Sunday, November 30, 2014

Tom Coughlin Giants' Era May Have Ended in Jacksonville

JAGUARS 25
GIANTS 24

In 1995 Tom Coughlin left his position as head coach at Boston College to take over the NFL expansion Jacksonville Jaguars as its head coach. Coughlin put Jacksonville on the NFL map, turning the Jags into a perennial playoff contender in the late 90s with a pair of AFC Championship Game appearances, and it's fair to say that ever since he left the Jaguars in 2004 that franchise has never been the same.

It's ironic in lot of ways that Coughlin's storied coaching career with the Giants might have officially come to a close in the same city in which his NFL journey began, Jacksonville.

Sure the Giants came into their game at 3-8, riding a six game losing streak. It has been a bad season, but to lose a game to the once 1-10 Jaguars is excusable. There is no way to justify a loss of this magnitude to this kind of team. The Jaguars are one of the league's worst teams, so much so their head coach Gus Bradley isn't even on the hot seat because this franchise has been the definition of stink for years.

Yet the Giants found a way to give them a rare moment of joy.

Big Blue built a 21-0 lead with three touchdown drives on their first four possessions. After that the offense was putrid. Of their next nine possessions that Giants had four punts, three fumbles and two field goal attempts, one of which was missed.  In short, the Giants made the Jaguars defense look like the Seahawks as the second half wore on.

The momentum started to turn when Eli Manning got drilled so hard by Roy Miller III that he lost the football. The ball squirted into the endzone and it was J.T. Thomas who fell on it in the end zone for the score to cut the Giants lead to 21-10.

That was bad. Then it got worse.

A missed 43-yard field goal by Giants kicker Josh Brown gave the Jaguars renewed life and they took full advantage. The Jaguars tore up the Giants defense on a six play 67-yard drive, culminating in a 30-yard touchdown pass by Blake Bortles to Marqies Lee to cut the Giants lead to 21-16.

At this point this eery feeling that the game was starting to slip away from the Giants become more and more prominent. The Giants had no answer for the Jacksonville charge. 

After Manning was sacked on second and long, the Giants decided to with a short screen pass to Larry Donnell on third and 15. However Donnell was upended at the 41 yard line and fumbled. Aaron Colvin scooped up the loose ball and dashed into the endzone for the score and Jacksonville's first lead of the day, 22-21.

Even though the Giants soon responded with a field goal of their own to retake the lead 24-22, it never  felt like the Giants had the momentum to hold on and win this game. They were playing with the mentality of a loser and in the end, they lost. Bortles cut through the Giants defense like a seasoned veteran, converting four first downs on the drive to put the Jaguars deep into Giants territory as the clock wound down to :32. The effort was close enough for Josh Scobee who connected on the 43-yard field goal to win it 25-24.

Losing to the Cowboys last week on a last second touchdown is on thing, losing to the horrible Jaguars is another. It is official, the Giants need to clean house. From both coordinators, Perry Fewell and Ben McAdoo, to general manager Jerry Reece and Coughlin, the head coach. The time has come for the Mara family to make changes to the entire infrastructure of this Giants organization -- it has rotted to the core -- there is no pride, no shame, nothing. Change is never easy, but now it's necessary.

Jim Harbaugh Rumored Link with Jets & Raiders

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the future of San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh for some time now. The general manager is not crazy about him, ownership is apathetic, and rumors have been that no matter what Harbaugh is on his way out of town.

The latest rumors are that the 49ers are willing to trade Harbaugh at the end of the season for a draft pick, and two teams have jumped to the front of his race: the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets.

Could Harbaugh one day wear Jets gear?
The Raiders are perceived the favorite to land Harbaugh, if it came to pass. Harbaugh is a West Coast guy, his family is out there, and in addition to coaching the Niners the past four seasons, coached at Stanford before that. Plus, Harbaugh's rough personality would be a fit for the band of misfits that are the Raiders.

That being said, lets say the Jets were a serious player here. Harbaugh probably would want a say in personnel matters, meaning that either John Idzik or the new Jets General Manger would have to be willing to let the coach have a major say in the decision making process. That is unless Woody Johnson decides to give Harbaugh the keys to the entire operation, GM and Head Coach.

Harbuagh is a winner, even with all the problems in San Francisco. He took a downtrodden 49ers franchise and took them to the NFC Championship game and a Super Bowl appearance in his first three years by the Bay. He's a former quarterback, which would be a plus for a team that needs an offensive minded head coach.

That being said there have been numerous stories that the 49ers' players have been unhappy with the strict nature by which Harbaugh runs the team. A lot of people find him too abrasive and too much of a high-wire act. It is fair to wonder if his bristly personality would work well in New York. History tells out that it took Tom Coughlin years before he shed his bristly personality, and when he did the Giants won a Super Bowl. Al Groh, was a head coach with a rough personality that was run out of the New York when the Jets players rebelled on him in 2000.

While landing Harbaugh sounds like an attractive option, it may not be the best option for the Jets. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Rumors: Rex Ryan believes John Idzik wants him fired

It's that time of the year again! No, not the holiday season, but the rumor mill season in the NFL, or better known as let's spread as many leaks, misinformation and flat out 'he said-she said' as we can for the teams that have no shot at the playoffs.

Hence is the life of the New York Jets.

Before the Thanksgiving Day holiday, rumors started swirling around from a New York Post column that Rex Ryan has suspected all along that General Manager John Idzik has wanted to fire him.

"Sources told The Post that, during the offseason, Ryan bumped into scouts and other coaches from around the league who told him Jets general manager John Idzik had been telling people his plan all along was to replace Ryan after the season and bring in his own head coach.
“Did he think that wasn’t going to get back to me?” an angered Ryan told one confidant" (NY Post 11/25/14).

So there it is in print. It has been the belief of the media and fans ever since Idzik arrived in town that he would want to find a way to sabotage Ryan so he could replace him with his own coach. While the two of them have played their working relationship as a good one the past two years, the contrary is finally coming to light.

Clearly Ryan is going to get fired. During New York's pathetic 38-3 loss to the Bills on Monday night, Ryan looked like a caged lion, pacing back and forth on the sideline grumbling to himself. Idzik did him no favors this year that is for sure, providing Rex a depleted roster, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Yet, let us not feel totally sorry for Ryan. He has stuck his foot down his own throat enough times during his six years in New York and has proven to be a poor head coach by its very definition. In short, he has it coming.

It would be ironic that Idzik's power move could eventually lead to his own firing. Fans have been clamoring for his ouster for weeks, especially after his paranoid press conference when the team was 1-7.

This is the mess that Woody Johnson has made. He had every right to fire Mike Tannenbaum back in 2012, but he should have sent Ryan packing with him. Instead he tried to sell other GM candidates the idea that they had to keep Rex, and every single one but Idzik headed for the hills as fast as they could. Idzik and Ryan are like mixing oil and water. Different philosophies, different understanding of the game of football. Both might be great when not near one another.

The best thing Woody Johnson could do for not only himself and his fledgling franchise is to fire both Ryan and Idzik at the end of the year and hit the reset button. But, remember this is Woody Johnson we are dealing with.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Giants Blow Big Lead, Fall to Dallas on SNF

COWBOYS 31
GIANTS 28

It was supposed to be the Giants night, because it was certainly Odell Beckham's night. It was supposed to be the Giants night, because they built an 11-point halftime lead, and were playing their most complete football game of the season. It was supposed to be the Giants night, because they came back late with an inspiring 93-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter.

It was supposed to be  a lot of things, until the Dallas Cowboys, Tony Romo and Dez Bryant pulled the rug right out from underneath Big Blue stealing a 31-28 decision in East Rutherford.

The Giants (3-8) are officially Dead Team Walking. Their playoff hopes, as slim as they were, are now gone for good. It's hard to get angry anymore because there was still so much positive that came out of this night, which makes this lose that much tougher to accept. Most notably Beckham, who had a career game, hauling in 10 passes for 146 yards and two scores. His over-the-shoulder, with the tips of his fingers-Matrix-style touchdown catch will be replayed for years to come. It was easily one of the best catches in franchise history right up there with the "Helmet Catch" of David Tyree.


There was Beckham, heavily covered by the corner, jumping up into the air, using the tips of his thumb, index finger and middle finger to grab a hold of an Eli Manning floater; all of this in mid-flight as he was bending backwards and falling on his rear end in the end zone for the touchdown. It was incredible, it gave the Giants a shocking 14-3 lead. One would think such a play might have been the turning point of the night. For a short time it was.

The Giants went into the half up 21-10, but once the second half began, Dallas turned the heat up on the Giants. As much as it was Beckham's night, it was Tony Romo's finest hour. The embattled quarterback threw four touchdowns for Dallas in the comeback victory, and was unflappable all night as the Giants failed to muster any real pass rush.

Romo delivered the first dagger when he connected with Cole Beasley for a 45-yard pitch-and-catch touchdown to cut the Giants lead to 21-17 with 6:35 remaining in the third quarter.

The Giants later got back into a giving mood on this Thanksgiving Day Week when Manning floated what should have been an easy throw to a wide open Patrick Peterson, instead into the hands of Dallas Strong Safety Barry Church, who brought the football back 45-yards to mid-field.

With renewed life Romo went right back to work. On second down at the Giants 31, Romo rolled out of the pocket and found Dez Bryant alone down the sideline. The duo connected and Bryant dashed toward the corner of the end zone for the score, putting Dallas up 24-21.

After Dallas failed to do anything with the ball on its next possession, the Giants had to do something to restore order in this game. With 9:12 to go in the game and in their playoff dreams, Manning engineered an inspiring 14-play 93-yard drive that ate over six minute of clock. The biggest play of the drive came on a second and three at the Dallas 41 when Rashard Jennings made a couple people miss and ran down the sideline for 27-yards to the Cowboys' 14. Five plays later, Manning found tight end Adrien Robinson for the score to give the Giants a 28-24 lead with 3:00 to go.

It appeared the Giants were on the cusp of pulling out their fourth win of the year, and first win against an opponent with a winning record this year.

'Not so fast,' said Romo.  While Eli Manning has received all the accolades and praise as a great fourth quarter quarterback, he has two Super Bowls to prove so, Romo has received nothing but criticism for how he's handled the pressure moment. On Sunday he had no issues. In fact, he might have been the best he's ever been in the two minute drill.

With no substantial New York pass rush, Romo picked apart the Giants. Romo hit Jason Witten for five yards on second and six, then watched DeMarco Murray gash the Giants for nine yards to spot the ball at the Dallas 38 with two minutes to go. Next, Romo zipped a pass to Beasley for 21-yards to the Giants 36, and before anyone knew it, Romo connected with Witten for 15-yards to the Giants 21. The drive was like a flash of lightening -- Romo hit Bryant for eight more yards to the Giants 13 with 1:11 to go. Finally, Romo stood in the pocket and waited, waited, and waited until he found Bryant open free in the back of the end zone. Romo hit him in the numbers for the score. Dallas 31, Giants 28 with 1:01 to go.

The Dallas fans went nuts, the Giants fans shrugged their shoulders in angst. Another one that got away.

On a night where Odell Beckham made a catch for the ages, the Cowboys saved their season and kept themselves very much alive for the division title. Dallas will play the Buttfumble (Mark Sanchez) and the Eagles on Thanksgiving Day in Dallas. The Giants are now left to play out the string with nothing to play for but jobs in 2015.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Jets-Bills Contest will not be played in Buffalo

When the Jets and Bills kick-off their Week 12 contest it will not be at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo, NY., the lake effect snowstorm that has crippled northwestern New York with six feet of snow has forced the NFL to move the AFC East clash to another venue.

What that venue is and when the game will be played is up in the air.

According to NFL.com, Ford Field in Detroit, or FedEx field in Landover, Maryland are possible relocations spots. The Lions are in New England this week, which opens up Ford Field this week, however Detroit would be a long distance trip for both the Jets and Bills; I find this location least likely. FedEx field wouldn't be bad for both clubs, with the Redskins are in San Francisco this week.

The Meadowlands is out, at least for Sunday, since the Giants play there on Sunday night against Dallas. That doesn't mean Monday night wouldn't be a possibility, however. The Patriots and Eagles are also playing at home this weekend, which cancels out those two venues.

Other locations that have been floated include the Skydome in Toronto, where the Bills have traditionally played one game a year in its Canadian series; the series was suspended for this year. Pittsburgh would be an ideal spot, since the Steelers have a bye week, and it is not that far for either team to travel to, just a couple hours for the Bills, and five hours for the Jets.

Regardless, there is no way this game can be played in Buffalo until the state of emergency is lifted and the snow is cleared out. Plus the Bills would like to practice a bit before this game ever takes place.

Jason Kidd Gets Booed by Nets Fans

Jason Kidd made his return to Brooklyn, months after a messy divorce with the front office, in which he campaigned to have General Manager Billy King fired, so he could have the title of both General Manager and Head Coach. The Nets refused to balk to Kidd's demands and as a result the ex-Net became the Head Coach of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Apparently Nets fans were happy to see him.


Kidd got the last laugh, as the Bucks defeated the Nets in triple overtime 122-118. The Bucks are one of the surprises in the East thus far, posting a 7-5 record. The Nets are 4-7. However you cannot blame the Nets for letting Kidd walk.

Kidd had this response for the boo birds.


Even if Kidd pretends that he didn't hear anything, looking at the video of the actual event, it looked like Kidd was taken aback by the boos from the crowd. His eyes popped out of his head, and he tried to smile after the 10 seconds of booing ended. Kidd can say whatever he wants, the booing bothered him.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

BlogTalkRadio: Open Mike Hockey Special!

Take a listen to Wednesday night's Open Mike program, featured on BlogTalkRadio. Tonight I had an opportunity to speak with Dan Rice of TheHockeyWriters.com, to talk about the slumping New Jersey Devils and surging New York Islanders. It's a terrific listen.

LISTEN HERE!

Open Mike is live every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on BlogTalkRadio at 5:30 p.m. ET.


Bills expect to play Jets in Buffalo despite snow

The city of Buffalo and upstate New York has seen enough snow to last a typical winter. Reports of five to six feet of snow have crippled the area, leaving residents stranded at home, people stuck on the road, and sadly have cost some individuals their lives.

It has not been a good time of things lately upstate, and certainly football is the last thing that should be on anyone's mind.

However, the Buffalo Bills do play a home game at Ralph Wilson Stadium this weekend against the New York Jets, kickoff at 1 p.m. The snow is supposed to continue to cripple the area at least two more days, and there is reason for concern whether the game will even be played on time.




As of right now the Bills expect to play the game on schedule at Ralph Wilson Stadium, however they are working with the league on this matter and those plans could change between now and Sunday. If they do, the game could get moved to Monday night.

There is precedent for this. Three years ago, the Minnesota Vikings were involved in a series of snow delaying events that moved a couple of their games around. First, the roof to the Metrodome caved in when the weight of the snow become too much for the structure; as a result the Vikings Sunday kick-off with the Giants was moved to Monday night in Detroit. Weeks later, the Vikings had another game postponed when the city of Philadelphia called a state of emergency in anticipation of a monster storm. That storm never came, but the game was still played on Tuesday night.

Obviously this is a much worse situation then those two examples. Moving the game to the Meadowlands is impossible, at least on Sunday, since the Giants host the Cowboys that same day. The game could be played at the Meadowlands on Monday if needed. The two teams could also move the game to Foxboro, Massachusetts, but the Patriots are also playing at home this weekend.

This is an ongoing story that will continue to develop. Reports are the snow has also affected the Bills practice schedule as nobody can even get out of their houses right now. Perhaps pushing the game back to Monday is the best thing for both squads right now.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

PHOTOS: New Outfield Fences at Citi Field are Almost Complete

One of the biggest complaints coming from the Mets and its hitters has been the fences at Citi Field. Deemed too deep of a ball park for the Mets to provide any power (even though their opponents have had no problems hitting homers at Citi Field), the Mets have brought the fences in.

On Tuesday the media got a glimpse of what the new dimensions look like. While left field has remained the same, it is the right field porch that has seen the most dramatic of changes. In 2014 the dimensions in right-center were 390 and 375. Now, the dimensions will be 380 and 370. The Mets hope this helps their beleaguered offense. Then again, getting some actual hitters might be a better tonic. 

Take a look: METS FACEBOOK PHOTOS!


NFL Making Right Call to Suspend Adrian Peterson for Season

In an era where the NFL Commissioner has come under fire for his handling of many things, this one is not going to be one of them.

The NFL had to level a severe penalty to Adrian Peterson, the once mighty superstar running back of the Minnesota Vikings.

Peterson was suspended by the Vikings, with pay until further notice regarding his hearing for child abuse charges back in August. Since pleading no contest earlier in November, and basically admitting that he beat his son, Peterson was closing in on a return -- that was until the NFL put a stop to all of that suspending him for the year without pay.

The information that came out regarding the situation, from images of scares on the child left by Peterson, to the facts that Peterson used a switch (tree branch) to beat his son for what he termed disciplinary reasons was too much to bear; not after the NFL already had a black eye over the Ray Rice fiasco. Bravo to Goodell for showing the guts to make such a tough move on a once very popular player.

Goodell leveled a severe and fair penalty to Peterson, and by reading his statement he made it sound like it would be a very long time before we ever see Peterson on the field again. Goodell says that Peterson's potential reinstatement into the NFL will be "based on the results of the counseling and treatment program set forth in the decision. Under a two-step approach, the precise length of the suspension will depend on your actions."

So for Peterson to even dream of returning to an NFL playing field he will have to undergo counseling, and rehabilitation. He cannot afford to another slip up or he is finished. The  press release goes on to add that the NFL has instructed Peterson to seek help from Dr. April Kuchuk by December 1. She is to develop the program for counseling, therapy and community service for him to follow strictly.

Goodell even takes time to admonish Peterson for his actions. Many have defended Peterson's actions as his rights as a father. However, Peterson went too far. What may have seemed like discipline to Peterson years and years ago as a child, and to a select few is in fact abuse. No child, no matter how old they are should be beaten to a pulp by their parents. That is not discipline. It's criminal.

Goodell said as much: "When indicted you acknowledged what you did but said you would not eliminate whooping my kids and defended your conduct in numerous published text messages to the child's mother. These comments raise serious concern that you do not fully appreciate the seriousness of your conduct, or even worse, that you may feel free to engage in similar conduct in the future."

READ THE ENTIRE GOODELL PRESS RELEASE.

Peterson can appeal through the Players Association and try to get onto the field by Sunday. The Association is already trying to do as much, however ESPN reports that such a process could be a little more complex and will involve a lot of lawyers. In short the NFLPA is on the short end of the stick here.

While the NFLPA has every right to protect its clients, DeMaurice Smith and company are barking up the wrong tree here. Peterson deserves to sit out for the rest of this season, and if he fails to show the kind of improvement that Roger Goodell and the rest of society is looking for, he deserves to never play in the NFL again.

This is only the beginning of what could turn into a long, long litigation process. Lawyers take your places.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Mets gamble in signing of Cuddyer

The Mets want their fans to believe that they are ready to open up the wallets and go for it. That would be easier said than done. The Mets made a move this week, signing free agent Michael Cuddyer to a two-year $21 million contract just days after he rejected a qualifying offer from the Colorado Rockies.

The Mets did give up a lot for him. By signing Cuddyer they gave up their first round pick in the 2015 draft, a draft pick that was basically rewarded to the Rockies, who lost a player after their offer was rejected.

On the positive side, Cuddyer has done something that not many players have done in several years, he wanted to come to New York and play for the Mets. That's correct. Cuddyer grew up in Norfolk Virginia, once the home of the Mets Triple-A affiliate, and the home of Mets third baseman David Wright. Wright and Cuddyer have grown up together, and word on the street is Wright wanted Cuddyer to come to the Big Apple.

Cuddyer's desire to play for the Mets, combined with his track record of clubhouse leadership should be a boon to a Mets franchise that for the most part is still in a rebuilding phase. He was once a very productive hitter for the Minnesota Twins, and, two years ago hit .331 with 20 home runs and 84 RBI.

However that is where all the good comes to an end regarding this signing. There is reason for concern because Cuddyer is coming off an injury riddled season in 2014, in which he only played in 49 games. In three years with the Rockies, Cuddyer became a pure Coors Field hitter, meaning he only hit consistently well in the thin air of Denver, Colorado compared to away from it. Case in point, Cuddyer hit .329 in three years at Coors field, but was hitting around .270 away from Coors. Also, he hit only .167 at Citi Field in that time span.

Plus, he'll be 36 years old on Opening Day, and with concerns about his durability, this feels more like a patch work move that could eventually blow up in the Mets' faces much like the Chris Young signing did last season. Cuddyer has no real position on the field. He could play both corner outfield spots, and first base, but the Mets don't need anymore platoon players -- they need to three main guys who can start in the outfield on an daily basis. They still don't have that.

This is a rather strange move for the Mets, one that we will have to watch before making a final judgment. Some will point to the fact that the Mets spent money as a moral victory, but until they start spending that money wisely, any move made by the New York front office will come with skepticism.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Giants Blow Golden Opportunity in Seattle

SEAHAWKS 38
GIANTS 17

The New York Giants had a great opportunity to do something special on a rainy Sunday in Seattle. They were up 14-7 and, later 17-14. They found a way to quiet the 12th man, and found a way to slow down Russell Wilson and company. A win in Seattle, coming off of a inept 40-24 showing at the hands of the Colts, would have not only been amazing, it would have breathed new life into a dying Giants season.

Instead the Giants blew a 17-14 lead, and watched it turn into 38-17, Seattle in the blink of an eye. It was like watching the tortoise and the hare, only instead of the lowly turtle winning the race, it was the rabbit, who realized he was better, faster and stronger and pulled away like most champions are supposed to. 

Now, the Giants season is on full life support; then again it might be D.O.A. Heck the Giants have only one more win than the Jets! Think about that.

With seven minutes remaining in the third quarter, everything the Giants hoped this game would be became the game they feared when Russell Wilson rolled to his right to avoid the rush and heaved a bomb down the sideline to Jermaine Kearse in single coverage, for a 60-yard gain to the Giants six yard line. You could feel the air came out of the Big Blue balloon.

Seattle settled for a field goal, 17-17. Not all is lost, right?

On the Giants ensuing offensive possession they teased us even more when Eli Manning his Preston Parker and Odell Beckham for huge third down conversions to move the ball deep into Seattle territory. That is when this game, once again, went from being everything the Giants hoped it would be to the game they feared it was meant to become.

Manning lifted a pass down the sideline to Beckham, but the rookie was heavily covered by Richard Sherman. Beckham had no choice but to try to knock it out of Sherman's grasp, but when he did it landed in the hands of safety Earl Thomas for the interception in the end zone. The play was eerily similar to the one in the NFC Championship game when it was Sherman who deflected a Colin Kaepernick pass into the hands of Malcolm Smith that sent Seattle to the Super Bowl. It was the same end zone too.

That Giants turnover was the turning point. Seattle never looked back as they plowed down the Giants with their running game. Christine Michael hit one up the gut for 18-yards; then Wilson dashed for 11 more and Marshawn Lynch ate up chunks of 17-yards, and finally three yards for the score to make it 24-17. 

The Giants were dead. On the next Seattle possession it was more of the same: Marshawn Lynch all day. Lynch gutted the Giants for 28-yards on the drive, including 16-yards on a touchdown run to blow the game open at 31-17. It was now a humiliating night for the Giants.

The Seahawks gorged the Giants for 350 yards on the ground and 510 yards of total offense. New York could do nothing with their running game since Rashard Jennings missed his fourth consecutive game with an injury. Andre Williams was his usual ineffective self.

At 3-6 it looks over for the Giants. They get the 49ers next week at the Meadowlands. The 49ers are in no great shakes themselves, but they did beat the Saints today in overtime. This is likely Tom Coughlin's last stand -- even though this is not all his fault.

Jets Stun Sleepwalking Steelers

JETS 20
STEELERS 13

Someone break up the Jets they actually won a game. In the words of Harry Doyle from the movie Major League, "we call that a winning streak."

Joking aside New York actually came out to play on Sunday smacking around an overconfident and, perhaps overrated Pittsburgh Steelers team across the side of the head. The Jets dominated the Steelers. They took advantage of Pittsburgh soft defense, harassed an usually unflappable Ben Rothlisberger, and made plays in the secondary for the first time in a coons age.

Who knew that fans could motivate their team by threatening that everyone be fired on billboards and airplane signs? I am sure the Jets will point at their fans for the added motivation.

No the Jets are not on pace to do a complete 180 from their hideous first half this year. They are going nowhere inspite of what Rex Ryan might think. The Jets simply caught the Steelers looking past New York.

The Steelers had recently won three big games at home with their offense exploding at record levels. They had the lowly Jets and Titans coming up on the schedule before a bye week. So why not put down 8-3 next to the Steelers name? The Jets proved that anyone can win any given Sunday.

Right from the get-go this game had a different feel to it. Michael Vick was in complete command for the Jets. He settled things down nicely, allowing them to focus on what it is they do best: run the football. On the opening drive of the game, the Jets ate up 7:52 on 14 plays, and converted on six first downs, as they pounded the rock with run plays from Chris Ivory, Chris Johnson, an end around by Percy Harvn, and even some nifty moves by Vick.

The Jets kicked a field goal to take a 3-0 lead, but unlike past early Jets leads this one felt different. It felt like the Jets were making a statement that they were not going to be pushed around on this day.

Pittsburgh felt that right away. They couldn't do anything on their opening drive. The Jets broke up a screen pass for a five yard loss on first down, sacked Rothlisberger on third down to force a punt. Next Vick did something that no Jets fan had seen from a quarterback in a long, long, long, long time. Vick nailed a 67-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Graham, who caught it in stride, giving the Jets a stunning 10-0 lead.

On the next Pittsburgh possession the Jets forced Antonio Brown into a fumble when Muhammad Wilkerson jarred the ball loose from his hands. Jaiquawn Jarrett jumped on it for the Jets, and New York was in business in Steelers territory. Five plays later, Vick found Jace Amero in the back of the end zone for the score. 17-0 Jets. Yes, Jets!

For Jarrett he had a monster day in the secondary for the Jets. Replacing the ineffective Calvin Pryor, another John Idzik first round bust, Jarrett had his best day as a Jet. He recorded 10 tackles, a sack of Rothlisberger, a fumble recovery and both interceptions of the Steelers All Pro quarterback. 

While the final score indicates that the Jets had to hold on for dear life, it was never that close. The score was 20-6 Jets with 1:17 to play in the game, before the Steelers hit a desperation touchdown. Before that Pittsburgh spent 58 minutes totally befuddled by the Jets defense, which bid for the shutout.

With the win, the Jets avoid a Rich Kotite-esq disaster of a season. While 2014 is still a mess, the Jets have a win under their belts that they can be proud of.

As for Vick, he hasn't turned the ball over in two starts, and has really done a nice job settling this Jets offense. It makes one wonder what this season would have looked like if the Jets had gone to Vick earlier in the year.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Woeful Giants Blasted by Luck and Colts

COLTS 40
GIANTS 24

It was no contest.

The Indianapolis Colts waltzed into MetLife Stadium on Monday night and to them, the game was more like a walk in the park than anything else. The Colts didn't need to break a sweat on Monday because the Giants were THAT bad.

Before a couple of garbage time touchdowns, the Giants were getting their doors blown off 40-10. They had gained a grand total of 242 total yards of offense, while Indianapolis rolled up 439 yards and Andrew Luck tore it up for 354 yards through the air. And this was the stat line entering the fourth quarter!

The Giants offense was anemic, not because of Eli Manning, but because of all the failed pieces around him. While there was no specific count made, the Giants had dozens of dropped passes Monday night. New York could have done a lot good work when the game was close, but their offense stalled every single time because of a dropped pass by a Giants receiver.

Result: New York had no answer for Indianapolis as they steadily built a 16-3 lead by the half, relying on three Adam Vinatieri field goals. Even down 13, the Giants were still alive, and with the way the defense had played in the first half there was still reason to believe; boy, were we mistaken.

Right out of the gate in the third quarter the Colts became the Colts, and Luck started to dominate the way he has dominated everyone this season. First Luck hit Dwayne Allen for 35-yards to the Giants 47-yard line, then six plays later Luck found TY Hilton in the center of the end zone from 31-yards out to make it Colts 23, Giants 3. The game felt over at that exact point.

Even though Big Blue responded with a Andre Williams touchdown it felt futile. There was no hope for Giants, and Luck made sure of that. Luck responded to the Giants TD with another TD pass of his own, when he found an uncovered Reggie Wayne on a pick and go for a 40-yard score to make it 30-10. Finally, after a Giants fumble at their own 26 yard line, the Colts added seven more points, when Luck found Allen again, this time from two-yards out to make it 37-10.

Good night folks.

This is a huge loss for the Giants. Heading into Monday night the Giants had a great opportunity to make a legit climb in their division. With Mark "Buttfumble" Sanchez taking over for an injured Nick Foles in Philadelphia, and with Tony Romo's back a big question mark in Dallas, if the Giants could get hot in this crucial month of November, they would be in position to party in December.

Embattled new OC Ben McAdoo tries to figure it out with Eli.
Now that appears unlikely, or at least very, very difficult.

 The Giants have too many injuries and too many flaws. Pince Amukamara tore his bicep and is likely lost for the year. The Giants already lost their leader, middle linebacker Jon Beason for the year as well. And how about this new offense led by offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo? Does Jerry Reese have Kevin Gilbride's number on speed dial? Maybe the Giants can call the Jets and borrow Marty Mornhinweg?

And speaking of Jerry Reese, maybe Giants fans should find a way to buy their own "Fire the GM" sign the way Jets fans have for John Idzik. Reese has mismanaged their Giants cap system -- they have too many overpriced, overlong and expiring contracts on this team, not to mention the talent he has brought in on the offensive side of the ball isn't looking good. His decision not to bring back Hakeem Nicks and Amhad Bradshaw bit him last night.

Reese, not Tom Coughlin, should be the one held accountable for this mess if it indeed spirals out of control in the next eight weeks.

The Giants are 3-5. They are 3-0 against teams under .500 this year, and 0-5 against teams over .500 in playoff contention. They are in big trouble. Seattle is looking like a loss, and when Dallas comes to town in a few weeks Romo should be back. The only game in this stretch that looks winnable in San Francisco because the 49ers are in implosion mode with the John Harbaugh fiasco by the Bay.

If that scenario plays out the Giants would be 4-7, too little too late with a five game stretch of bad teams coming up to finish the season. After next week, it might be time to look toward 2015.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Jets hit new low, ineptitude in defeat at Kansas City

CHIEFS 24
JETS 10

There is not much left to say. There is not much left to recap. Everything that has needed to be said about the Jets has been said; their coaching staff and front office needs to go and it is now all about waiting until Woody Johnson comes out from underneath his rock to fire people between now and December 29 (the day after the season).

The Jets hit a new low Sunday in Kansas City. They were uncompetitive, listless and played like a team resigned to its fate as a 2-14 or worse 1-15 football team. The Kansas City Chiefs didn't have to break a sweat in this one, because the Jets played like they didn't care.

Kansas City took the opening drive of the game and rammed it down the Jets throats on a crisp 12 play 81 yard drive that ate six and a half minutes off the clock before Jammal Charles scored from one yard out to make it 7-0.

After Vick led an uninspiring three and out on New York's first possession, the Chiefs found the end zone once more when Anthony Fasano caught one of the most bizarre touchdowns ever, by making the catch while siting down on the turf. No Jet saw him, as the deflected pass landed in his hands. A surprised Fasno then stretched over the end zone line for the score.

14-0 Chiefs. Ball Game over. 1-8 here we come.

To be fair, Vick wasn't awful, but he wasn't great. He did complete 21 of 28 passes and get Percy Harvin, Eric Decker and Chris Johnson involved in the offense, something Geno Smith failed to do. But when you are 1-8, small platitudes mean nothing.

The once concern when it comes to Vick is his brittle nature, and the Jets saw that front and center on Sunday. In the fourth quarter during a failed attempt to score a touchdown to get back into the game, Vick was injured and replaced by Matt Simms. Simms hit a couple of nice passes, and Jets fans better get used to seeing the son of the former Giants quarterback.

If Vick can't stay healthy, and, if they can't trust Geno Smith at all, they might as well go with Simms for a few games. What else is left for them to do?

The Jets are 1-8 and now they are starting to play like it.