The bottom line: The Jets left their game in the locker room
MARCUS HENRY Special to the AmNews | 12/30/2011, 4:20 p.m.
The recurring theme coming from the Jets locker room following their 29-14 debacle against the Giants at MetLife Stadium on Sunday was simple and blunt: "We didn't get it done."
The Jets had everything at their fingertips; a chance to take a major step toward earning their third straight playoff appearance under Rex Ryan, a chance to maybe take over what has been a Giants town for the better part of 40 years and a chance to back up all of the talk that has come out of Florham Park. None of that came to fruition.
"I think it's tougher because these are the two teams in New York. You have Giants fans and you have Jets fans," said a humbled LaDainian Tomlinson after the game. "We were playing at home and most of our fans were here and we wanted to prove a point...we didn't show up."
Plaxico Burress, who hardly put a dent into his old team, was just as self deprecating. "You can't blame [anybody] but yourself," he said. "We let it get away from us."
Hearing respected veterans utter those words is never easy. Now, everything about the Jets comes into question. Jets supporters will point to the team's two straight AFC championship game appearances. That point is well taken, but this franchise has several issues to address: How good is Mark Sanchez? How much potential does he really have?
The Jets' downfield passing game was again nonexistent. Sanchez tossed 59 passes but only completed 30 for 258 yards. The defense gave up too many big plays. Eli Manning completed just nine passes but averaged 25 yards per completion and threw for 225 yards. Victor Cruz's 99-yard touchdown catch with 2:29 left in the second quarter was especially a killer.
Incredibly, the Jets (8-7) can still make the playoffs. A win against the Dolphins in South Florida on Sunday, combined with losses by Cincinnati, Tennessee, Oakland and or Denver could vault the Jets into the postseason. However, it's actually a little more complicated than that. If they need several teams to lose in order to reach playoff land, maybe they just don't belong.