By DARRYL BLAIN
It was a perfect summation of the entire season all rolled into one game, as the Jets lost their fifth consecutive game to the Broncos, 31-17. Every problem the Jets have had this year was painfully exhibited at one point or another today against Peyton Manning and the Broncos. It was almost like a poetic ending to a slow train wreck.
It started off with a small instance on the more subtle side, demonstrating a problem in the big picture scheme of things. Cornerback Dee Milliner went down to an achilles injury on a field goal attempt and the first thought in everyone’s mind is the lack of depth in the Jets secondary caused by a front office sitting on money in free agency despite a bevy of talent being made available to them.
It was then followed up with hope — a beautiful drive led by Geno Smith, ending with a touchdown pass on a nice fade to rookie tight end Jace Amaro.
Then the special teams’ struggles decided to grab the spotlight again when Walter Powell muffed a punt to give the Broncos great field position and take away what would have been the same for the Jets.
Manning woke up shortly after and led a touchdown drive just in time to end the half, but not before Marty Mornhinweg could call one of the most boneheaded plays of the season — a draw with only two timeouts remaining and the Jets trying to make their way into field goal range. The clock expired with the Jets headed into the locker room trailing 17-7.
The Jets would go on to have a good second half and bring it back within a touchdown, but needed one more stop from the defense. A third-and-six situation, where you know Manning is going to pass, and what does Kyle Wilson do? He backs of Wes Welker of all people and allows a free release and an easy catch to essentially end the game.
All of these little hiccups — the secondary depth, special teams, bad play calling, and blown coverage when it counts — they all serve as a microcosm for everything gone wrong in the season so far. Every single one of the Jets’ five losses this season has little examples of these problems sprinkled in among other things to produce this already hopeless and rotten result of a 1-5 start.
They show the lack of talent, the incompetence in the front office, the lack of discipline instilled by the coaching staff, the mental errors, the inexperienced QB — all of it. It’s tough to explain to the fans, it will never sell seats or get television viewers, and it is going to create on rocky road for the remainder of the season and into the offseason.
What the Jets need to do about this and what they will do I feel are sadly two different things, as they have been throughout the history of the franchise. Something needs to change obviously and it starts with upper management, and it works its way all the way down to the players.
In a season where nothing has gone right, it seems we can already write off any postseason appearance probability, and with it, the Rex Ryan era.