Tuesday Morning Quarterback: Week 15 Jets vs. Titans
By Alan Schechter
Dec 17, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) scrambles against the Tennessee Titans during the first half at LP Field. Mandatory credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
Well, it was a nice run while it lasted, but now it is no more. The Jets fell to the Titans 14-10, ending their playoff hopes and beginning the look ahead to next year. The Jets had their chances in this one, as the Titans really never put the game away, but in the end, they couldn’t get the job done. Too many miscues did the Jets in, and it did in their season too. Let’s get to it.
Four INT’s by Mark Sanchez. Again, he was forcing passes into bad places. During the game, I talked about the rhythm getting thrown off, after the one Tim Tebow drive. He did have some rhythm early, but it doesn’t matter. Tebow didn’t play significantly after the one drive, and Mark never really got his rhythm back. He made throws that were late, and he forced balls that he shouldn’t have thrown. Look at the two picks to Cumberland as an example, they were awful. One was high, so high that I don’t think Yao Ming could make the catch. The other was forced into about quadruple coverage. Last night, the guy under center just couldn’t make the right decision when it counted, and it cost the Jets an opportunity at the playoffs.
Let’s also take a look at the playcalling in this game. Tony Sparano=horrible. Brian Schottenheimer was scapegoated, Tony Sparano might have fans calling for the Schotty return. First of all, the use of Tebow made no sense. The scripted use of Tim Tebow on the third drive made absolutely no sense. Why do it just for the heck of it? Rex even said after the game that it was the plan. Why would you make a plan like that? The defense was daring Tebow to throw the football, but yet they continued with it. Tebow executed a first down run off of the right side, which looked beautiful. Instead of bringing back in Mar, they went back to the QB draws in the middle of the line. Those went nowhere, drive over.
Don’t get me wrong, the way they used Tebow did interrupt the flow and rhythm for Mark Sanchez. It wasn’t a great rhythm, but there were moments when Mark was heating up a little bit, like when he hit two completions in a row. That is the time to leave your quarterback alone and let him feel the game. Instead, he removed Mark for Tim. Tim was never able to get it going, and this offense didn’t get much going at all.
Dec. 2, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Greg McElroy (14) goes over a play with offensive coordinator Tony Sparano as quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) and quarterback Tim Tebow (15) wait in the background against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Jets won 7-6. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports
There are many spots that we can call out the play calling of Tony Sparano, such as the three passes on first and 5, but we can boil it down. Remember last week, when I talked about how Sparano deserved credit for finally sticking with the running game? Well, you can throw all of that out the window this week. The ratio, if you look at the stats, wasn’t that bad. 33-30 in favor of the passing game is balanced. But, there was no reason to throw the ball a lot. One, we saw that Mark was not on his game, and two, they were running the ball well. How well? 4.9 YARDS PER CARRY WELL! The Jets were dominating up front with the ground game. Why go away from it? They weren’t getting killed, there was no reason.
The long TD by Chris Johnson was a back-breaking play that marred an otherwise strong performance on defense. The play was a breakdown in the gaps, Bart Scott took the wrong gap and it was off to the races. Otherwise, the Jets bottled him up quite well. Take out that carry, and CJ2K’s stats are 20 carries for 28 yards. It’s unfortunate when the offense plays so badly that one bad play on defense loses the game. The defense did play well, other than that play. It’s not like Jake Locker made the air rain with beautiful passes, going 13-22 for 149 yards. He did rush for a TD, on a play where the defense looked as tired as it did when they gave up the TD to Tebow last year. On the 4 INTs, the defense forced a punt each time. We cannot give this loss to the defense by ANY means.
Muhammad Wilkerson is going to be a beast for this team for many years to come. We have all seen his influence on the defense, now he puts up a blocked field goal? This guy is a monster. He and Coples together on this defensive line is going to be a beautiful thing for many, many years.
So, we move on here and play out the string for pride. Will be back this afternoon with the report card.