I never really felt good about this Jets game. Perhaps it was the 4 o'clock start, knowing that when the game was over my Thanksgiving break was also over. Perhaps it was the Jets futility against the Broncos in recent years...or at least the fact that Denver gives them problems, even the games the Jets win. Perhaps it's the fact that every remaining game on the Jets schedule makes me feel this way...no exceptions.
But I'll tell you one thing - I will not feel the same way if the Jets end up playing the Broncos again this year.
The Broncos are going to win the AFC West. No question about that. And their win over the Jets on Sunday might have cost the Jets a first-round bye. But the Jets are still in a position where they control their destiny, and they are still in position to win the AFC East. So it's a long shot that these two teams would meet in anything but the AFC Championship game (the Broncos would most likely get the number one seed if they advance to the second round) - but give me the Jets in that matchup.
For some reason, the Jets from the first quarter of the season showed up to play this game. Not sure what exactly caused that. My bet is it was because they were playing from behind. That just hasn't been happening lately, and that's why the Jets had won five in a row.
But it wasn't just the turnovers, or the trouble in the passing game - the Jets were still able to keep it close considering all that. It was the defense.
This was not the same defense that shut down the Tennessee running game last week. This was the defense that gives receivers way too much room to catch throws and lets a running back cut through them. This was the defense that let Cincinnati and Kansas City play close games against them, and the defense that couldn't beat Oakland.
And it can't continue.
You can tell me that had Jerricho Cotchery held onto that reverse and gone all the way (he had a wide open field in front of him, but fumbled, and that was returned for a touchdown) the game would have played out very differently, and I'll believe you. That's why I say I take the Jets in a rematch. But the fact is, the Jets fell behind and couldn't come back. That's what they kept doing early in the season. And it's not a recipe for success the rest of 2008.