- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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PHILADELPHIA -- The New York Jets imperiled their wild-card chances Sunday with a meltdown from their “Same Old Jets” past, falling to the Philadelphia Eagles, 45-19, at Lincoln Financial Field. They dropped to 0-9 against the Eagles.
What it means: The Jets (8-6) dropped into a tie with the Cincinnati Bengals for the final wild-card spot. The Jets caught a huge break with the Oakland Raiders (7-7) losing to the Detroit Lions. The question is whether the Jets’ psyche is too damaged to recover.
Late arrival: How does a playoff contender, with so much at stake, fall behind, 28-0, in the first 20 minutes? Here’s how: You commit three turnovers, leave a tight end (Brent Celek) wide open for a 26-yard touchdown, forget to block one of the league’s top pass rushers (Jason Babin) and commit a few dumb penalties. That’s how the Jets did it. Shame on Rex Ryan. His team wasn’t ready to play, and that’s on him.
Silver lining: Well, at least QB Mark Sanchez escaped without serious injury, but it was touch-and-go for a few minutes. Sanchez hurt his right shoulder/neck on a third-quarter hit by Babin and was doubled over in pain as he came off the field, his right arm dangling at his side. He was examined by the medical staff, took a few warm-up tosses and returned for the next series.
This was a rough game all around for Sanchez (15-26, 150 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs). He lost a fumble on a scramble (a busted play) and threw two interceptions, both on deflections. The first pick wasn’t his fault; the second was. He entered the game in a good place, two straight games without an interception, but this was a setback, no doubt.
His pass protection was brutal, and it was a familiar culprit. RT Wayne Hunter allowed two of the four sacks, unable to handle Babin (three sacks).
Go Holmes, Santonio: He’s known as a big-game player, but Santonio Holmes left his rep at home. He almost singlehandedly put the Jets in a 14-0 hole. There was a fumble that was returned for a touchdown by DL Juqua Parker and a dropped pass that deflected into the hands of CB Asante Samuel for an interception. That set up another touchdown.
Holmes finally did something right, scoring on a 25-yard touchdown reception to make it 28-10, but he tainted that moment with a senseless celebration. He placed the ball on the ground and flapped his arms like a bird, an idiotic move by a so-called team leader.
Same old problem: This is going to sound like a broken record, but the Jets continued to struggle against tight ends -- and you can’t blame Jim Leonhard’s injury for this debacle. Celek (five catches for 156 yards) recorded the most receiving yardage by an Eagles tight end since 1965.
The Jets won’t fix the problem until they get an athletic safety, because Eric Smith and Brodney Pool aren’t the answer. Opposing teams stay away from CBs Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, and attack the middle of the field. Nothing changes.
No Run D, Mc: The Jets were concerned about LeSean McCoy’s speed to the outside -- and with good reason. McCoy rushed for 102 yards and tied a career high with three touchdowns, setting the Eagles’ record for touchdowns in a season (20). He beat them with cutbacks, constantly gashing the backside defense (or lack thereof). They also had no answer for QB Michael Vick, who scored on an 11-yard run.
What’s Ahead: The Jets will “host” the Giants in what looms as the biggest regular-season game in the history of the rivalry. It’s rife with playoff implications for both teams. The Jets trail the series, 7-4.
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