NY Jets: The ball drops on their NFL Playoff hopes
The dream of the NY Jets and their first NFL Playoff berth since 2010 has officially come to an end following their season-ending 22-17 loss to the Buffalo Bills.
As the ball dropped in Gotham on New Years Eve, 2015 was officially over and unfortunately, so was the Jets season. 2015 started out as a promising season for Gang Green, Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Jets started the first quarter of the season off with an impressive 4-1 record. As the second half unveiled, they lost four of their next five games recording a disappointing 5-5 record.
With the door starting to close in on the Jets’ playoff hopes, they quickly turned their season around winning five straight games and ultimately controlling their own destiny. With the Pittsburgh Steelers failing to beat the Baltimore Ravens in Week 16, the Jets found themselves in a situation they’re not familiar with, just win and you’re in.
Week 17 comes, Jets against Rex Ryan round two. With the Steelers facing a run down Cleveland Browns football team, the Jets could not rely on a Pittsburgh loss, they must win their sixth game in a row.
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This team that showed up to Ralph Wilson Stadium Sunday afternoon was not the Todd Bowles‘ Jets we’ve come to love this season, instead, the Rex Ryan version of the Jets arrived in Orchard Park.
From the start of the game, the Jets committed major penalties that changed the momentum of the game. The Jets never had a lead during their Week 17 matchup, they burned key timeouts and the biggest thing was they made the chronically unstable Buffalo Bills look like a civil and disciplined football team.
The Jets’ stout defense must have missed their bus to Upstate, New York as one of the top defenses in the NFL when it came to stopping opposing offenses on third down conversions allowed nine of them and two fourth down conversions. The Jets also had an incredibly weak pass rush defense Sunday afternoon, let’s not forget Muhammad Wilkerson left the game with a broken leg injury which was later revealed need off-season surgery to repair.
Fitzpatrick showed a glimpse of hope when trying to salvage the season of the Jets, but ultimately lost his magic in the second half. Fitzpatrick committed a trio of interceptions in the fourth quarter sealing the end of the season for Gang Green. The Steelers went on to beat the Browns as expected and have claimed the final wild card slot in the NFL playoffs.
Words cannot express how I feel about this teams performance Sunday afternoon, never the less, what’s done is done. The Jets will not be in this year’s playoffs, however, that doesn’t mean the season overall was a bust. Yes, we fell short and we’re out, but the season overall in my opinion was a success.
Jan 3, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) throws a pass during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Jets 22 to 17. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Fitzpatrick set the franchise record for touchdowns thrown in a single season, Brandon Marshall set an NFL record for being the first player to record a 1,000 yard receiving season for four different teams, Chris Ivory had his first 1,000 yard rushing season of his young career. The Jets’ offensive line was one of the better lines in the NFL and the biggest of them all has to be winning double-digit games following a 4-12 season. The Jets are greatly improving on both ends of the football and are becoming a very dangerous football team.
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However, what will the 2016 Jets look like? Players such as Fitzpatrick, Ivory, Demario Davis, Damon Harrison and Wilkerson’s contracts are all up. Also, what do you do with players such as Geno Smith, Jeremy Kerley and Antonio Cromartie? Who will be the teams main targets be entering the 2016 NFL Draft?
Unfortunately, the Jets will have plenty of time to address these topics as they will be watching the NFL playoffs from their homes. Regardless, they dropped the ball on their playoff hopes and are now back to square one heading into the off-season.