For the fourth time this season, the New York Jets fell victim to a West Coast team. But this time around, the loss came in the most season-crushing fashion as the struggling Seahawks dominated a team with playoff aspirations for all four quarters.
The New York Jets have been in must-win situations for the second-half of the season to stay on pace in a surprisingly competitive AFC East. But when the game was on the line and needed to be won, they ended up looking like a team that had no business competing for a division.
Sloppy play on the field and inept coaching combined to send the Jets back east with their heads low and a nation of fans battling depression.
Are the Seahawks the Better Team, or the Better Coached Team?
New York failed. No, there’s no poetic way to say where they failed or how they failed. They just failed. They outright failed. Everywhere.
Another team having a dismal season, another quarterback who began the year as a backup, and another embarrassing loss for the New York Jets.
There isn’t enough that could be said about the Jets’ struggles, but there is a way to tell where it all begins.
The tone was set on the first drive. The Jets were driving up the field and converting for first downs at will. Fullback Tony Richardson was abusing the defense right up the middle, moving the chains. It looked like the Seahawks’ defense would have their hands full.
Then on a fourth down from Seattle’s two-yard line, Eric Mangini sent the field goal unit instead of trying to go for the touchdown. It was a conservative move in a scenario that required ruthless aggression.
One of two things would’ve happened if New York went for it:
- The Jets would have scored and made it clear that they were in Seattle to win—to keep playing in January.
- Or, New York would’ve been stuffed at the goal-line early in the game, and the defense would’ve taken the field against an inexperienced offensive line with Seneca Wallace’s happy feet trapped deep in his own territory.
Instead, Mangini played it safe—as if he was afraid of a 3-11 football team—and the Seahawks swarmed like vultures.
Seattle took the field with a makeshift offensive line and pushed the Jets’ once-dominant defensive line around. With all of the starters riding the bench, Seattle’s offensive line looked like they had been playing together for years.
Seneca Wallace had enough time to check his receivers multiple times with no pressure. And the run defense that was once one of the NFL’s most efficient was rolled over by Maurice Morris.
This can be explained in only two ways: Seattle played with more passion, and they were coached with more intelligence.
Can the CBS’ Commentators Call the Jets’ Plays Next Week?
Apparently, the crew calling the game on CBS might have done a better job calling the offensive plays for the New York Jets on Sunday afternoon in Seattle. New York’s loss was defined by missed opportunities, and questionable planning.
Brett Favre tossed two interceptions days after being selected to his much-disputed tenth Pro Bowl. A terrible throw across the field off his back-foot was one play in an afternoon defined by poor-decisions.
Could the weather be to blame? Definitely not—especially not on a day where Matt Cassel threw for nearly 350 yards in similar conditions on the other side of the country.
For weeks, Jets’ receivers have failed to gain adequate separation on deep routes. Strangely, Favre’s ability to stretch the field fell short on numerous plays where his targets actually had a step on their defenders.
But the true problems revolved around the third-down blunders. In situations where New York needed seven—or less—to convert a first-down, the offense would sell out to run an ineffective, well-covered deep route.
Instead of looking for enough yards to secure the first-down, New York went for broke and only ended up broken.
Two of the game’s most terrible decisions involved taking Jay Feely off the field for what would’ve been a 50-yard kick after drilling a 45-yarder taken away because of a delay of game penalty.
Feely fumed on the sidelines after Mangini sent the punt team out and abandoned an opportunity for points.
Then in the final four minutes, Mangini’s decision to go for it on fourth-down deep in Seahawks’ territory gave Seattle the ball in excellent position to run the clock and place the game completely out of reach.
Seattle added three points to their total, and put the nail in the Jets’ coffin.
The Things Jets’ Fans Refuse to Admit
The 2008 season is an undisputed embarrassment.
Even if the chips fall favorably during Week 17 for the Jets to make the playoffs, squeaking into the postseason would still be a disappointment. So here is an opportunity to be absolutely honest.
- Brett Favre was brought to New York in an effort to sell tickets and increase excitement on the eve of personal seat licenses.
- Chad Pennington has made the New York Jets look extremely stupid.
- Brian Schottenheimer does not know how to utilize Thomas Jones or Leon Washington.
- Bob Sutton and Eric Mangini have no creativity on defense.
- Despite what Mike Tannenbaum said in the offseason, Eric Mangini’s job has to be in question after humiliating losses.
There is no doubting the talent on the Jets’ roster.
The fact that the team sending the most players to the Pro Bowl is regularly unprepared is downright humiliating. Being over .500 this season isn’t a success.
There are legitimate doubts about Eric Mangini and his coaching staff. His inability to get a team with so much raw talent to play like they’re supposed to should spark serious questions about how far he fell from the Belichick tree.
With no significant injuries on the Jets’ roster and the playoffs looking immensely unlikely, it’s a testament to the team’s need for a coach that can get the most out of the talent at his disposal.
Defeating the Tennessee Titans and the New England Patriots are merely footnotes in a season defined by defeated expectations.