Monday, January 25, 2010
The 2009 New York Jet season has finally come to a conclusion so its time to look back at the roller coaster ride that it became.
Before the season started there wasn't very large expectations on the Jets. They were coming off a collapse from 8-3 to 9-7. They brought in a rookie head coach and a rookie quarterback. Sure they had fortified the defense with Bart Scott and Jim Leonard but the offense was sure to struggle with a Sanchez in his rookie season and with really no dominant target in the receiving corps. I predicted 9-7, which I thought was optimistic, and no playoffs.
Going Up: 3 Game Win Streak to Open the Season
After the first game the Jets gave you a modicum of hope. The defense completely crushed the Texans and Mark Sanchez played great. The game was so lopsided that you had to think that either the Jets were really really good or the Texans were flat terrible.
The next week was quite obviously the high point of the early regular season. In week 2 the Jets knocked off the Patriots with Tom Brady. Sure Brady was quite obviously not fully back from his knee injury but the Jets defeated the Pats. Maybe this was the team that could finally jump the Patriots for the AL East title. Probably not. But maybe.
The following week provided more positive with Sanchez leading a come from behind victory against the failing Titans.
Going Way Down: Lose 6 of 7
The Jets went into week 4 3-0 and facing the 3-0 Saints. ESPN wrote an article saying that this could potentially be the Superbowl. While that seemed a bit far fetched at the time, I knew that this was the Jets biggest test of the early season. The Jets lost, mostly thanks to two Saints defensive touchdowns courtesy of Mark Sanchez. It was a mere one loss. Nothing to fret about. The Jets were 3-1, this was better than expected. A few days later the Jets traded for Braylon Edwards and all was well in the world. That wouldn't last very long.
The Monday Night Debacle
At this point in the season the Jets had you believing that their defense was quite possibly the best in the league and then monday night happened. The Jets defense was thoroughly abused and embarrassed by the Wildcat offense and I penned a Glass Half Empty post.
Rookies Playing Like Rookies
As bad as the monday night defeat was it could barely hold a candle to the crushing defeat to the Bills the following week. Mark Sanchez decided that it was a better idea to throw the ball to the team not wearing Green Jerseys, his 5 interceptions capped by the overtime game losing int made me pen him a letter.
The Jets bounced back in week 7 simply because JaMarcus Russell is the worst quarterback of the millennium.
Ted Ginn is a Hero
After the Raider victory the thinking was a bit more positive. The Jets could beat the Dolphins move to 5-3 and head into the bye with confidence. The Jets dominated offensively and defensively yet somehow some way found a way to let Ted Ginn become the hero. Ted Ginn runs two kickoffs back for touchdowns sinking the Jets to a 4-4 team. You would think that the Jets would be a bit humbled, but no they were still talking a big game and well, I was pretty pissed.
The Defense Fails: Take 2
With many gut wrenching losses behind the Jets, you had to figure that there wasn't much more pain to be had. Wrong. The Jaguar game was incredibly painful. The Jets defense was poor in the first half but came out in the 2nd half storming. The Jaguars were doing nothing with the ball and the Jets were clawing back eventually taking the lead with just minutes to go. The ensuing Jaguar possession was pain. The Jaguars had amassed just 20 yards in the 2nd half prior to their final drive where they went down the field with ease and kicked the game winning field goal as time expired. I proclaimed that being a Jet fan sucked while Rex Ryan went into the locker room and cried.
The Return of Brady
The Patriot game marked what I thought to be the end of it all. The Jets had 5 losses, a loss to the Pats and the season was as good as done right? Well it didn't take long for the Jets to get stomped. Mark Sanchez returned to turnover machine and Tom Brady to touchdown machine. Wes Welker caught 970 passes in one day and the Jets were again "The Same Old Jets", or so I thought.
Going Up: 3 Game Win Streak to Get Back in the Hunt
At this point in time any Jet fan had to think that in order to make the playoffs the Jets would need to win 6 straight games and with their recent play it certainly didn't seem like that was a possibility but the Jets quickly got into gear. The Jets got an enjoyable arm punt from Jake Delhomme and completely dominated for a 17-6 victory. Four days later in Toronto the Jets stayed away from the turnover bug and managed to defeat the Bills. Finally with Kellen Clemens at center the Jets defense crushed Josh Freeman and the Bucs and at 7-6 it looked like there might be a chance to make the postseason. Granted they would have to win their last three games but a long shot was better than no shot at all.
Going Way Down: The Defense Chokes, Take 3
As bad as every loss was this season the Falcons game somehow topped them all. The Jets dominated the game for essentially 57 minutes. In that time the Falcons offense barely was able to muster a single field goal. Meanwhile the Jets offense was driving the ball and coming up with... missed field goals, 3 of them to be exact. The Falcons got the ball left down four in their 2 minute end of the game offense. The Jets were surely going to stop them right? They had dominated all game long so why should that stop? Who knows why, but it did. The Falcons drove the length of the field and on 4th and goal Matt Ryan hit a wide open Tony Gonzalez and the Jets playoff hopes seemed over. I didn't take the loss well and neither did Rex Ryan who proclaimed the Jets obviously weren't going to make the playoffs. I was so annoyed with everything I even changed my Twitter account photo to Doug Brien's field goal miss against the Steelers.
Going Way Up: Santa Gives the Gift of the Jets Playoffs
After looking at what needed to happen over the final two weeks of the regular season I sent a letter to Santa requesting that all I wanted for Christmas was a Jets playoff birth. Well Santa came through and his name was Jim Caldwell. The Jets got all the losses they needed from their Wildcard rivals and the Colts decided that undefeated was overrated and that Curtis Painter needed reps. The following week the Jets simply needed to win to get in and with the Bengals not caring too much the Jets took the game with ease.
Going Way Up: The Jets Win 2 Straight Playoff Games
In my lifetime the Jets had NEVER won two playoff games in the same season and I didn't think it was going to be this year. I thought the Jets would handle the Bengals simply because the Bengals weren't really that good, and they did. I did not think the Jets were going to beat the Colts or the Chargers and after 2 quarters of the Chargers game it appeared as if the Chargers were the much better team and that the Jets were incredibly fortunate to be trailing by just 7 at the half. But then the Jets shocked the world and gave me the most enjoyable football victory of my life. The defense dominated and Shonn Greene was a beast. The Jets were onto the AFC Title game.
Going Up: Can The Jets Actually Make the Super Bowl?
The first half of yesterdays game was literally the first time since 1998 that I ever seriously thought the Jets could be in the Super Bowl. The Jets looked great. The defense was getting pressure. The offense was hitting big plays. Even with the late touchdown before the half to cut the lead to just 4 this game was going down to the wire. The Jets could actually win. What would I do if they did win? Would I be superstitious and not attend a Super Bowl party? Would I not watch the game with anyone because that's how they won the previous 3 games? One half to go and...
Going Down Fast: Too Bad They Have Peyton Manning
I should have known that the second half was going to be a completely different story. I should have known that the offenses big plays were a mirage. I should have known that Peyton wasn't going to be settling for field goals any more. I should have known that the triumvirate of Drew Coleman, Dwight Lowery and Donald Strickland had no chance of staying with Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon. But for one time I actually was a glass half full Jet fan and thought they were going to win. I was dead wrong. The Colts have Peyton Manning and that's all they needed.
The Roller Coaster Ride
All in all this season had incredible highs and incredible lows. The losses were a series of massively frustrating games and the wins brought the Jets to levels they have never been in my lifetime. The season despite the 2nd half yesterday was a great success and the future finally looks bright. Maybe it won't be so bad being a Jet fan after all.