Inability to close games has been the Achilles’ Heel of 2017
By Michael Henken
The New York Jets have performed better than many had expected them to throughout 2017 thus far, but the team’s inconsistency and inability to close games has certainly held them back.
The New York Jets are currently 3-4 and in fourth place in the AFC East. Against teams in their division, Gang Green is just 1-3, but the record doesn’t exactly explain the narrative well.
In the first game of the 2017 season, the Jets dropped a relatively one-sided 21-12 defeat to the Buffalo Bills. That loss was warranted, as the Jets were simply outperformed.
Their other two divisional losses, however, which came against the New England Patriots in Week 6 and the Miami Dolphins in Week 7, could have been avoided.
Against the Patriots, the Jets jumped out to an early 14-0 lead. The team seemed to be firing on all cylinders, as the offense was executing, and the defense was maintaining Tom Brady and the Patriot offense. As the game went on, however, the Jets began to fall apart.
The Patriots put seven points on the board early in the second quarter. Then, Josh McCown was intercepted with just 35 seconds remaining in the first half, which led to another Patriot touchdown.
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In the second half, the Patriots continued to put the pressure on the Jets, as they wound up adding 10 more points.
The Jets battled back, and many will likely argue that a controversial call made by the referees that reversed a Jet touchdown was the difference maker, but the reality of the situation is this: after a strong start, the Jets weren’t able to remain consistent for the entirety of the game, which is why they ended up losing.
Similarly, the Jets were performing well against the Dolphins, who they beat handily in Week 2, last weekend. Heading into the fourth quarter, the Jets led the Dolphins 28-14. McCown and the offense were playing strong, and the defense was holding up relatively well. In the final quarter, however, the team suddenly fell apart.
McCown, once again, threw a brutal interception after performing well throughout the game, which gave the Dolphins the opportunity to kick a game-winning field goal with less than 30 seconds on the clock. The Jets ended up losing 31-28.
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To succeed at the highest level, consistency is vital. Had the Jets been able to play a complete game against both New England and Miami, they could currently stand at 5-2 overall, 3-1 in the division, and in a much better standing than they are.
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Moving forward, Gang Green will certainly have to address this consistency issue. If not, the inability to close games will continue to be the team’s Achilles’ heel.