The next two plays involved everyone’s favorite player to either love or hate, Mark Sanchez. He played well overall, as mentioned on the previous page, but he did make a couple of head scratchers. The first was the botched handoff in the second quarter. He did make a heads up play by kicking it out of the end zone so it would only be a safety rather than a touchdown, but he has to make a clean handoff. Put it in Shonn Greene’s gut, and get it in there securely, period. That cannot happen.
Second was the pass to Stephen Hill, which was 100% on Mark Sanchez no matter how you slice it. Hill was open, by a wide margin. The throw was late, and severely underthrown, making the interception an easy one. It had too much air, and it was just terrible. But you still have to give the offense credit for getting in position to convert a Nick Folk field goal to bring the game to within one score before the break.
Another topic in the football game has to be play calling, which at times was very interesting. Early in the second half was one of the biggest examples.
Tony Sparano has had his dubious moments as the play caller, and the first drive of the second half was an excellent example. After bringing the game to 16-10 at the half, the Jets take the opening kickoff and drive to the Patriots’ 3 yard line, setting up a third and two. Do they give the ball to Shonn Greene who has converted every third and short all season? No. Do they give it to Tim Tebow who was brought in here for red zone work? No. They run a predictable slant throw, miss on it, and settle for a field goal. What happens if Shonn or Tim power into the end zone? We will never know.
Speaking of Tim Tebow by the way, if the lack of use of him in yesterday’s game doesn’t prove that Rex Ryan and Tony Sparano wanted no part of him, I don’t know what will. The fact that he is never used shows as clear as day that the only one that wanted Tebow in town was Woody Johnson. Period.
But back to the play calling. After the Jets tied the football game at 23, they come up with a huge special teams play, recovering a Devin McCourty fumble on the kickoff, setting them up at the Patriots’ 18 yard line. So, with this sudden change in momentum, does Tony call for a shot to the endzone? Nope. 2 runs, a pass on third and long, and the Jets settle for a field goal, putting them ahead, but leaving Brady 1:31 to tie the game. For Tom Brady, 1:31 is like a quarter and a half to anyone else.
The game ending play was one that gives all of the anti-Sanchez fans their ammunition. It’s second and 10 from the Jets 40, and Mark drops back to see nobody open. Instead of getting the ball out of his hands, he holds it too long, and fumbles the ball. That’s your ballgame. Mark has become more aware at times, but there are moments where he drifts back into that rookie mentality of trying to make a play when none is there. On that play, Mark HAS to throw the ball away. Third down is there for them, if there isn’t a play, don’t force it. If the Jets had that third down play, they might have had the chance to tie or win the game.
A good effort by the Jets, but they made too many mistakes to get past. Back home for Miami next week, to try to get to 4-4 going into the bye week.