New York Jets: 2012 Week 15 coverage
December, 17, 2012
By Rich Cimini | ESPNNewYork.com
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Jets committed five turnovers Monday night against the Tennessee Titans, including three in the fourth quarter, to effectively end their season. They were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention with a 14-10 loss to the Titans at LP Field.
What it means: The past two games are garbage time. The Jets (6-8) showed their true colors by committing two turnovers inside the Titans' 26-yard line in the final two minutes. Now we start to wonder about who gets fired and who stays.
Off the Mark: Quarterback Mark Sanchez played one of the worst games of his career, increasing his interception total to 17. He leads the league with 23 turnovers. All four interceptions were his fault, one worse than the next. Sanchez (13-for-28, 131 yards, 1 TD, 4 INTs) threw two in the fourth quarter, the latter with 1:51 on the clock -- a careless throw into triple coverage. The Jets drove from their 8 to the Titans' 23 with a chance to pull out a miracle win, but they were undermined again by Sanchez's reckless play.
Fittingly, the Jets' season ended with a turnover -- a low shotgun snap by Nick Mangold. Sanchez failed to pick it up and RB Bilal Powell kicked it, allowing the Titans to recover with 41 seconds left.
Sanchez was outplayed by quarterback Jake Locker (13-for-22, 149 yards), who made plays outside the pocket. He made several bootleg throws, a clever wrinkle by the Tennessee coaches. The Jets should've done that more often with Sanchez.
A lot of Tebow time: Four days ago, Rex Ryan seemed unsure of whether he'd play backup quarterback Tim Tebow. Not only did he use Tebow, but he let him play an entire series -- a season first. It was a bad decision on several levels.
It was surprising in two respects: First, Sanchez actually moved the offense in his first two series, developing a little rhythm. Second, Ryan let Tebow handle two obvious passing situations. It was a weird time to let Tebow, who hadn't played in three weeks, cut loose and throw. The plays ended with a sack and a throwaway. It destroyed whatever momentum they had. On Sanchez's next pass, he threw an interception.
Where was G-Mac? Once again, Ryan opted to dress only two quarterbacks, making Greg McElroy inactive. Why not dress all three? A week ago, Ryan wanted to dress all three, but he decided against it at the last hour. This time, he opted to have six wide receivers. Curious, indeed.
Not-so-elite defense: The Jets climbed to No. 8 in the defensive rankings after beating up two tomato cans, the Cards and Jaguars. Against another mediocre offense, the once-vaunted defense disappeared at critical junctures.
With a chance to create great field position for the offense, the Jets let Chris Johnson run 94 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter -- the longest run they've allowed since the 49ers' Garrison Hearst ran 96 yards in overtime in the 1998 opener. Nose tackle Sione Po'uha couldn't disengage from backup center Kyle DeVan, creating a crease.
The defense came up ridiculously small in the third quarter, blowing a four-point lead by allowing a seven-play, 64-yard touchdown drive -- right after a Jets touchdown. Good defenses don't do that. The scoring play was a 13-yard run by Locker, a read option around left end. Look familiar? The 49ers' Colin Kaepernick ran the exact same play against the Jets for a touchdown in Week 4. That's called going to school on your opponent.
Busy debut: Wide receiver Braylon Edwards, claimed on waivers only six days ago, started and played most of the game despite having practiced only three days with the team. He finished with three catches for 47 yards. If a player can come off the street and see significant time, well, it's a sad commentary on the receiving corps.
The McCourty curse: The McCourty family owns the Jets. Cornerback Jason McCourty made two interceptions, keeping the family tradition alive. His twin brother, Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty, also destroyed the Jets in two previous games. Devin scored on a 104-yard kickoff return and a forced a fumble on a kickoff. The Jets are lucky there are no other McCourty brothers on the schedule.
What's ahead: The Jets have a quick turnaround, but at least they get to stay a home -- a 1 p.m. kickoff against the woeful Chargers (5-9) on Sunday.