“Jets make easy work of Redskins” read the banner on the home page of NFL.com. Were they serious? Did anyone actually watch that game?
Once again — stop me if you’ve heard this already — the Jets were trailing an inferior team in the fourth quarter — in this instance, down 16-13 to Washington with 4:49 on the clock — when suddenly they seemed to remember that they are the Jets and they were playing the Redskins. Sanchez threw a perfect 30-yard TD strike to Santonio Holmes, who ran a perfect pattern.
Not only was it the longest Jets play of the game, it was practically their only really effective pass. And the reason it worked was because Sanchez used his Johnny Unitas-style pump-fake, which froze the Redskins defensive backs. You have to ask: Why hasn’t he been using that deadly pump-fake in tight spots all season long?
The reason it looked like something of a blowout was because of two late runs by Shonn Greene. Linebacker Aaron Maybin (maybe the best young lineman on the team) hit Washington quarterback Rex Grossman on the Redskins’ next possession, Calvin Pace recovered, and Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer made his best call of the day: a “wildcat” with the ball snapped directly to Greene, who ran it in nine yards untouched.
Question: The few times the Jets have used that play in tight situations, the results have been sensational. For some reason, opposing defenses don’t seem to notice that it’s Mark Sanchez flanked out wide and that he’s about as much threat to receive as Greene is to throw the ball. (Hey, now, there’s a thought when you really need a late miracle: if Sanchez goes in motion and nobody covers him, what the hell? Why not lob him one?)
Anyway, a minute or so after the Redskins made a bad attempt at an onside kick, the Jets recovered, and Greene ran, again untouched, through a demoralized Redskins defense for a 25-yard TD that made the whole game look better for the Jets than it did if you sat through it.
Okay, we’ll take the win, and with Kansas City coming to New Jersey next week, there’s a real good chance the Jets will be 8-5 with three games left to play. But we’re left wondering why the Jets were outgained 62 yards by one of the worst offenses in the league, why their special teams are so horrendous (one kickoff was returned just to the 8-yard line, which has to be one of the worst returns in the NFL this year, and a fumbled punt gave Washington a free field goal and a 16-13 lead before the half). And, finally, why do the Jets have to keep coming up with thrilling victories in the fourth quarter when they should be winning in the second quarter?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 4, 2011