J-E-T-S, JETS JETS JETS!
Death, taxes and Norv Turner/Wade Phillips underachievement. Do not kid yourself, one of the reasons why there was a shot at one of these turkeys actually winning the big enchilada was because if they played each other, someone would have to win the game. These guys blinked at key moments.
For Wade, it was early, H1, when he had a 4th and short and kicked a ~48 yarder, which missed. You go for it. FGs do not win it on the road. That set the tone. It was surprising how the Dallas OL was so throroughly outplayed, but Wonder really nailed this game. Garrett called a poor game. With his OL having trouble, he needed to go to small ball and 3 step drops more quickly to allow his offense to get a rhythm. Every time though, we kept seeing these 5 and 7 step drops and Romo was turned into a pinball machine.
For Norv, it was the onside kick with ~2:15 left. That was a panic move. With one timeout and the 2 minute warning, you force the Jets to pass the ball, which they were unwilling to do.
There is a little over a minute left, 4th and 1 at the Charger 29 yard line. What do you do? I am on the phone with my Dad and we are both yelling before and during the timeout to GO FOR IT. Ryan did, and HE ENDED THE GAME WITHOUT ANOTHER DEFENSIVE SNAP. I would bet my left testicle that Coughlin kicks the FG before he goes for the 1st down. You play to win, not to not lose. While Rex did do one big boner earlier, namely squib kicking it with 7 minutes left to give the Chargers the ball at the 48 yard line, he made amends by sealing the deal on 4th and 1. Kudos to the Jets. Congrats to Wonder, whose Jets are now in the AFC Championship. How does the stock price of Mark Sanchez and Rex Ryan look now? Not so horrible. Ryan shook up that Jets culture with an attack mentality. Passive schemes this guy does not have. Sanchez is being told to lead a limited offensive effort that is going to wear you down. Is there any doubt left about the virtues of defense? San Diego arguably should have made ~2 of 3 FGs, so they really were entitled to ~13 points today, given the last 7 were the prevent offense/defense. We heard from Nantz all day how the Chargers never scored less than 20 all season. So today the Jets shut them down. Defense keeps you in games. Amazing that they did all of this without Kris Jenkins too. Poula and DeVito have filled in great.
If you want to take something away from the Jets, you can cite the 3 missed FGs, the plethora (5?) personal fouls vs the Chargers, the Norv Turner conservative factor... but the Jets defense kept this team in the game. Luck is the residue of design. You make your own luck. If the Giants could make luck in 2007-8, why can't the Jets?
What is it with this 'home cooking' officiating? No, I am not presenting any conspiracies. There are plenty of bad calls to go around. The Jets were on the receiving end of a phantom pass interference call. But two notable lapses this weekend were egregious.
(a) Saturday night it was the scandalous 2 seconds that were marked off the clock vs the Colts, allowing Peyton another bite of the apple to score a TD. Which they did on the next play. Francesa joked Sunday morning how the clock should have taken 7 seconds off the clock, but only took off 2. Harbaugh threw a hissy, called timeout to perhaps allow the refs upstairs to look at the play and bring more time down. It did not happen.
(b) Sunday it was a Vincent Jackson reception that was then fumbled, ruled a fumble recovery by the Jets. There were three possible scenarios: (i) an incomplete pass (ii) complete pass down by contact (iii) ruling on the field stands, fumble recovery by the Jets. If you did not see the play, the replay CLEARLY and INDISPUTABLY had the reception by San Diego and then two feet down on the field with possession clear. This eliminated the first option. The only possible option now was a determination that the player was down before the ball came loose. That did not happen either. The ref came back with the decision that (i) it was an incomplete pass. This was a 0% possibility. The only thing possible was whether he was tackled and his body (ie elbow) hit the ground before the ball came loose. IT WAS CLEARLY A FUMBLE. And to say that decision was reached with conclusive evidence to overturn is just more insanity. Phil Simms, who is the company guy toeing the line for the NFL, openly stated the decision to overrule the Jets fumble recovery was not correct. You have to be blind, incompetent or corrupt to rule that pass incomplete. Take your pick.
Given that Wonder is a Jets expert of experts, we'll have some fun here on this blog later this week with Jets vs Colts. His quick skinny is Saints vs Colts in the Super Bowl with the Saints winning.