The Wild Ride Comes to an End

They weren't supposed to make the playoffs. Heck, they weren't even supposed to finish .500. But the Jets gave their fans a wild ride all the way to the Divisional playoff round, before falling to Oakland in the Black Hole.

Chad Pennington had the best quarterback rating and completion percentage in the NFL this season, but in the biggest game of his young career, looked rattled and out of rhythm throughout. He finished with a quarterback rating of 44.9, completing 21 of 47 passes for 183 yards and two interceptions. He was also credited for two fumbles.


His receivers did not help matters much by dropping balls all afternoon. Santana Moss led the Jets with four receptions for 45 yards. Curtis Martin was finally able to run the ball against the Raiders, finishing with 74 yards on 16 carries.


But credit Oakland for simply outplaying New York in this one. They won the turnover battle and kept constant pressure on Pennington. Rich Gannon finished with 283 yards passing and two touchdowns, with one interception. Future Hall of Famer's Jerry Rice and Tim Brown were held in check, but Jerry Porter killed the Jets for 123 yards receiving and one touchdown.


The special teams battle was the biggest surprise of the afternoon, as the sub par Raider special teams unit, took it to the Jets. With their low, squib kicks and punts out of bounds, they took Chad Morton and Santana Moss completely out of the game, and the Jets did not make any adjustments.


There are a lot of things to talk about with this game, but the bottom line is that young Pennington finally met his match. The 26-year-old who wowed the NFL all season long, threw high and wobbly all afternoon. He never seemed to find his comfort zone and had his worst game of the season. He didn't get much help from his receivers or offensive line, but committed critical turnovers that did the Jets in.


Alas, the ride comes to an end, but you have to look at this season objectively. The Jets won their second AFC East division crown, and became the first team in AFC history to make the playoffs after a 2-5 start. Edwards took his team into the second round of the playoffs, after taking them to the first round last year. Gang Green is young and their future is bright. You hate to see it come to an end, especially at the hands of the hated Raiders, but the Jets gave their fans something to cheer about this season, when hope was all but lost.





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