that. He has been on a Super Bowl winning team, a team that won a division once and a team that made the playoffs 5 times during the past 10 years. Only time will tell how Ryan fits with the Jets. And from what we have seen in the past with these Jets, he will have his hands full.
Posted on: January 8, 2009 2:27 pm
What a difference six months makes. The Jets were heading into the 2008 season with a handful of offseason acquisitions that were brought here to improve on a disastrous 2007 season which say the team go 4-12. The Jets made the most noise in the off-season with the signings of Alan Faneca, Damien Woody, Calvin Pace, Bubba Franks, Tony Richardson and the trade for Kris Jenkins. Faneca and Woody were brought here to sure up the offensive line that already consisted of budding stars Nick Mangold and D'Brickashaw Ferguson, attempting to protect injury prone quarterback Chad Pennington. Jenkins was brought in to anchor a 3-4 defense that was missing a true nose tackle. Pace was brought in to establish a better pass rush. Coming into training camp in late July, things were looking better for the Jets and they were looking like a 8-8 or 9-7 team, much better than the 2007 season. Then on August 6th the whole landscape of the franchise changed.
On that day it was announced that the Jets had traded for future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre. Favre was brought in to try to revive a franchise that was only going so far on the shoulder of Pennington. Favre was coming off a solid season in Green Bay in which he threw 28 touchdowns, passed for over 4,000 yards and took the Packers to the NFC Championship game. So with Favre came bigger expectations for Gang Green. The Jets finally had a QB that could hang with Tom Brady and keep the team in the race for a division title. So Favre had about 4 weeks to learn a totally new offense and try to get the Jets into the playoffs.
Going into week 1 against the Dolphins, the Jets were looking like a possible 10-6 or 11-5 team with Favre and the new acquisitions leading the way and then Tom Brady got hurt. With Brady out for the season, everyone was saying the division was the Jets for the taking. So after the Jets win in week 1, the talk was now of the Jets possibly going 12-4 with their pretty weak schedule. The team must have believed the hype because Matt Cassell, playing in place of Brady and making his first career start in the NFL, came into the Meadowlands and beat the overconfident Jets. They then headed out west to play the 0-2 Chargers and got blown out. So with all the high expectations the Jets were at 1-2 at this point in the season.
They came home to a must win game against the Arizona Cardinals. The offense really took off in this game. Favre set a personal record high in throwing for 6 touchdowns in the game. The Jets put up 56 points, but their passing defense was really exposed in the game. They gave up over 400 yards passing to Kurt Warner with most of that coming in the second half of the game. The Jets then had their bye week early and welcomed in the Bengals in week 6. New York won the game but the offense was not on point as it was against Arizona. So the Jets were at 3-2 heading out to play the awful Oakland Raiders. The Jets struggled all day on offense and eventually lost the game in overtime to a Sebastian Janikowski 57 yard field goal.
So the 3-3 Jets came home to play one of the worst teams in the NFL, the Kansas City Chiefs. The Jets had a lead late in the 4th quarter until Favre threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown and gave the Chiefs a 24-21 lead. Favre then put together a drive, in the two minute offense, that led to a touchdown catch by Laveranues Coles and a Jets win. From this point, the team really started to take off. They followed up the game against the Chiefs with relatively easy wins over the Bills and Rams over the next two weeks. This set up a battle for first place in the AFC East against the Patriots. Both teams were sitting at 6-3 with the winner taking a one game lead in the division.
The Jets jumped out to a huge lead by the end of the first half, 24-6. The offense and defense both looked great and the team was rolling. Then came the second half. The huge lead was gone and Cassell hit Randy Moss in the end zone for a last second touchdown to tie the game. On the first drive of overtime, Favre led the Jets down the field to setup the game winning field goal by Jay Feely. The Jets took over first place and headed out to play the 10-0 Tennessee Titans in Tennessee. The Titans had a very good defense and had been getting solid play from QB Kerry Collins. Everyone figured this is where the Jets four game winning streak would end and the Titans would remain unbeaten. Well they were all wrong. The Jets went down there and totally dominated the Titans on offense and defense and came out of the game with a 34-13 win. New York found itself at 8-3, two games behind the Titans for the #1 seed in the AFC and tied with the Steelers for the #2 seed. The Jets looked like a force to be reckoned with in the NFL and the sky was the limit. Unfortunately, this was about as good as it would get for the 2008 Jets.
The Jets came home at 8-3 to face the 6-5 Denver Broncos. Again, the Jets must have really started to believe the hype that they were an elite team, because they played like the total opposite. They laid an egg against Denver and lost 34-17. No big deal right? They would get back on track in the next game against the 49ers right? Well that didn't happen either. They went out to San Francisco and could not get out of their own way. They let another team with an inexperienced quarterback get the best of them in a game that they should have won easily.
So they came home with a record of 8-5 to take on the Buffalo Bills. Buffalo ran all over the Jets and nearly pulled off the win, if not for the poor play calling by Buffalo. All they had to do was run out the clock with under two minutes remaining. Instead, J.P. Losman fumbled and Shaun Ellis returned it for a touchdown and the Jets won a must win game. With the win, the Jets controlled their own destiny at 9-5 to make the playoffs. Win their last two games and they were in. So they hit the road again to play the Seattle Seahawks who, at the time, held a record of 3-11. The snow was falling and so were the Jets. They were outplayed in snowy Seattle and lost 13-3. Not only did they lose the game, they no longer controlled their own destiny with the Dolphins and Patriots both winning that week.
Coming into the last week, the Jets would need to beat Chad Pennington and the Dolphins and hope for some help from other teams. If the Dolphins win, they win the division. You could not have written a better script for this game. A must win against a former teammate. The game was tight in the first half and the Jets were on the losing end at the time. But they took the lead in the beginning of the third quarter, 17-14. And it was all over after that. Pennington took apart the Jets with the dink and dunk passes and gave the Dolphins a lead they would keep. The Dolphins won 24-17 and won the AFC East in the process. The Jets finished the season at 9-7 and were officially eliminated from the playoffs with the loss.
Back in August, it looked like this may be a special season for the New York Jets and it turned out to be what all us Jets fans are used to, a big disappointment. The Jets loaded up in the offseason to try and right the ship from a forgettable 2007 season. When they were at 8-3 in late November, it looked as though all those moves were the right ones. But in the end it was not enough to get the Jets over the hump. For a team that was on such a roll, winning five straight games to get to 8-3, to lose four of their last five and not make the playoffs is very disappointing on so many levels. Now the Jets stand without a coach and a quarterback who will keep everyone in limbo on whether or not he will return in 2009. The team has a lot of questions to answer in the offseason, but it may only take a few key moves to get this team on the right track again next season. 2008 was filled with a lot of memorable moments and tons of hope. Unfortunately, it ended the way that it did. But we will stick by our Jets next season and beyond, and hope that one day this franchise will figure it out and get back to the Super Bowl.