I’m still trying to process the Jets’ loss yesterday.
Gary Myers in the Daily News points the blame at Rex Ryan, but I’m not willing to.
Going for the two-point conversion in third quarter was a questionable call. But Ryan was pretty clearly thinking that two points would put the Jets within three points of Miami, and until that quarter the game had been a defensive struggle. So I’m not going to kill him for that call.
Myers blames Ryan and special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff for kicking the ball to Ted Ginn Jr. after he had already broke one for a touchdown.
I mean, I guess. Myers points out that the Jets had never allowed two kickoff-return touchdowns in the same game in their history, as if that’s an indictment of Ryan. Doesn’t that speak to how rare a kick-return touchdown is, even from the legs of a returner as deft as Ginn?
Plus, just a few weeks ago Ryan was being praised for his swagger and bravado. I understand those things can become difficult to bear when a team starts struggling, but I also suspect that in football — unlike in baseball — they might actually help a team win.
Ryan and Westhoff had to show confidence in their kickoff coverage or risk undermining everything Ryan has said all season. Live by the sword, die by the sword.
Essentially, the Jets outplayed the Dolphins in nearly every aspect of the game and lost because of three freak plays: The kick returns and Jason Taylor’s 48-yard fumble recovery return.
Those were all indicative of poor play by the Jets: Jay Feely made a bad kick on the first return, the tackling broke down on the second, and Shonn Greene coughed the ball up for Taylor.
But none of them exposed any massive flaw in the Jets’ roster or gameplan. They were just three bad plays that happened to come in the same game.
So it strikes me that the loss might be the product of a whole lot of bad luck, more than a bad coach or a bad team.
The problem is — and again in contrast to baseball — the NFL’s 16-game schedule doesn’t allow a whole lot of wriggle room for misfortune.
So now Ryan and the Jets enter their bye week with an uphill battle on the horizon. To make the playoffs, they’ll now not only have to avoid similar bad luck against the Jaguars, Panthers, Bills and Bucs, but they’ll likely need to beat two of the Patriots, Falcons, Colts and Bengals.
The odds appear against them, for sure. But, for the first time in my life as a Jets fan, I have some confidence in Ryan’s confidence.