Sunday, December 30, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Bills 28, Jets 9
By Rich Cimini
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Jets' worst season since 2007 ended in appropriately humiliating fashion, with a 28-9 loss to the woeful Bills on Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Jets dropped their last three games to finish 6-10, the ultimate insult occurring early in the fourth quarter when ex-Jet Brad Smith scored on a 4-yard run out of the Wildcat. Eat your heart out, Tim Tebow.
What it means: Prepare for a shake-up. Rex Ryan (34-30 in four seasons) appears safe, but owner Woody Johnson will make changes. Johnson's conspicuous absence at the game spoke volumes; he rarely misses a game. The biggest casualty could be GM Mike Tannenbaum, who has come under fire for putting together a suspect roster. The offense was brutal; the Jets were held under 10 points for the fifth time. They finished in a last-place tie with the Bills (6-10).
Same Ol' Sanchez: Because Greg McElroy's late-week head injury, QB Mark Sanchez received an unexpected start. It went as expected -- two turnovers. What did you think, he'd have a 300-yard passing day? The Jets are incapable of that. Sanchez torched the Bills in the season opener, but that was when the Jets actually had, you know, a receiving corps. Sanchez made a couple of decent throws, but he threw a killer interception -- returned 20 yards for a TD by LB Bryan Scott. He also lost a fumble on a strip sack.
This may have been Sanchez's last game as a Jet. His contract makes his return likely ($8.25 million guaranteed in 2013), but they could have a new person in charge of the football operation, so anything is possible. Sanchez finished with 26 turnovers, including 18 interceptions, wrecking any chance of team success. His turnover total over the past two seasons: 52.
Tebow's farewell: Tebow's strange and overhyped season ended in predictable fashion -- he was a nonfactor. As usual. With McElroy inactive, Tebow was the No. 2 quarterback, but he played only one offensive snap -- a handoff to Joe McKnight out of the Wildcat. Jeremy Kerley also was used on one Wildcat play. Tebow finished the season with only 32 rushes and eight pass attempts -- an unmitigated disaster. We all knew it had the potential to blow up on the Jets, but no one could've predicted it would turn out like this.
Even the Buffalo fans were disappointed. Evidently bored by the action on the field, the fans broke into a few "Te-bow!" chants.
See ya, Tony: Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano coached his last game for the Jets; he will be fired in the coming days, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported. Like the Tebow trade, this was another bad, one-and-done decision. Sunday's season finale was a microcosm of the Sparano experience: The Jets ran the ball well against a bad rush defense -- they opened with nine straight rushes -- but failed to convert decent drives into touchdowns. The offense was so inept that a field goal was considered a victory. The Jets went 0-for-3 in the red zone, undermined by bad play calling, bad quarterback play and bad everything.
A grand for Greene: Shonn Greene reached the 1,000-yard plateau for the second straight year. It'll look good on Greene's resume -- he's a free agent -- but let's be honest: It was a quiet 1,000.
Defense shows up: Hardest job in the NFL? Playing defense for the Jets. You get no support from the offense and you have to play a perfect game for your team to win. The defense played with heart, but it made a couple of costly mistakes, including a 66-yard touchdown reception by C.J. Spiller. This was like the Jets' loss to the Titans: They lost to a bad team, but the bad team had a game-changing playmaker. For the Titans, it was Chris Johnson. The Jets need a guy like that.
What's ahead: The games are done, now comes the bloodshed.