Monday, December 8, 2008

Jets Lose Again: 24-14 to 49ers

Two weeks ago, the Jets sat at 8-3, off back to back wins against New England and Tennessee, both on the road. The Jets looked to be a force in not just the AFC but in the entire NFL. The last five games looked prime for a 4-1 finish.

Denver
at San Francisco
Buffalo
at Seattle
Miami

The Jets are favorites in each of the last five games, including spreads of 8.5 and 4 in their last two games. But sadly the Jets did not show up either week, and any cushion the Jets once had is gone.

It is not time to panic. Denver is a playoff team, and San Francisco is improving and all the way across the country. But to lose the way they did in each game is worrisome.

The defense has completely turned 180 degrees. The pass defense, never a strength for this team this year, has completely collapsed. They were able to cover up their secondary problems with a good pass rush early, but that, too, has evaporated.

That lack of a pass rush killed any hope of salvaging a pass defense that looked confused all game. Hill is a pretty good QB, but the Jets made him look better than he should be and he hit his receivers all game when he needed to.

However, the ineptitude of the offense was just as much the story of the game. Whatever happened to Brett Favre? I'm not putting all the blame on him as the receivers get no separation, and the playcalling doesn't help, but how does the most prolific quarterback of all time only get 137 yards on 20 completions? The last time Favre threw for as few yards in a game that he fully participated in? September 14, 2002 against Detroit.

This team is quite simply an enigma. When they run the ball well to set up the passing game, stop the other team's run, and get some pressure on the quarterback, like they've done in several games this year, they look great. Other times, like in the last two games, teams can throw the ball all over the field, opening up the running game against them, and the Jets offensively struggle to get 10 yards.

I'm still confident this team can win three games and win the division. But they've lost their cushion, and they aren't the only AFC East team to control its own destiny anymore. Chad Pennington and the Dolphins will come to town in week 17 for what shapes up to be one of the biggest regular season games in recent memory.

That is, unless they let the free fall continue.

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