PHILADELPHIA, PA– The Jets never stood a chance today as Santonio Holmes’ two big mistakes early in the game dug too big of a hole for the Jets to pull themselves out of. There is plenty of blame to go around for how the team played the rest of the game, but make no mistake Holmes has to shoulder the blame for this loss. The two costly mistakes put the Jets in an impossible position that they weren’t able to wiggle their way out of, even if it looked like they might have had a chance when the game went to halftime.
After the Jets stopped the Eagles on their first drive and Shonn Greene rallied off four straight runs for 33 yards, Mark Sanchez hit Holmes for a seven yard gain, but Kurt Coleman knocked the ball loose before Holmes feel to the ground and the ball skipped directly to Juqua Parker who easily coasted 47 yards for a touchdown and an early 7-0 lead for the Eagles, but remember that’s just crucial mistake number one. After the Jets were forced to punt on their next possession they caught a break when the punt bounced off an Eagle player and was recovered by Ellis Lankster (really the lone bright spot for the Jets today as he had two fumble recoveries in the game), but then came mistake number two for Holmes. Sanchez delivered a strike right on Holmes’ hands and the ball bounced in the air and landed in Asante Samuels paws which lead directly to a long touchdown drive to put the Eagles up 14-0 and all but ended the game.
“I was just trying to play fast. It was a great pass.” Holmes said of the deflected pass.
From there the unraveling continued. False start penalties, the offensive line (specifically Wayne Hunter) got completely abused by the Eagles and the offense never seemed sure of what type of rhythm they were trying for, let alone approaching anywhere near actually establishing a rhythm. The Eagles did their best to keep the Jets in the game by seeing the Jets three first half turnovers and raising them one, after jumping out to an 28-0 lead with 6:27 left in the first half the Eagles allowed the Jets to knock off 13 straight points to cut the Eagles lead to 15 at the half, but by the start of the second half it was clear the Eagles defensive line and the elusiveness of LeSean McCoy and Michael Vick was too much for the Jets to handle after handing them a 14-0 lead.
McCoy finished with 102 yards on 18 carries (5.7 yards per carry) and three touchdowns, Vick finished 15-22 for 274 yards one touchdown and one pick (and a rushing touchdown as well), while Sanchez finished with a disappointing stat line of 15-26 for 150 yards, two touchdowns and two picks, but as bad as he looked at times it’s hard to pin much of the blame on Sanchez. Between the hole his receiver dug him and the way the Eagles treated the Jets offensive line like it wasn’t even there (Jason Babin had three sacks and three QB hits) Sanchez never really had a chance.
All season long there has been one consistent difference between the games the Jets win and the games the Jets lose and that’s the play of the offensive line, today it was disturbingly bad and naturally the Jets got their rear ends handed to them. This game will ultimately be the tipping point we can all look back on when the Jets inevitably select the best right tackle available with their first draft pick this spring. The secondary getting embarrassed by yet another tight end (Brent Celek had five catches for 156 yards and a touchdown) makes it fairly obvious that safety and outside linebacker are the next two most important areas of need for this team heading into the offseason.
But as ugly and gross as this game was, somehow, someway all is not lost. The Titans gave the Colts their first win of the season and the Raiders blew a late lead to the Lions to keep both of those teams a game behind the Jets and while the Bengals defeated the Rams to bring them to the same record as the Jets, the Jets actually hold the tiebreaker over the Bengals because they have a better win percentage against common opponents.
So for all the misery that fell upon the Jets today, they still hold their destiny in their own hands. Beat the Giants and the Dolphins these next two weeks and they will find themselves right back in the playoffs for the third season in a row, lose one or both of these games and just know it will be an ugly and cold offseason.
With the Giants getting blown out by the Redskins it sets the stage for two New York teams battling not only for the City, but for their playoff lives as well. Neither team played deserving of even talking about the playoffs today, but the NFL is a week to week league and next week has to turn out better for one of these New York teams.
The Jets just have to hope it’s them, or we can all start lining up our draft boards now.
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