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The Jets dominated the first half of today's game against Buffalo but headed into halftime down, 14-9. In the second half, they were shut out, dropping their third game in a row, 28-9. In many ways it was a typical loss for the 2012 Jets.
Nevertheless, Gang Green fans have a few things for which to be happy. First, we can finally put a fork into a miserable season, one marked by turnovers, offensive impotence and lousy special teams. Second, the season was so bad that it is a virtual certainty that major changes will be made during the offseason. The first came this morning when Woody Johnson issued a statement that GM Mike Tannenbaum won't return for the 2013 season.
Finally, and most important, Sunday's loss allowed the Jets to move up in April's draft, a huge "win". The Jets moved from 12th to ninth in the draft's first round, a significant improvement.
Offense: Same Story
The Jets scored 10 or fewer points in seven games this season. Yesterday's output was therefore typical. Gang Green rushed with ease during the first half but had to settle for just three field goals.
The Jets would have had the lead at halftime but for a Mark Sanchez pick-six interception to Bryan Scott. On the play, Sanchez had plenty of time and threw it into triple coverage. Sanchez (17-for-35, 205 yards) also fumbled in the third quarter when Spencer Johnson knocked it out after beating Nick Mangold. Sanchez leads the NFL in fumbles. Things could have been worse for Sanchez but a botched handoff was recovered by Bilal Powell and a George Wilson interception was reversed after review. Sanchise's nicest play of the game was a 40-yard bomb to a streaking Jeremy Kerley.
Shonn Greene (17 carries, 79 yards) ran well in the first half, but in the second half he rushed only twice, losing 5 yards. In fact, the Jets running game was virtually shut down in the second half. Greene and Powell together gained 116 rushing yards in the first half but finished with only 130 yards.
Braylon Edwards continues to be the Jets' best wide receiver, providing the big target that the imprecise Sanchez needs. He led the Jets in receptions, including a 19-yard grab over a Buffalo defender, but was also called for a stupid unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty when he inexplicably removed his helmet after a play. Kerley also had a nice game, finishing with three receptions for 88 yards.
Defense: Unusually Weak Effort
The Jets defense did not have a great showing. It also had no sacks or interceptions. The lone turnover was a Mike DeVito-forced fumble. Like in the season opener, the Jets gave up a huge play to C.J. Spiller, a 66-yard TD reception on a short underneath pass with 3:21 left in first half. No one from the Jets secondary was able to run him down. Spiller was otherwise held in check (24 rushes, 59 yards) but Tashard Choice and Brad Smith were both allowed to run for fourth-quarter touchdowns.
Antonio Cromartie had fits with Stevie Johnson, who finished with six receptions for 111 yards. Johnson seems to always play well against the Jets (even when Darrelle Revis is matched up against him). Kyle Wilson made a terrific play in the second half. He was turned around on a long throw to speedster T.J. Graham but recovered and knocked it down.
Special Teams: Still Mistake-Prone
Nick Folk's kicked three field goals but one of them was deflected by Alex Carrington. The kick still managed to tumble through the uprights. His fourth field goal attempt was not so lucky. It was blocked by Marcell Dareus, costing the Jets three points. Joe McKnight muffed a kickoff return and then fumbled it, but Jets Lex Hilliard recovered it. Nick Bellore fumbled a pooch kick but the Jets got the ball back that time, too. Robert Malone continued his fine season with four solid punts.
With this 6-10 season over, there's nothing left for Jets fans but to await the offseason developments and April 25, 2013, the first day of the draft.