There is very little good to say about the Jets' 49-19 blowout loss to the Patriots on Thanksgiving night. They were absolutely pitiful, including yielding three touchdowns to the Patriots in just 52 seconds, giving up 35 unanswered points in the second quarter and committing five turnovers! It was so bad that Fireman Ed left the stadium at halftime and deactivated his Twitter account in disgust.
With the score 0-0 and the Jets driving deep into Pats territory, Mark Sanchez (26-of-36, 301 yards, TD, INT) threw an ugly interception to Steve Gregory. The Patriots drove down the field and converted the turnover into a Tom Brady-to-Wes Welker 3-yard touchdown (7-0). On the next drive, Shonn Greene fumbled on a fourth-and-1. Then the 52-second nightmare began.
Offense: Lack Of Ball Protection
Sanchez's interception from the Patriots 23 was bad, especially given that he'd already made four red zone picks this season. The "Keystone Cops" broken handoff play that ended with Mark running into Brandon Moore's rear was even worse. Adding insult to injury, during the postgame press conference, Sanchise said that he was trying to slide despite the fact that he took four steps before his face struck Moore's butt. Mark also said that he's "got to take care of the ball" better but he's said that before and the proof is in the pudding.
Shonn Greene (14 carries, 71 yards) averaged 5.1 per carry but was stopped on two fourth-and-1 situations. The role of Bilal Powell (12-for-40) continues to expand and he delivered a 4-yard touchdown run. Jeremy Kerley (seven receptions, 86 yards) was the Jets' most reliable receiver with Dustin Keller (5-for-64, TD) a close second. When he wasn't turning the ball over, Sanchez got pretty good time to throw from his line, although he was sacked twice.
Defense: Can't Stop The Run
It was weird seeing the Patriots run the ball so often and so effectively. Most fans are used to seeing Brady and Bill Belichick run a pass-happy offense. This Patriots team is different. Unfortunately, the Jets didn't have much success stopping the run. RBs Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen both averaged over 4.0 yards per carry and rushed for 139 yards combined.
LaRon Landry forced a Julian Edelman fumble on a hard hit but let Welker get past him for a 56-yard TD to make it 35-0. Muhammad Wilkerson wrapped up Brady, producing an intentional grounding call. Wilkerson got hurt and left the game later, and when he returned he was pretty much a non-factor. Ellis Lankster let Wes Welker get ridiculously open for the Patriots' first score. Bart Scott failed to get outside, allowing Vereen to romp 83 yards for New England's second score. I could keep going but you get the picture.
Special Teams: Achilles Heel
Another weird thing. Despite success in the pass, the Jets' special teams unit is officially bad. They make way too many mistakes. The Joe McKnight fumble that led to the Edelman return score was horrible. He had only one hand on the ball and was cradling it away from his body, a fundamental mistake. McKnight did have a nice 37-yard kickoff return but was quiet on his six other returns.
A Ray Of Hope (Kind Of)
Despite Gang Green's woes, the Jets did one encouraging thing. For the first time this year, Tim Tebow did NOT take the field. The "Tebow Experiment" has been a failure, so at first blush it appeared that head coach Rex Ryan has finally realized that shuttling his starting quarterback in and out of the game was a bad and disruptive practice.
But after the game it came out that Tebow has two fractured ribs and had difficulty breathing. Ryan said, "I was only going to play Tim if we really needed him."
Regardless of the reason, I'm a strong proponent that your starting quarterback should not be intermittently relieved. I thus view Tebow's non-participation as a positive and hope it continues. Curiously, Greg McElroy was inactive, leading one to think: "What were the Jets going to do if Sanchez had been hurt during the game?"
With Tebow injured, Sanchez's starting job remains quizzically intact. In fact, Ryan said, "Mark will be the starting quarterback this week and then we'll go from there." The "then we'll go from there" language left the door open for a change. It was the first time I've heard Ryan even suggest a change is in the offing. We'll have to see but, it's been clear for a few weeks already that a quarterback change has to be made.
Albert Einstein defined insanity as "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." How many of the same results (losses) do Jets fans need to endure before a change at the helm is made? Isn't it time for Tebow (when healthy) or Greg McElroy to be given a chance?