It’s not surprising that the Jets’ 49-19 loss to the Patriots that concluded shortly after 11:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving would look pretty much the same about 11 hours later when head coach Rex Ryan spoke with reporters on a conference call late this morning.
“To have that stretch, it’s just amazing,” Ryan said of the withering second quarter of five touchdowns in an 11:46 span, the first four scoring after Jets giveaways. “I don’t know how else to put it. I think I said ‘nightmare’ last night and I’ll stick with that because it’s just hard to imagine, but that happened.”
Probably the two most nightmarish things about the loss (not about the three Patriots TDs that were scored in 52 seconds, the quickest a Jets opponent has scored three TDs since 1970) were what it signified about the rivalry and about the rest of the 2012 season.
Ryan said he won’t concede that the gap between the Jets and Pats is too great to win the AFC East in the foreseeable future.
“To say that this team is that much better than us, I don’t believe that,” he said. “They’re a good football team, there’s no question, they’re an excellent football team. But to say we’ll never catch them, that’s ridiculous. There’s no chance, absolutely no percent of a chance that I believe that in my heart, no way. I’ll never concede that.”
As for the final five games, Ryan also remained positive. What, he was asked, gives him that confidence?
“I saw us making strides up until this game,” he said. “Even in this game, I think our offense is improving, I really believe that. I think we’re running the ball more efficiently than we have. I think our protections are better. Obviously, it’s not going to look like it when we got blown out. That’s what gives me confidence. I think we’re getting better on that side of the ball. On defense, I’m confident that we’ll get back to playing much better.”
The offense did keep on swinging Thursday night. We won’t try to argue that the Jets’ second 400-yard game of offense against New England in the last five games or Mark Sanchez’s eighth 300-yard passing game of his career or 25 first downs indicates a lot other than moving the ball against a Patriots defense that isn’t known for stopping opposing offenses and was relaxed after the visitors took their 35-0 lead.
But this was a game that was set up for the offense to roll into a ball. It didn’t and kept working drive by drive to get something done. If nothing else, everyone got work that could prove beneficial as the Jets swing into December.
Yet where was the strong short-yardage/goal-line running game from earlier this year? Where was the renewed pass rush (no sacks of Brady, although Mo Wilkerson did force intentional grounding on the game’s opening offensive play)? Where was the improvement in the turnover margin, which has really only been seen against Buffalo, Indianapolis and St. Louis this season? Whatever happens from here, these issues and others need to be addressed again.
“I do see improvements in some areas of this team. It might be hard to see from the outside, but I see it here. That’s why I’m confident we’ll finish strong these last five games,” Ryan said. “I’m responsible for everything. I’m responsible for the 4-7 record. I’m responsible for how we play. I will say this: I’ll also be responsible for how we finish. I’m confident we’ll finish.
Ryan clarified the situation involving backup QB Tim Tebow’s rib injury, saying that even though the injury happened sometime Nov. 11 in the Seattle game, Ryan didn’t find out until this past Wednesday after a CAT scan showed that the injury was not a bruise but rather two rib fractures. He said the reason Tebow suited up was because he was cleared to play by the Jets medical and training team and the player wanted to be there. But Ryan repeated his reasoning about not playing Tebow but also not activating QB Greg McElroy.
“I don’t know what you want me to say,” Ryan said. “I’m not going to get into the what-ifs or all that stuff. Obviously, if he was not cleared to play or they thought he could be in serious jeopardy to himself, then he never would’ve been activated, he never would’ve been cleared to play. Tim was cleared to play, he wanted to play, and that’s just the way it is.”
The team this afternoon offered a Tebow timeline:
■ Tebow finished the Seattle game, then told trainers after the game that his ribs were hurting. X-rays at the stadium were negative.
■ He played against St. Louis, and continued to experience soreness.
■ On Tuesday morning the soreness intensified.
■ Tebow was full for Tuesday practice.
■ MRI and CAT scan Tuesday evening showed the fracture and the head coach was informed.
■ Tebow was active for the New England game after speaking with Ryan and a undergoing pregame evaluation.
■ Tebow did not want any injections for the New England game.
Ryan also said about McElroy being activated for Arizona on Dec. 2, “We’ll see how the week progresses.” … Ryan said WR Clyde Gates suffered a concussion in the game. … The coach said he spoke “briefly” with owner Woody Johnson after the game. …
Five TDs in a quarter? It’s the first time a Jets opponent has done it, and the Jets have never done it. In the NFL at large, it’s been done in the NFL a few times recently. Here are the last four occasions, dating to the 1970 AFL-NFL merger:
2009, Game 6 — New England, vs. Tennessee, 2nd quarter, 59-0
1987, Super Bowl — Washington, vs. Denver, 2nd quarter, 42-10
1983, Game 5 — Green Bay, vs. Tampa Bay, 2nd quarter, 55-14
1980, Game 3 — L.A. Rams, vs. Green Bay, 2nd quarter, 51-21
Six TDs in a quarter has happened just twice:
1950, Game 7 — L.A. Rams, vs. Detroit, 3rd quarter, 65-24
1945, Game 2 — Green Bay, vs. Detroit, 2nd quarter, 57-21
Last time an NFL team scored five TDs in a quarter happened on the road? Thursday night may have been the first time.
Tags: Greg McElroy, Mark Sanchez, MetLife Stadium, New Engalnd Patriots, Rex Ryan, Tim Tebow, Tom Brady
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