I’ve been quiet about this JET season for several weeks. They came out of the gate 4-1 and it seemed like something special was about to happen with several very winnable games. Those games slipped away and before you knew it the JETS were5-4 and seemingly headed for disaster.
What were the reasons for the erosion of the great start? I believe the injury to Chris Ivory was the key factor in the decline. An impressive power running game all but disappeared with his hamstring problems. Another obvious problem was key injuries to Willie Colon and Nick Mangold seriously hampering the veteran offensive line.
After beating up the hapless Dolphins the JETS found themselves just on the fringe of the playoff chase at 6-5. The losses to Oakland, Buffalo and Houston have been particularly damaging. All of these teams are also in the hunt for a wildcard spot and the JETS handed the tie breakers to teams they are competing with.
The next stop? METLIFE STADIUM for a battle with an equally desperate and inconsistent GIANT team also struggling to get to second season. Most of the pundits made the JETS a slight 2 point favorite in the game. Surprising seeing how the game was officially a GIANT home game, and the JET’S long slow decline in the previous month. I was expecting a knock down drag out fight and that’s exactly what we got.
Was I expecting a JET win? Well when it started I thought they were the better team everywhere but at QB. I must admit in the fourth quarter I didn’t see a win looming.
My GIANT fan nephew watching the game with me remarked that the JETS had the GIANTS right where they wanted them. Up 10 in the with about 12 minutes to go. He assured me that the JETS were going to win the game based on the numerous GIANT collapses he had witnessed all season long. I wasn’t too sure of his prediction but when Coach Coughlin passed on the field goal try with about minutes to go, and Manning was intercepted, I was feeling his pain. Hmmmm. Maybe the JETS had a comeback in them after all. Decker over the middle. Decker over the middle and then Decker over the middle. The long JET drive ended in a made field goal cutting the GIANT lead to 7. My nephew shook his head knowingly. “No way the JETS lose this game” he said.
The JETS kick off and Inexplicably the GIANTS decided to try and pound their non-existent run game against the number run defense in the league. The result was predictable. They gained nada, zippo, zilch, nothing and the JETS got the ball back with a comfortable 2:43, 3 times out plus the 2 minute warning. Wow I thought to myself. The JETS are going to at least tie the game and then who knows? I was thinking about Herm’s legendary “You play to win the game” quote. Maybe.
Ryan Fitzpatrick has been sort of maligned all season. By and large I’ve been happy with his play. His decisions seem good. His arm strength is acceptable.
He has a poise and calm about him that I have not seen since Chad Pennington. He’s in control. After his amazing fourth down run that gave the JETS a first down deep in GIANT territory, even I was believing the JETS were going to win. Ah yes but with all the tricky overtime rules I figured the odds were still long what with Eli and Beckham on the case.
So the JETS marched down the field and scored a TD on a power move and catch by Brandon Marshall. Nice. On to overtime.
The Jets march down the field once again and kick the go ahead field goal. The GIANTS get the ball and start moving the ball. Unfortunately for them their chances die on an incomplete fourth down play. For the GIANTS another miserable late loss. For the JETS a stirring comeback that may yet propel them into the playoffs.
Four games to go. Tennessee…Dallas…New England…Buffalo. If they play like they did the last couple of weeks maybe the playoffs can be a reality in 2015. I’m thinking they can take care of the Titans but the remaining three games against Belicheat , Dem Boys and Wrecks Ryan’s Bulls ain’t gonna be easy. But they are in the thick of serious December football and that’s all you can ask.