But for a defensive score on a fumble, the Jets were held scoreless Sunday by the Seattle Seahawks. It was an ugly loss. The one silver lining is that it is now crystal clear what needs to be done to improve our offense.
A little background first. I've been one of those fans that have urged patience with Mark Sanchez. Encouraged by his successes in Years 1 and 2, I never called for his benching and always thought that, with time, he'd develop into a solid pro. Well, now Sanchez has had more than enough time to show what's he got and it's just not enough. He's clearly among the bottom five of NFL starting quarterbacks and, simply put, it's time for him to move on. The four-year veteran consistently makes bad decisions, doesn't protect the ball, throws into double coverage and has a weak arm.
On April 25, 2013, the Jets MUST get a new quarterback in the first round of the NFL draft.
Offense: Worst Performance of the Year
You would think that coming off the bye, the Jets would be healthy, prepared and ready to go. Instead, Jets fans got to watch a flat and ineffective offensive unit for most of the game. While the Seahawks have a solid defense, Gang Green had only two plays greater than 10 yards and could muster only 185 yards of total offense. Pathetic!
The best play of the day was a 43-yard catch and run by Jeremy Kerley, getting them deep into Hawks territory. Sanchez (9-for-22 124 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT) wasted this terrific scoring opportunity when he threw an ill-advised pass across the field that was picked off on the 3-yard line by cornerback Richard Sherman. This play was a whopping fourth time that Sanchez has been picked off in the red zone this season! Need I say more?
This wasn't Sanchise's only costly mistake. In the second half, he clearly saw a blitzing Sherman and attempted to throw the ball while wrapped up. His decision led to a fumble and a Seattle recovery. Sanchez's postgame mea culpas don't do it for me. I'm tired of hearing lines like "I've got to play better" and "I've got to take care of the ball better." Talk is cheap. He's shown poor judgment in way too many games over the last three seasons, and this season he's playing the worst football of his NFL career.
On the ground, Shonn Greene had little room to run. His longest run of the game was a measly 9-yarder. He lacks burst and speed and the Jets will also have to upgrade this position during the offseason. Tim Tebow participated in a season-high number of plays (three passes, four rushes) and was moderately effective.
Defense: A Tale Of Two Halves
The Jets defense was solid early. Gang Green relentlessly pressured Hawks QB Russell Wilson, sacking him three times in the first half and four in all. One sack by Mike DeVito forced the fumble that Muhammad Wilkerson recovered and ran 21 yards for the only Jets score of the game. It was the big man's first NFL touchdown. Wilkerson also forced a Marshawn Lynch fumble.
The second half, however, was a different story. The Jets missed tackles and couldn't stop Lynch (27 carries, 124 yards, 1 TD). At times, they didn't look like that wanted any part of the big back.
While Russell Wilson completed only 12 passes, most of them were for big gains. The lowlight was when Antonio Cromartie got severely burned on Golden Tate's 23-yard halfback option pass for a touchdown to Sidney Rice to ice the game. Cromartie got caught in no-man's land, leaving Rice ridiculously open on that play. Seattle must have noted how Cromartie almost got burned for a touchdown in the first half on a fleaflicker play and called a similar play to take advantage of his aggressiveness.
CBs Kyle Wilson and Ellis Lankster also struggled.
Special Teams: No Help
Other than solid punting by Robert Malone (seven punts, 45.9 gross, 40.1 net, four inside-the-20s), there is nothing positive to write about Mike Westhoff's unit. Jeremy Kerley muffed an easy punt, allowing the 'Hawks to recover it in Jets territory. This cost the Jets the field position battle that, at the time, they were winning and eventually it cost them seven points.
Head coach Rex Ryan has already professed his continued loyalty to Sanchez, stating his mantra for the season: "He puts us in the best position to win." However, how can this be true when Sanchez can't move the ball, avoid turnovers and, most important, score points? This season is pretty much done for us so why not let Tebow get a shot? Otherwise, Jets fans have no good reason to watch next week's game against the much-improved Rams.