I'm Voluntarily A Jets Fan Vol. 6 by @klew24
A season with a new coach, a new QB, an unexpected fast start, a rocky middle and a depressing ending came to a disappointing end for the New York Jets in Buffalo as they lost 22-17 in their season finale. The Jets blew a chance to qualify for the postseason as their loss and a Steelers win sealed their fate.
Before I review the season that ended up being mostly completely fruitless and a waste of time, I’ll discuss the week 17 disaster.
First of all, Todd Bowles coached like he was absolutely petrified. I’ll touch on that more in a moment but the Jets defense was the absolute softest it has been all year. The Jets also came out like the extremely tight. The Jets were collectively the baseball player who’s gripping the bat too tightly in a pressure situation. It’s rather surprising given what they looked like the last five weeks in what essentially were playoff games too, but the Jets do weird shit and there is rarely ever any rhyme or reason to it. Only thing is the end result is usually the same.
Going into proceedings the Bills were a 7-8 team with 10 starters out and very little to play for except being petty with regards to knocking a division rival out, and the Jets still came out as tight as can be. The playcalling was ridiculously conservative in the first quarter and for some reason Stevan Ridley was the feature back. Chris ivory, 1,000 yard rusher and clearly best RB on the team, promptly broke off a 55 yard run on his first carry (in the SECOND quarter) and only received five more carries for the rest of the game. Ivory averaged 13.5 YPC for the game and the Bills looked like they wanted no parts of tackling him. Todd Bowles, when asked about the peculiar decision, claimed it was a function of gameplan. What game plan/strategy calls for more of Stevan Ridley and less of Chris Ivory?
That was the single worst game I’ve ever seen Darrelle Revis play and that defensive “gameplan” that was in place didn’t help his cause. Revis gave Watkins entirely too much respect and they refused to double cover him despite him being the ONLY legitimate receiving threat for Buffalo. It seemed the Jets were content giving up 8-10 yards a pop as long as they didn’t get beat over the top. That makes the not doubling Watkins decision even more baffling. Revis was pretty dreadful though, with or without ridiculous coaching.
Ryan Fitzpatrick was what he’s been often in a big spot in his career. He was bad. The messed up part is that as bad as he was he really wasn’t HURTING the team per se until he decided to have his worst quarter of the season in the fourth. He threw three interceptions including a brutal one with the team in the redzone and driving with the score 19-17. Eric Decker was a full yard and change behind the DB when Fitzpatrick wound up throwing it anyway. Leodis McKelvin said during the week, “Fitz will be Fitz. He will give you opportunities. You just have to be ready.” And like clockwork, Fitzpatrick hit three different Bills defenders in the chest in the fourth quarter. McKelvin caught the killer as he ended the last promising drive the Jets had in the football game.
You know the expression,” When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” Ryan Fitzpatrick is who he is. In bad surroundings, he’s going to look bad. In regular surroundings, he’s going to be regular. In good surroundings, he’s going to be regular. In spectacular surroundings, he’s going to be regular. He’s the walking embodiment of “Just another Guy”. And he’s good for many bad decisions, staring down targets and his stark refusal to slide. He’s a good guy and I understand why his teammates get behind him. He has energy and an infectious personality that is easy to get behind and root for, but if he is your clear cut starting QB you are going absolutely nowhere.
With a ridiculously easy schedule, two super talented big body wide receivers, a good back and a good defense he STILL couldn’t lead his team to the playoffs. And with all that he was still middle of the pack in most statistical categories. The guy just isn’t the answer. Bless his heart and bless the hearts of his loyal cultists but he is who he is. He isn’t good enough.
Fourth Q against Buffalo... Biggest quarter of the biggest game of his life
Jets points: 0
Ryan Fitzpatrick passes to the other team: 3
That tells the story better than anything I could say.
It’s hard not to feel this season was a waste for many reasons. They won ten games then decided on the last week of the season to absolutely crap the bed when all they had to do was win to get into the postseason. At the same time, there were plenty of positives about this season and going forward. Unfortunately, the Jets still don’t have a reliable QB but between a fantastic OC and two legitimately great wide receivers they can somewhat mask Fitzpatrick and his weaknesses. Brandon Marshall had the single greatest season for a Jets WR ever, and Eric Decker caught 80 balls and 12 touchdowns. The defensive line continued to be its usual standout self. David Harris had a renaissance of sorts and Harris/Erin Henderson established themselves as a pretty good ILB combo. Lorenzo Mauldin got some valuable experience and should get a lot of more snaps at OLB next season. The Jets should have about 30 million in cap space and another draft/offseason.
The end of the season sucked and I H-A-T-E the talk about moral victories and such but not all is bad in Jets land. They have a decent talent base at the moment and while they need to get a bit younger, they should be able to compete for next few years. I really hope the Jets spot a QB prospect they like in the first two rounds that they think can start in a year or two.
While I’m angry and the Jets ultimately failed themselves and the fan base by losing their playoff shot in their final game, they still made some progress. All we can hope is that, unlike other regimes, it continues.