200 Miles From the Citi

December 26, 2010 5:57 PM

Backing In


When you're in the midst of a playoff run, no one remembers how you got into the playoffs.

Yes, the Jets lost to the Bears on Sunday.  And by virtue of the Redskins' win over the Jaguars, the Jets got a playoff bid.  They backed their way into the post-season on Sunday.

But 10-win seasons in the NFL aren't anything to sneeze at.

And back-to-back playoff appearances for the Jets are still a novelty for me...

So the bottom line is, I'll take it.

The good takeaway from the Jets-Bears game is that the Jets shot themselves in the foot.  I say that's good because they were in absolute control of the game when they gave it away.

I know it sounds like I'm being a total homer, but if you saw the game you know it's true.  The Jets had the Bears on the ropes, leading 24-17 on the first possession of the second half.  On 4th and 3 at their own 40, the Jets pulled a fake punt, failed to convert, and the Bears capitalized on great field position, swung the momentum their way, and took back control of the game.

In the final five minutes of the game the Jets swung the momentum of the game their way again by punting deep, controlling field position, and letting their defense play the way they did in the second quarter.  The offense just couldn't finish - Jerricho Cotchery started dropping clutch passes again, and the Jets didn't make the great play calls they had been making earlier.

In between that first possession of the second half and the game's final minutes the Jets made mistakes.  They kicked the ball to Devin Hester, a strategy that did not work for them all game.  They made poor coaching decisions - from the fake punt to play calls.  The fake punt wasn't all that terrible an idea, I guess - but if you're going to pull that fake, why use Sanchez?  If he's in there, of course he's going to be passing on a fake.  How many real punts has Sanchez been on the field for this year?  You could see Devin Hester pointing it out right away on the replays.

Anyway, the Bears capitalized on the opportunities...but they were the opportunities the Jets handed them.

And it was for a short amount of time - albeit a very costly amount of time - that the Jets were outplayed.  In two weeks, the Jets won't be able to get away with periods like that...they'll need to play full games at their best...and they were at their best for a good chunk of Sunday's game.

And that's the point - in two weeks, the second half against the Bears won't matter.

It'll only matter that the Jets are in the playoffs.

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