Let's face it, Mark Sanchez deserved to lose his starting job last week and if it wasn't for a Greg McElroy concussion he would have been sidelined again this week. But, one would assume with his future as a National Football League quarterback on the line he would of had a respectable game that would create controversy for the organization in the offseason. That would have been too good of an ending to this disappointing season. The Jets continued to struggle on offense against the Bills subpar defense and only put three field goals on the score board. To be truthful, there wasn't much to cheer for during the 28-9 loss to the Bills.
The lone bright spot during this defeat was a quick screen to slot receiver Jeremy Kerley. Sanchez quickly threw the ball to Kerley and he did the rest. He broke a couple of tackles and followed some key blocks on his way to a 40 yard gain. The speedy Kerley was tracked down by Bills' cornerback Ron Brooks, but the execution during that 40 yard dash was near perfect. The Jets could not take advantage of Kerley's huge play and had to settle for a field goal that gave them an early 9-7 lead.
The Bills beat the Jets on both sides of the ball, which was not a typical Jets performance. Usually the Jets defense comes to play on Sundays, but they gave up some big yardage plays. The play that hurt the Jets the most was C.J. Spiller's 66 yard score on a screen pass. The Jets waved their white flag for the season after Spiller scored to give the Bills the lead for good. The one thing the Jets offense has been missing all season was a big play maker, someone like Spiller.
The lack of weapons on offense really hurt the team because they mostly settled for field goals, if they scored at all, and the defense was on the field for a big chunk of the game. The Bills have Spiller and Stevie Johnson as impact players; both of these offensive weapons have the athletic ability to put on a show against any team in the league. The Jets will need to find a playmaker during the offseason if they want to compete next season.
"Six wins obviously isn't up to anyone's expectations for this team and certainly not mine." Ryan mentioned. "This is the team I want to coach and nobody else's. Obviously, with six wins and all that stuff, I'm sure there will be some Jets fans that wish I wasn't coaching Jets, but I know I'm the right guy for the job. I just want to be here. Obviously, Mr. Johnson has the right to do whatever he chooses because he's the owner, there's no question. I appreciate the fact that he gave me this opportunity."
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It's usually difficult to find an unsung hero on a last place team, but fullback Lex Hilliard is definitely worthy of that title. He was drafted in the sixth round of the 2008 draft by the Miami Dolphins, but Hilliard has been unable to find a permanent home. This season the Jets picked up Hilliard's contract after he was released by the New England Patriots and they started him at fullback right away. Hilliard has been a silent contributor for the Jets offense and special teams since he was signed by the franchise on October 2. Hilliard has done the little things right and made key plays that don't show up in the box score.
In the regular season finale, Hilliard recovered a Joe McKnight fumble during a kickoff that kept the Jets in the game at the time. It happened in the second quarter right after Spiller scored his long touchdown. McKnight was unable to hold on to the ball and Hilliard pounced into the pile to give the Jets possession. At the time this was a big play because the Jets went into halftime only down 14-9. Hilliard is one of the players that the Jets organization should keep for the 2013 season. He deserves a chance to start at fullback every Sunday because he is a team player and executes the plays well.
Gang Green has a long offseason ahead of them. A 6-10 record is not acceptable in New York. Once again, Sanchez did not perform for the offense and threw another interception, bringing his season total to 18. Tim Tebow's three yard handoff to McKnight may have been his last snap under center in a Jets uniform. The Jets will have to answer their quarterback questions first, because another season with Sanchez as the starter could spell trouble. There are a few valuable candidates that may be available for the Jets: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith, who helped lead the 49ers to a 34-0 victory over the Jets during week four of the regular season.
This off season will be interesting because the Jets can go in two directions, a rebuilding stage, or go after playmakers and compete. Whatever they do, it better have a positive outcome because Jets fans are beginning to get fed up with no shows on Sundays.