|Although the Bills' scalding start and frigid finish would give the Jets competition, Gang Green proved to be the AFC's biggest tease. They had so much momentum. They looked so impressive in knocking off the Patriots and Titans on the road in consecutive weeks. Brett Favre and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer seemed to have melded and found their happy place. Favre was making throws. Thomas Jones was dominant on the ground. All of those big-ticket offseason acquisitions were paying off. |
Then -- poof! -- those Jets vanished, never to return. The Jets should have lost each of the last five games. Had backup quarterback J.P. Losman not fumbled away a probable Bills victory, the Jets would have finished with a .500 record. Grade: B-
Biggest surprise: The Jets' reluctance to pound the ball when Favre began to flounder defied logic. Thomas Jones had one of the greatest seasons in Jets history with 1,312 rushing yards and 15 combined touchdowns. The offensive line was built to run.
Jones had 30 attempts in the sudden-death victory over the Patriots and 27 attempts to help his team beat the Titans. Over the last five games he carried 16, 10, 20, 16 and 10 times. And if his number was called because defenses were keying on him, then Favre's season-ending slump becomes even more unforgivable.
Biggest disappointment: When the Jets needed him most, Favre was horrible over the final five games. He threw two touchdown passes and nine interceptions. He was uninspiring at best. With the season and his career possibly on the line Sunday against the Dolphins, his pregame pep talk essentially was "Meh ... Let's go see what happens."
Biggest need: Regardless of what the MRI reveals about Favre's arm or what he decides about retirement, the Jets must address football's most important position. Owner Woody Johnson and general manager Mike Tannenbaum said at Monday's news conference they want Favre back, but even if they can convince him to return, they need a backup plan because he can't be relied upon.
Kellen Clemens showed little when given the opportunity to supplant Chad Pennington in 2007 and couldn't win the job in training camp even though the Jets didn't want Pennington to be their quarterback.
Most thrilling player: Win or lose, Leon Washington sure was fun to watch. Whether he was running, catching or returning, he was electric. He rushed for 448 rushing yards, a 5.9-yard average and six touchdowns, including runs of 47, 60 and 61 yards. He had 47 catches for 355 yards and two touchdowns. He also had a 94-yard kick return for a score and was almost as sensational fielding punts.