Tuesday, January 14, 2014
10 plays that shaped the season (6 to 10)
By Rich Cimini
Of the 2,068 plays in the New York Jets' season (not including special teams), we've selected 10 that shaped 2013. Numbers six through 10:
10. The push heard 'round the world: The Jets' 30-27 overtime win against the New England Patriots in Week 7 ended with a controversy, sparking a back-and-forth between Rex Ryan and Bill Belichick. The Patriots' Chris Jones was called for an unprecedented pushing penalty while attempting to block a 56-yard field goal, setting up Nick Folk's eventual game winner from 42 yards. Jones pushed a teammate into the line of scrimmage -- a no-no. Belichick questioned the call and, after reviewing the film, accused the Jets of using the same illegal technique on an earlier field goal. Ryan fired back, insisting his team did nothing wrong. In fact, it did. The league eventually said a penalty should have been called on the Jets, but it was too late. They had their stunning upset.
9. The Behind-the-Butt Fumble: Geno Smith committed 25 turnovers, none more ... uh, creative than his embarrassing fumble at the Tennessee Titans in Week 4. With a pass-rusher crashing into his right side, Smith tried to switch the ball to his left hand, going around his back. That type of ballhandling might work on a basketball court, but not the football field. Predictably, he lost the ball and it was recovered by the Titans in the end zone for a touchdown. It was one of four turnovers by Smith in a humbling 38-13 loss. In terms of slapstick, it wasn't as extraordinary as Mark Sanchez's Butt Fumble in 2012, but it was unusual on its own merit.
8. The Wildcat strikes: One year after the Tim Tebow debacle, the Jets finally figured out how to run the Wildcat -- and throw a pass out of the formation. Bilal Powell's 30-yard completion to Jeff Cumberland was one of the key plays in the season-ending win against the Miami Dolphins. Even though it was a meaningless game for the Jets, they were loose, but confident, wrecking the Dolphins' playoff hopes with an attitude best exemplied by Powell's pass. The day was capped by the postgame announcement that Ryan would return as coach.
7. Holmes, sweet Holmes: Smith hooked up with Santonio Holmes for the longest scoring play of the season, a 69-yard touchdown that proved to be the game winner in the 27-20 win against the Buffalo Bills in Week 3. In a case of poetic symmetry, Holmes caught the ball in the same spot on the field in which he suffered his devastating foot injury one year earlier. It capped a brilliant, 154-yard game, but it was his last feel-good moment. He tore a hamstring the following week, missed five games and never scored again, finishing with only 23 catches in what probably was his final year with the Jets.
6. Geno's 19th interception and a seat on the bench: The low point of Smith's up and down season came in Week 13, when he was intercepted by Dolphins linebacker Dannell Ellerbe late in the second quarter. Ryan had seen enough of his rookie and pulled him at halftime, losing patience after five bad games in a row. The media and fans were screaming for Matt Simms, but Ryan stuck with Smith the following week and he was rewarded. Smith rallied in the final four games, providing optimism for 2014. His QBR over that stretch (78.9) was second to Peyton Manning.