NY Jets: No more moral victories


The NY Jets might have played some high-quality football this past week, but at the end of the day, moral victories don’t count for much in an NFL season.

For 3+ quarters, the defense of the NY Jets did a solid job of controlling the offensive juggernaut that are the New England Patriots. Through 6 games, the Patriots have scored 213 points, which is the most points scored through six games in franchise history – and yes, that includes 2007. The Jets came in with the top scoring defense. The difference is, one is battle-tested, and the other isn’t.

This isn’t an indictment of the Jets. All things considered, fans should not be discouraged. Losing by a touchdown to the best team in the league in their house in a rivalry game isn’t the worst thing that could have happened. However, we’re not in the business of moral victories anymore. Not when we’ve been out of the playoffs for 4 years. “Moral victories” are not included in the NFL tiebreaker procedures.

There was a championship-style of handling business coming from the Jets camp this past week. The only notable piece of bluster to come out of the week leading up to this game was a deleted Twitter post made by the Patriots featuring butt fumble and in honor of Throwback Thursday. Meanwhile, Jets’ coach Todd Bowles made a point to say in a press conference transcript sent to us from the Media Relations Department and I quote:

“It’s still one game at a time. Winning this game is not going to make us, losing this game is not going to break us.”

Oct 25, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles on the side line during the first quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Somehow, some way, the Jets seem to always keep these rivalry games close enough to give you optimism, just to crush you in the end. Like Bowles said, this game certainly will not break them, but you can’t help to always wonder what could’ve been. The Jets had a chance to extend their one point lead to 8 when Brandon Marshall was thrown a well-placed ball that he inexplicably let slip through his hands. It was one of those plays that you knew would come back to bite the Jets. The whole landscape of the game could’ve changed with that play.

Our good friend Tom Brady has made it clear that he doesn’t plan to stop playing anytime soon, as he recently said that he could play for another 10 years. With targets like Rob Gronkowski, who can drag cornerbacks on his back while barreling into the endzone, the Jets may be far from done with Tom and company. They have now lost 9 of the past 10 regular season matchups in this rivalry, which is a somewhat surprising stat given the fanfare that revolves around these close games. The Jets haven’t won in Foxboro in the regular season since the old gunslinger – a.k.a Brett Favre – was their quarterback.

This “rivalry” is much more similar to the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry prior to 2004. In those days, the Yankees seemed to just have a mental advantage over the Red Sox. Us Yankee fans refer to that as “mystique and aura” in the grands scheme of things. I think the same could be attributed to the Patriots, despite their off-field transgressions.

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The Jets’ stout defense seemingly crumbled on a few plays down the stretch – a sign of the mental advantage that the Patriots have. Of course, the Patriots are extremely talented, and having a mental advantage is attributable to the personnel that they have. It’s not the team.

It’s the players and coaching staff. I was proud of the way the Jets handled themselves before, during and after this game. Meanwhile, Rex’s gang had yet another letdown against a Jaguars team that has looked hapless.

It’s not a matter of if, but when the Jets will get over the hump. For now, the Jets need to move on, because next Sunday is no easy task going into Oakland. If Todd Bowles is right about saying the Patriots game won’t break them, then they have to come out with a fire next week and show that they are for real. If they want this loss to not count as a “moral victory,” then they will come out and respond in the next few weeks looking to make up for the loss that they just suffered.

December 27th is fast approaching, and I for one can’t wait for the rematch.

Next: On to Oakland

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