Our quarterback had just finished a tough stretch where we clearly held our own against two of the premier teams in the league. The defense really looked like it was learning to play Cover 2. There was a semblance of a pass rush other than John Abraham. After trying to watch the Bears on Monday night, anyone had to be extremely confident that it was only a matter of time before it would be called a blowout. I even thought that I could leave early and do some final Christmas shopping. Despite being a Jet fan for so many years, I forgot about the same ol' Jets. Unexpectedly, the ghosts of December past did not forget us.
We should have played on Thursday when, in practice, Kevin Mawae could not resist teaching our first-round defensive end bust a lesson on being a professional. Then everyone beat-up everyone else. You know, "boys will be boys". Our by now highly regarded head coach, as always, took it all in with a smile, even though he always maintained that his team will not fight amongst themselves because he hates it and will stop it. This happened after the dean of our offensive line, who loves to urinate in ladies rooms, apparently beat-up a limo driver. Everyone poo-pooed the incidents, but in retrospect, Chad Pennington was the only one who properly observed the problems that these matters created. This team, obviously, irrevocably broke down under the pressure from the media exposure and the need to win each and every week. How unfortunate!
The easy answer, as always, is that the players have to play. But it is the coaches' job to get them ready. We saw "Jets 24/7", that "Laugh-In" clone of a TV show on Sunday morning where everyone works hard and lives a Nancy Drew-like existence to make Herm Edwards look and act smart. Nothing about the two incidents was mentioned; it was just more of the same "3 weeks to go" rah-rah stuff. We are sure that over-confidence was discussed, but where was the EMOTION on Sunday? It is his job to get them prepared. Then, during the game, it is his job to keep them going. This guy is just like me (except he has a better view of the game and makes more money). Never does he get in someone's face, he always looks like he is the equipment manager with a headset. Sunday proved that the same ol' Jets will never really be successful with him as Head Coach.
The first half was my sleepwalk. The Jets must have seen the Miami game. They looked like they only wanted to play one half, because it would be easy as soon as they turned it on. But no one got started. My screaming at the TV did not help. Herm looked distracted. After all, we were playing in some college stadium in the middle of nowhere. (Last week we brought up the horrors of Clemson, SC and the Panthers-Jets first meeting.) We only had the ball for 9 minutes and four series. It was nothing but 3 and outs, except the one drive that ended on the botched 4th down snap. Again, Kevin Mawae!!!
I always say that to win in the NFL, you must score 24 points. To get nothing in the first half puts too much pressure on a team and represents too much of an obstacle to make up for in the second half. They did wake up at halftime, but it was too late. There was no margin for error and did they ever make mistakes at crucial times!! Good teams do not make 7 penalties, especially on runbacks for a touchdown. And what was Jason Ferguson thinking? That was the worst of all of the mistakes, because the defense that only stopped them on 6 of 12 third-downs finally held. All year, the conversion on third-down killed the Jets. The Cover 2 defense just allows the opponent too much time of possession. Look at Chandler's stats yesterday (23-28). Unacceptable. To play that defense you need a decent pass rush and we do not have one. Also, the defense still cannot count. We lost the Cleveland game because we often played with the wrong package and only 10 men on the field. This week, we thought that we could get away with 12!!