It's obvious that the defensive side of the ball for the New York Jets deserved to be in the playoffs and the offense threw away the season. But, the one drive that the Jets scored on was the spotlight of the day for the dismal Jets team. Sanchez conducted a quick drive that he showed precise passing. A key first down pass to Jeremy Kerley and a long pass to Jeff Cumberland allowed the Jets to have good field position. Sanchez capped off the drive with a spot on pass to his big tight end, Jeff Cumberland, for a 17-yard score. Linebacker Tim Shaw played tight coverage until the very end when he allowed Cumberland to slip behind him and Sanchez took advantage with a well thrown ball over his head. This put the Jets in the lead and it looked like their magic would continue. Last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars the offense woke up in the second half, but they couldn't quite put in the same positive effort this week on their way to a 14-10 loss against the Tennessee Titans.
The offense had a laundry list of mistakes. The end of the game is what will leave a sour taste in the mouths of Jets' fans everywhere until next season. Rex Ryan can tell the media how much this game wasn't Sanchez's fault, but in reality his poor play at the end of the game cost the Jets their season. Sanchez surrendered to the Titans numerous blitz packages and the Jets lost after having two promising opportunities. Sanchez made two mistakes in the final two minutes. The first error was when Sanchez tried avoiding pressure by pump faking several times and made a careless pass into triple coverage. Michael Griffin picked off the ball and it seemed the Jets had lost the game. After a three-and-out followed by a dreadful 19 yard punt by Brett Kern, the Jets had the ball with good field position. Once again Gang Green did not take advantage of the Titans' blunders. Nick Mangold snapped a low ball to Sanchez and he could not hold onto the football. The Titans defense swarmed to the ball and recovered it to clinch the ballgame.
"I know this certainly wasn't a good day for sure. At times he looked fantastic when he had the pressure, he made some big throws. Other times, obviously, it was disappointing," mentioned Rex Ryan of Sanchez's performance.
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Although the Jets offense did commit five turnovers, most of their players continued to battle until the final whistle. Late in the fourth quarter the Jets succeeded on a critical third down conversion. Sanchez felt the heat from the Titans' defensive pressure the whole game, this play was no pressure. The Titans brought the house and Sanchez was able to dump the third down pass off to Bilal Powell while absorbing a bone-jarringl hit. Powell broke several tackles and dove forward for nine yards and a first down. That kind of effort goes unseen in a loss, but at the time it was critical because that play kept the drive going. Sanchez got up limping, but was able to tough out the injury and continued to play. Powell played smart football the whole game while blocking the different blitzes the Titans used and fighting for extra yards.
Its simple math, when a football team has five more turnovers than the opposing team they will in all likelihood lose the game. Sanchez was involved in all five of the turnovers. Most of them were a result of bad decisions. Now that the Jets are out of playoff contention they should start looking towards next season. They have to answer the quarterback questions now. Do they want to keep taking chances with Mark Sanchez? If not, than they should suit up Greg McElroy. He made a statement in his comeback victory against the Arizona Cardinals. He may not be the long-term answer, but it's worth a shot. Next week the Jets play a meaningless game against the San Diego Chargers at MetLife stadium. Expect the Jets fans to be displeased if they see Sanchez under center. The Chargers are coming off of an embarrassing 31-7 loss to the Carolina Panthers. The Chargers do not have a running game now that Ryan Mathews is out for the season with a broken left clavicle. Cam Newton and DeAngelo Williams looked like their old selves in the victory for the Panthers. Phillip Rivers on the other hand did not. He lost two fumbles and only threw for 121 yards. If the Jets defense can stop Rivers, then they should be able to limit the Chargers scoring and have a chance to win the game.