Anybody can lose a football game, anyone can lose a football game by three points, and anyone can lose a football game by a field goal under bad conditions — even when they’re playing at home. But man, even taking all those things into consideration, the Jets’ loss to Atlanta Sunday was a real bummer.
And with games remaining with the 14-0 Colts (at Indianapolis) and the Bengals (who lead the AFC North with a 9-5 record), it looks very much like the Jets are going to finish the season at 7-9 instead of the promised 8-8 or even 9-7.
It was the way that they lost Sunday’s game that really hurts.
It wasn’t just the inability to get more than seven points — while playing on their own home field — against the a team that was ranked fifth from the bottom in the league in yards allowed. The Jets did gain 314 yards of offense, 76 more than the Falcons.
But five penalties on offense — which negated 78 yards gained — really stung.
It wasn’t just the three missed field goals, it was that the Jets’ special teams found three different ways — flubs by the holder, kicker and snapper on three different plays — that really hurts. While there’s no question Rex Ryan has turned the Jets’ defense around — after 14 games, they actually lead the NFL in fewest yards allowed — it’s amazing how soft the defense can seem at critical times.
The Jets allowed Atlanta just 238 total yards, but couldn’t register a single sack or pick off a single pass. (Mark Sanchez was sacked twice and threw three interceptions.)
And for the second time in six weeks, they played prevent defense and in the closing two minutes of the game let a team with an inconsistent offense march down the field for the winning score. Let’s face it: The Jets, after winning their first three games, are going to finish 7-9.
Is there anything at all to salvage from this season? Well, yes. First of all, Sanchez will be getting better, and he’ll be throwing to Braylon Edwards all season. Second, let’s take some consolation in the fact that the Jets lost five games by just 17 points.
And here’s the really eye-opening part: Four of those losses, by a combined total of 13 points, came at home! If the Jets find themselves with similar situations next year and can turn around just three of those close games, they’ll coast into the playoffs. Unless, that is, they can find new ways to miss field goals.