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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Jets throw out a clunker in loss to Packers

Greg Jennings of the Green Bay Packers makes a catch as he was defended by New York Jets player Antonio Cromartie. The Packers defeated the Jets, 9-0, at The New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Sunday October 31, 2010. (Tom Lynn/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/MCT)
Tom Lynn
Greg Jennings of the Green Bay Packers makes a catch as he was defended by New York Jets player Antonio Cromartie. The Packers defeated the Jets, 9-0, at The New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Sunday October 31, 2010. (Tom Lynn/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/MCT)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — OK, after what happened Sunday at New Meadowlands Stadium, can we please dispense with any and all talk of a Jets-Giants Super Bowl? At least until more time has passed and more proof has been presented, can’t we just table the idea until the teams actually make it to the playoffs? Or better yet, if they make the playoffs?

Thank you.

With the New York teams off to a collective 10-3 start after the Giants’ shootout win over Dallas on Monday night, dreams of a Subway Super Bowl danced in the minds of more than a few fans, and even a handful of exuberant media members.

But after the Jets were shut out at home Sunday for the first time in four years, there is no need to even mention the idea. It’s just too soon. Especially when the Jets threw out a clunker like that 9-0 loss to the Packers.

It was a head-shaker of a score, one that made you think the game might have been played in sub-zero temperatures on the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field, not in the cool, perfect-for-football weather conditions of north Jersey. The Jets had just just 15 first downs, and quarterback Mark Sanchez completed just 16 of 38 passes, had two interceptions and finished with a miserable 43.3 rating.

On a day when the Jets’ defense was exceptional against Aaron Rodgers and his high-powered passing game, the offense put forth its most ineffectual effort in the Sanchez era. Even when Sanchez was at his worst last year, even with the five-interception meltdown against the Bills, at least the Jets came away with points.

Not this time.

“”It’s tough to get an offense going when your quarterback’s not playing well,”” Sanchez said. “”I was making the right decisions with the ball, but I wasn’t putting it in the right spot. When I’m not playing well, it’s hard for (offensive coordinator Brian Schottenhei mer) to make the right calls. I left a lot of completions out there today.””

In fairness to Sanchez, his receivers did drop a number of passes. Santonio Holmes dropped a third-quarter pass on a crossing route that would likely have gone for a touchdown. Jerricho Cotchery had three critical drops in the second half. And LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene had drops on short dump-off passes.

Sanchez put it on himself, though.

“”For every dropped ball, there were twice as many poor throws on my part,”” he said.

Sanchez had no idea something like this might have happened. If anything, he felt the crisp pace of practices during the week would have hinted at an exceptional effort. I asked him if perhaps some rust from the bye week was at work Sunday, but he said the practices suggested otherwise.

“”Even on Monday when we came back,”” he said, “”we looked at the film and we were thinking, ‘Man, we’re doing really well.’ For a Monday after a bye week, guys are usually jet-lagged, tired, their legs are dead, but guys were flying around. We were fresh all week.””

It certainly didn’t show Sunday, especially on offense. Even coach Rex Ryan wasn’t on top of his game. Ryan used both of his replay challenges unsuccessfully in the first half, and was therefore out of challenges to protest a questionable fourth-quarter Charles Woodson interception, in which the cornerback ripped the ball out of Dustin Keller’s hands. A close play, but certainly one that might have changed the game had it been overturned.

And special teams guru Mike Westhoff bears responsibility for punter Steve Weatherford’s ill-fated fake on fourth-and-18 from the Jets’ 20, though Weatherford said he did it on his own. Weatherford appeared to run for the first down, but the Packers won the replay challenge. He was a yard short. Green Bay took over and drove for a field goal, its only points until the fourth quarter. The play should never have happened; there was far too much ground to make up for Weatherford to even think about a fake there.

Even with the loss, it’s no time for panic. Not at 5-2 and with four winnable games next up on the schedule. But on a day that began with the Jets in first place and ended with them looking up at the 6-1 Patriots, it was a stark reminder that there is little margin for error the rest of the way.

 

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