Monday, December 8, 2014

Jets invent ways to lose in Minnesota

VIKINGS 30
JETS 24 - OT

At least the Jets are consistent. Even when they find a way to play fairly well, they still manage to find a way to lose a football game in excruciating fashion. The latest scene of the crime: Minnesota. The result: an overtime loss to the equally inept Minnesota Vikings.

If you needed a game about the instruction in poor tackling, Sunday's Jets-Vikings was a great example, as neither team could find a way to make a tackle in a big spot, especially the Jets who watched Jarius Wright dance down the sidelines on an 87-yard game winning touchdown to beat them in overtime.

The Jets have nobody to blame but themselves for the loss on Sunday. While Geno Smith played fairly well, the offense still made a series of mistakes that came back to haunt them throughout the afternoon. Starting with Smith's pick-six interception on the first play of the game that handed Minnesota an easy 7-0 lead, the tone was set for another dreary day.

Yet, in typical Jets fashion they teased us. After hearing about his ultra conservative game plan, and rampant speculation that Rex Ryan wanted him fired, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg opened up the playbook, and for the first time got Percy Harvin involved in the mix.

Harvin first hauled in a 45-yard pass on the Jets second possession, then, caught a 35-yard touchdown strike from Smith to give the Jets a stunning 9-7 lead in the first quarter.

Yet that lead was short lived. The Jets porous defense made Teddy Bridgewater look like Randal Cunningham on Sunday. Three plays into Minnesota's ensuing drive, Bridgewater hit a streaking Charles Johnson down the sideline for a 56-yard score to put the Vikings back on top 14-12. They would never trail again.

For the rest of the afternoon the Jets would tease the Vikings, threaten to take the lead, but their own miscues cost them any dear hopes of overtaking Minnesota. Trailing 21-12, the Jets engineered an 11-play 76 yard drive spearheaded by the running of Chris Ivory and Chris Johnson. However, once New York got to within the end zone they turned it over again, this time the culprit was Ivory, who put the ball on the carpet giving the Vikings the ball back.

After a Vikings three and out, the Jets were, again, knocking on the door, thanks in big part to a major pass interference call on the Vikings. The Jets got as close as the 15-yard line before Geno Smith was sacked on third down and six, forcing another Jets field goal to cut the deficit to 21-15.

Talk about missed opportunities, it was the name of the game. The Jets had a total of four drives that wound up inside the Vikings red zone and three times they settled for field goals that eventually tied the game at 21. If only New York had the pieces to finish drives off at the running back, quarterback and tight end positions, maybe they are blowing the doors off the Vikings instead.

The biggest condemnation however came at the end of regulation with the score still tied at 24. With time expiring in regulation Bridgewater heaves a floater down the middle of the field that Darren Walls should have picked off at mid-field. Instead the ball went right through his hands and into the hands Jarius Wright for a first down. If Walls picks that off the Jets have the football at mid-field with 16 seconds to go, more than enough time to get into field goal range for Nick Folk to win it. But this is the Jets.

The game would eventually get into overtime, and the Jets would still find a way to get beat as Wright again torches Walls and the secondary with the 87-yard catch and run for the game winner.

The Jets didn't deserve this game, they played it too close to the vest as they typically do because they don't have the horses to get the job done. This season has gone from a disaster to a sad, pathetic mess. Change needs to come.

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