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Sunday, November 11, 2012
Special teams not so special ... again

By John Hickey | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

SEATTLE -- There weren’t many things going the Jets’ way on a cool and wet afternoon in Seattle, but there was a stretch in the first half where New York rallied from an early 7-0 deficit to tie the game.

Along the way, New York’s defense put together a streak of five consecutive defensive stops in which the Seahawks got just one first down. On the first four of those drives, the Jets forced two turnovers and two punts.

On the fifth, Jeremy Kerley dropped a punt return. And just like that, the game changed. Seattle’s Kam Chancellor recovered the muffed ball and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson came to life, driving the team to a go-ahead touchdown with the help of Marshawn Lynch. The running back caught a 27-yard pass, setting up a one-yard touchdown run that served as the spark for a 28-7 Seattle win.

Try as they might, the Jets never recovered. The defense played well enough for three quarters, but three turnovers proved to be a mountain too high for the Jets, who are now 3-6 after three consecutive losses and probably need to win at least six of their final seven -- perhaps even all seven -- if New York’s hopes of playoff football is to be realized.

"I think we have to win those last seven games," Kerley said. "I think we can do it. We just have to get it done."

It would be helpful if the Jets would get over their recent history of terrible special teams play. Two weeks ago, New York gave up a back-breaking 104-yard kickoff return to the Patriots on the road. Last week at home, the Jets suffered a blocked punt, a blocked field goal and failed to recover an onside kick against the Dolphins.

The muffed punt return doesn’t stand alone; it’s part of a far-reaching scenario that has the Jets heading nowhere. Nowhere good, anyway.

"I just didn’t catch it," Kerley said succinctly.