Monday, November 1, 2010
Reviewing the Halloween horror
By Rich Cimini
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Before we get to the tape breakdown of the New York Jets' 9-0 loss to the Green Bay Packers, let's play a little "Jeopardy." I'll give the answer, you guess the question.
Answer: Rich Kotite, Eric Mangini and Rex Ryan.
Question: Can you name the last three Jets head coaches to suffer a shutout loss at home?
It happened to Kotite in the final game of the 1995 season (12-0 to the New Orleans Saints) and it happened to Mangini in 2006 (10-0, Chicago Bears). As far as Ryan is concerned, it's never a good thing to be mentioned in the same paragraph as Kotite.
Let's review. There was a lot of blame to go around:
GAME MISMANAGEMENT: Not only did Ryan leave himself with no replay challenges in the second half, after going 0-for-2 in the second quarter, but he hurt his team's chances for a comeback by burning all three timeouts in a nine-second span in the fourth quarter. They came with 4:08, 4:03 and 3:59 remaining in the game.
He should've saved the third timeout. Instead of getting the ball back with 3:50 to play, the Jets would've had it back with about 3:17 on the clock -- with a timeout, plus the two-minute warning. In that situation, they wouldn't have had to go for it on fourth-and-11 from their 22 with 2:40 left. They did, failed, and that was all she wrote.
SAME PLAY, DIFFERENT RESULT: One of the killer plays was Santonio Holmes' drop on a 5-yard pass early in the third quarter. With his speed and the amount of green ahead of him, it probably would've gone for a 45-yard touchdown. Funny thing is, they ran the same exact play late in the first quarter, and it resulted in a 10-yard gain. Holmes was split left, motioned into the slot and ran a drag route. WR Braylon Edwards ran a clear-out, leaving Holmes wide open. Everything was the same on both plays ... except Holmes dropped the ball.
THE WEATHERFORD DEBACLE: Well, he was right, the left side of the Packers' punt team caved in hard, leaving a lot of room around right end. So, yes, it's easy to see why P Steve Weatherford, who said he scouted that play on tape, decided to make a run for it. But it was fourth-and-18 from his 20, and he absolutely had to be aware of the situation before making that kind of gamble. But, as he admitted afterward, he wasn't totally sure of the distance. It's the coaches' jobs to make him aware of the situation. They didn't.
QB ISSUES: Mark Sanchez took a lot of criticism for his performance, and he took a lot of the blame afterward, but his game wasn't as bad after seeing it again. Think about: He was victimized by five drops and his two interceptions came on plays in which Dustin Keller and Jerricho Cotchery let defenders rip the ball out of their hands. If those seven passes go the other way, you're looking at a 23-for-38 performance. His receivers let him down. Afterward, Holmes and Edwards didn't speak to reporters, leaving Cotchery to explain for everyone.
QUESTIONABLE DECISIONS: We're not going to let Sanchez off the hook that easily. On the Jets' next-to-last possession, he made some bad decisions. After his 40-yard completion to Keller, his best play of the day, Sanchez rushed to the line, took a quick snap and dived for a short gain. Thinking he had crossed the line of scrimmage on the Keller pass, he wanted to run a play before Green Bay had time to challenge. But he was two yards shy of the line; the coaches' should've let him known that via the helmet speaker. It was a wasted play.
Then, on third and fourth down on that drive, Sanchez threw long both times for incompletions. He needed only eight yards; there was no need to throw to the end zone. On third down, O.C. Brian Schottenheimer did him no favors with the play call. He sent four receivers on vertical routes, leaving one RB in to block. There was no check-down option. This was similar to the Renaldo Hill play in Denver, resulting in the long pass-interference penalty. It was all-or-nothing when it didn't have to be. This time, Hill wasn't around to save them with a penalty.
BIG HOWARD: Former Jets DT Howard Green, who was released last week because he was overweight, didn't look fat when he blew up a reverse to Cotchery that resulted in an 8-yard loss. Green was unblocked on the play, which is rather amazing. The Jets overloaded the line to the right, switching LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson. Yet, with all that beef to the right side, they let the beefiest of them all, the 375-pound Green, slip through, unblocked.
BLOWN COVERAGE: The Jets played great defense, but they had a miscommunication on the play after Weatherford's botched fake punt. Nickel back Drew Coleman played zone, and everybody else was in man-to-man coverage. He left Greg Jennings wide open for a 30-yard gain that set up the Packers' first field goal.