Here’s the situation: The Jets have two running backs in Shonn Greene and Joe McKnight, both of whom are better at returning kicks than running the ball, even though Shonn Greene doesn’t return kicks. Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill are injured, so the Jets are down to two wide receivers, Jeremy Kerley and Chaz Schilens, who may sound familiar, but only if you watched the Jets last week. The Jets have an offense that, according to ESPN’s Monday Night Football crew, has scored two touchdowns in its last 45 drives, a statistic that we at the Village Voice could come close to duplicating if we had a short field, four guys from the publishing side, and a half-pound of meth. The Jets have two quarterbacks, one of whom you can’t trust to throw the football, and the other whose name is Tim Tebow.
And that’s not even the bad news.
The bad news is that on Monday night, the Jets fell to 2-3 after losing to the undefeated Houston Texans, but only by six, 23-17. The bad news is that the Jets played their hearts out and were even driving with the ball at the end of the fourth quarter until Mark Sanchez threw his second interception of the day. The bad news is that for a second, it felt like the Jets almost maybe had a chance to win the thing.
This was unexpected. Monday night was supposed to be the Blowout, the Benching, and the Coronation. Monday night was supposed to be Tebow Time. ESPN’s boldest, bestest troll, Skip Bayless, published a 3,000-word love letter to Tim Tebow yesterday morning called–literally–“The year of living Tebow,” both pleading for us to see his self-proclaimed objectivity while also pleading for us to see that Tim Tebow, the guy who has completed one pass for nine yards as a Jet, is a good quarterback. ESPN’s Monday Night Football pregame show featured the tragic story of a high school player who lost his leg after a nasty hit to his knee, a story that would’ve and could’ve and should’ve stood alone, but didn’t, because at the end of it, he got to hug Tim Tebow. And sports pundits on Twitter were making predictions and taking bets on when Tim Tebow would enter the game: either the first quarter, or maybe the second, depending on how many picks Sanchez threw, and how many unanswered touchdowns Houston scored in the first half.
But something happened. After walking down the field on their first possession as if they were playing against the Village Voice, the Texans faltered a little bit. Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie intercepted a pass and held premier deep threat Andre Johnson to one catch for 15 yards (thusly allowing The Triumph of Choco, your humble writer’s fantasy football team, to overcome Hot Cheetos and Takis in a heated, seesaw battle), the Jets succeeded in the second quarter with a cheeky fake punt–Tebow converted–that delayed the Texans next scoring drive, and Joe McKnight returned a kickoff in the third quarter for a 100-yard touchdown after it became clear the Jets offense probably couldn’t score against the Village Voice, publishing guys or no.
Sanchez connected for 14 out of his 31 passing attempts for 230 yards, a touchdown, two interceptions, and a final QB rating of 54.5, perfectly meh figures which, when you think about it, are right about what you’d expect him to do. And for now, it seems, Sanchez earned himself one more week as the starter, which means one more week of the New York media and fans asking when they’re going to sit a mediocre Sanchez who can’t win games for a technically, comically, inept Tebow who might.
And that’s probably the worst news of all: that fans and experts are starting to realize it doesn’t matter who the Jets put behind center. They lost their best defensive player, Darrelle Revis, two weeks ago, and their best offensive weapon, Santonio Holmes, last week. Head Coach Rex Ryan’s greatest offseason achievement, newly svelte as he is, was convincing his organization, his fans, and maybe even himself that the Jets are a good team, or even a decent one. But for one more week, we’ll call out for Tebow, because to stop doing so would just be calling the Jets what they are: a poor team with barely any stars and even less hope.