It's been a season of discontent for the New York Jets as they lost their shutdown cornerback Darrelle Revis in Week Four and their most potent offensive playmaker in Santonio Holmes this past Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers.
Holmes suffered a season-ending LisFranc injury on the first play of the fourth-quarter as he hauled in a four-yard reception, but fell on his left foot immediately flinging the football into the air as he lay on the field writhing in pain. Niners cornerback Carlos Rogers scooped up the loose ball and returned it 51 yards for a score to give the Niners a commanding 24-0 lead. According to Rogers, from that point on it seemed as though Ryan's Jets threw in the towel.
"You could see it happening," reflected Rogers. "It kinda shocked me just because, you know, a lot of guys were saying on the sideline, ‘Oh, they don't want to tackle, they don't want to do this, they don't want to do that.' That's a Rex Ryan defense. That's a Rex Ryan team."
Stingy run defense has been a staple of Ryan's tenure in New York, but in Week Four the Jets surrendered a season-high 245 rushing yards, while allowing six different San Francisco ball-carriers to tally at least 12 yards on the ground. Gang Green ranks 31st in the NFL in run defense with opponents averaging 172.8 rushing yards per contest.
In Roger's mind, Ryan's defensive unit had their spirit broken and packed it in late in the second half.
Rogers fumble return broke up the game last Sunday
"It kinda seemed like, after a while they just, I know, looking at their defense, they didn't want to be out there," Rogers said. "And after that it's like, man, these guys don't really want to play the game. You know, it's pretty much over.
With Ryan taking umbrage to the media's "circus" label the past few months, Roger's comments didn't sit well with New York's head man. While he readily admitted his defensive front was exhausted from the Niners bruising style of play, Ryan vehemently disputed the claim that his team gave up.
"Late in the game, did we get fatigued? I think we did," Ryan said. "I think we wore down a little bit at the end of the game. But there's no quit. You can look at that tape. There's no quit."