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
Posted in Randy Lange | 146 Comments »
After their post-Thanksgiving mini-bye weekend, the Jets returned to work this morning and began preparations for next Monday’s “Marquee Game of the Year” against the Patriots in Foxboro. We will hit December on Wednesday and that means the playoff race is about to heat up.
While a team with championship aspirations isn’t going to celebrate just securing a spot in the postseason, the Jets look poised to punch their dance ticket soon. They’ve already equaled their win total from last year and five games remain before the regular season concludes on Jan. 2. Rex Ryan wanted the Green & White to lead the NFL in wins and he might get his wish.
There is nothing better than January football, so let’s take a quick look at the Jets, the conference standings and what remains the next five weeks.
1. JETS (9-2)
Critics aren’t impressed that the Jets own just two victories over teams that currently have winning records — New England and Miami. But the Green & White’s next four opponents are all above .500 and they’ve combined to record a 31-13 mark to date.
If the Jets can knock off the Pats, they’ll be the clear favorites to take the division by virtue of a season sweep and 4-0 mark in the AFCE. The Jets are 5-0 away from home and their toughest games, on paper, all appear to be on the road.
Schedule — @New England (Mon., Dec. 6), vs. MIAMI (Dec. 12), @Pittsburgh (Dec. 19), @Chicago (Dec. 26), vs. BUFFALO (Jan. 2).
2. BALTIMORE (8-3)
If the Ravens hold serve in their huge divisional clash Sunday night against the Steelers, they’ll grab a stranglehold over the AFC North. The Birds beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh back in October and they are up one game in the standings. Baltimore, which holds a tiebreaker edge over the Jets because of that 10-9 Week 1 win, is 5-0 at home this year and would like to stay in Maryland throughout the postseason.
The next three games will all be difficult, but the Ravens figure to have a manageable closing two weeks.
Schedule — vs. PITTSBURGH (Dec. 5), @Houston (Mon., Dec. 13), vs. NEW ORLEANS (Dec. 19), @Cleveland (Dec. 26), vs. CINCINNATI (Jan. 2).
3. KANSAS CITY (7-4)
You would never have guessed it before the season, but the Chiefs enter Week 13 as the NFL’s top rushing offense (174.3 yards per game) and the fourth-highest scoring club (25.9 ppg). The Chiefs have been quite the story thus far, but everyone is wondering if they can hold off the hard-charging Chargers.
Schedule — vs. DENVER (Dec. 5), @San Diego (Dec. 12), @St. Louis (Dec. 19), vs. TENNESSEE (Dec. 26), vs. OAKLAND (Jan. 2).
4. JACKSONVILLE (6-5)
Left for dead after back-to-back 25-point losses to the Chargers and Eagles in Weeks 2 and 3, the Jags have legitimate division title hopes. And they’ll win it or lose it on the road because they play all three of their division rivals away from home.
Schedule — @Tennessee (Dec. 5), vs. OAKLAND (Dec. 12), @Indianapolis (Dec. 19), vs. WASHINGTON (Dec. 26), @Houston (Jan. 2).
5. NEW ENGLAND (9-2)
Hard to believe that either the Pats or the Jets will be a wild-card entry, but only one team can win the division and that means one of the powers will have to make a run on the road if they have Super Bowl plans. The Jets and Patriots play the same opponents down the stretch after their meeting, except for the Jets’ visit to Pittsburgh and the Packers’ trip to New England.
Schedule — vs. JETS (Mon., Dec. 6), @Chicago (Dec. 12), vs. GREEN BAY (Dec. 19), @Buffalo (Dec. 26), vs. MIAMI (Jan. 2).
6. PITTSBURGH (8-3)
Huge game for the Steelers Sunday in Baltimore. A win creates a deadlock in the North, but a loss would all but end their division title hopes because it would create a two-game deficit and the Ravens will have swept their rivals. The Steelers’ 22nd-ranked pass defense had better get ready for No. 10’s return in Week 15 because something tells us Santonio Holmes might turn in a special outing.
Mike Tomlin’s club figures to catch a huge break late because it’ll host the Panthers on a Thursday night and then have a nice rest before visiting the Browns to wrap up the regular season.
Schedule — @Baltimore (Dec. 5), vs. CINCINNATI (Dec. 12), vs. JETS (Dec. 19), vs. CAROLINA (Thurs., Dec. 23), @Cleveland (Jan. 2).
7. SAN DIEGO (6-5)
The Chargers dismantled the Colts in Indianapolis on Sunday night and they have the looks of a real contender. San Diego ranks No. 1 overall in offense and defense and will probably be favored in all its remaining contests. Once 2-5, it’s not hard to think the Chargers will finish 11-5. Think there are any nervous folks in Kansas City right now?
Schedule — vs. OAKLAND (Dec. 5), vs. KANSAS CITY (Dec. 12), vs. SAN FRANCISCO (Thurs., Dec. 16), @Cincinnati (Dec. 26), @Denver (Jan. 2).
8. INDIANAPOLIS (6-5)
Maybe it’s the rash of injuries. Maybe the Colts have a bit of Super Bowl hangover. Maybe the offensive line struggles and lack of a rush attack have finally grounded Peyton Manning. Perhaps it’s a combination, but this team looked like anything but a contender against the ‘Bolts. Manning, who threw two pick-sixes and has back-to-back three-plus interception games for the first time since his rookie season, needs some magic just to get this team back into the postseason. But the Colts get the Jags at home and nobody in the South has been able to jump all over this opportunity as of yet.
Schedule — vs. DALLAS (Dec. 5), @Tennessee (Thurs., Dec. 9), vs. JACKSONVILLE (Dec. 19), @Oakland (Dec. 26), vs. TENNESSEE (Jan. 2).
9. MIAMI (6-5)
It’s going to be an uphill climb for the Dolphins because they faltered at home early against both the Jets and Patriots. Ten wins might not be enough this season, so Miami might need a clean sweep to get onto the postseason grid.
Schedule — vs. CLEVELAND (Dec. 5), @JETS (Dec. 12), vs. BUFFALO (Dec. 19), vs. DETROIT (Dec. 26), @New England (Jan. 2).
STILL IN THE CONVERSATION
10. HOUSTON (5-6)
11. TENNESSEE (5-6)
12. OAKLAND (5-6)
Tags: AFC, Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins, New Engalnd Patriots, New York Jets, PIttsburgh Steelers
Posted in Eric Allen | 26 Comments »