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2012 NFL Grades, Week 8: Jets fail again, and it might be Tebow Time

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

It's time, Rex Ryan. I don't want to admit. You don't want to admit. And America doesn't need this. But with the Jets laying another stinker on Sunday against the Dolphins at home, and losing 30-9 despite the Fins being forced to play Matt Moore, it's, sigh, time to play Tim Tebow.

The Jets are headed into the bye week at 3-5 now, they're in the basement of the AFC East and their offense is getting booed as they come on the field by whatever fans were nice enough to actually stick around and watch their team stink up the joint Sunday.

Rex will likely be fairly soundbite-free for the next few days because of Sandy's presence on the East Coast. And that should give him enough time to think over where his team stands (the basement), what it's capable of doing on offense (nothing) and just make the call to go with Tebow.

It'll ruin our lives for a while because of media coverage, it will be ugly football and it might not even result in the Jets winning. But they traded for Tebow because they thought he could make a difference. At 3-5 and staring down a lost season if New York can't salvage something on the road at Seattle and St. Louis before welcoming the Patriots in Week 12, Rex Ryan should be desperate.

Desperation is a stinky cologne, and there's no better deodorant for it than rolling Tebow out under center and seeing what kind of miracles he can whip up. There's a major concern that Tony Sparano won't be able to manufacture an offense the way Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy did in 2011, but there's too much upside to not take the plunge at this point in the season.

Whatever, it's pretty obvious that the Jets need a shot in the arm. Tebow is that shot. It is time. Make it happen.

TeamGradeAnalysis
Buccaneers 36, Vikings 17
B+An absolute breakout game for Doug Martin on Thursday night, as the first-round pick posted over 200 total yards and a pair of touchdowns. Josh Freeman isn't all the way back or anything, but he's certainly much closer to the 2010 version than he is the 2011 version of himself.
DVikings are suddenly getting shredded by running backs after Doug Martin and Larod Stephens-Howling gashed them the last two weeks. Christian Ponder either can't throw deep or the Vikings won't let him, and as good as Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin are (and they are very good), they need some help if the Vikings want to win. Minnesota didn't give them any Thursday night in this embarrassing prime-time loss at home.
Titans vs. Colts
BThrilling ending to the Colts game as Vick Ballard's swan song resulted in a 16-yard, walk-off touchdown catch from Andrew Luck. Ballard's dive obscured Donald Brown returning to rush 14 times for 80 yards while looking spry in overtime. Reggie Wayne had another nice game and the defense performed reasonably well. Don't look now, but the Colts are in the playoffs if the season ended today.
CThis was a better effort from the Titans defense than we've seen lately, and Chris Johnson had another good game, going for 99 yards on 21 carries. Kendall Wright had a beautiful toe-tapper of a touchdown catch, but the offense stagnated in the second half and only scored three points.
Jets vs. Dolphins
AStellar effort from the Dolphins defense, who limited the Jets to zero points in the first half (or, at the very least "good" effort, if you want to account for quality of opponent). Olivier Vernon looks like a steal in the draft and Daniel Thomas returned and ran well. Matt Moore was fantastic off the bench after Ryan Tannehill left with the Fins up just 3-0.
FThe Jets got beat down by a backup quarterback in a nasty weather game at home 30-9. They were shut out by the Dolphins in the first half of this game. Mark Sanchez attempted 54 passes and their leading receiver was Clyde Gates. Tim Tebow whiffed a punt block but like I said above, just go and admit he needs to start.
Rams vs. Patriots
AThe Patriots showed London what a great NFL team looks like: Rob Gronkowski was a monster and Tom Brady appeared to have his killer instinct in action. Stevan Ridley had another 100-yard game and a score (on just 15 carries). Aside from an early 50-yard touchdown pass to Chris Givens, the Patriots defense absolutely dominated St. Louis offense.
D-Sam Bradford hit Chris Givens for a 50-yard touchdown on the Rams first drive and they didn't score after that. Bradford and Kellen Clemens both threw picks, neither Steven Jackson nor Daryl Richardson could get going, and we were reminded that it doesn't matter how good your cornerbacks are if you can't cover a guy like Rob Gronkowski against the Patriots.
Browns vs. Chargers
FComing off their bye, Norv Turner's Chargers took the trip to Cleveland and lost 7-6. The Browns had given up two touchdowns in every game so far this year. San Diego did not get one. Philip Rivers looked awful, Ryan Mathews fumblitis returned and the defense was gashed by Trent Richardson. Hard to imagine there not being some consequences for this loss.
B-This wasn't the prettiest win for Cleveland, but the Browns got their second victory of the season by riding rookie Trent Richardson, who rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown. Ronnie Brown was the Chargers leading receiver today, which tells you a lot about what Cleveland did to the Chargers passing game.
Bears vs. Panthers
C+How did Carolina lose this game? Actually, it lost when Cam Newton threw a pick six (not his fault necessarily) and the Panthers couldn't stop Jay Cutler from driving the ball inside of Robbie Gould's range. Once again the Panthers couldn't run the ball, made some bad mistakes on offense and wasted another strong effort from their defense.
B-Chicago's 6-1, but can't feel as good this week as they did last: Jay Cutler had a pick and two fumbles, and Chicago couldn't move the ball against a Panthers defense that is very movable. The defense did a great job of stopping the Panthers in the red zone and scored once again, which makes things much easier on the offense.
Eagles vs. Falcons
AMatt Ryan boosted his MVP stock again, throwing for 262 yards and three touchdowns against the high-priced Eagles secondary. Jacquizz Rodgers looks like he could be starting to warm up and Julio Jones was stupendous. Atlanta's defense put the clamps down on Mike Vick and handed Andy Reid his first-ever loss following a bye.
DAre we really headed for the Nick Foles era? It's not like Andy Reid's squad to be so unprepared out of the bye. It's also possible the Eagles might wish they had a mulligan on the Nnadmi Asomugha signing, as he got crisped by Jones.
Packers vs. Jaguars
C+Blaine Gabbert looked pretty darn good against Green Bay, which is especially impressive considering he was playing with a torn labrum on his non-throwing shoulder. We also got a Justin Blackmon sighting, but he was more noticeable for bad route running. Rashad Jennings is not Maurice Jones-Drew. The Jags managed to cover, so, moral victory?
C-This wasn't the Packers team that throttled the Texans or beat the Rams, but Green Bay did enough to get a victory. Alex Green's been unimpressive in the running game, but James Jones and Randall Cobb stepped up with Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson out. Their bye in Week 10 (after home game against the Cardinals) is coming at the right time for this team.
Lions vs. Seahawks
C+Excellent effort from Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson had a very good game as well. Surprisingly, this loss is on the defense -- they picked Matt Stafford once and sacked him twice, but they also gave up three passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown to the Lions quarterback. Thrilling end to the game, but Seattle wasted a good offensive effort on the road.
B-So it turns out Matthew Stafford's not simply a cadaver after all! The Lions quarterback finally looked like the guy who threw for 5,000 yards in 2011 and Titus Young came alive with nine catches, 100 yards and two touchdowns. Calvin Johnson had some bad drops but the Lions survived. Giving up 24 points to the Seahawks on the road is not a good sign for their defense however.
Steelers vs. Redskins
DPittsburgh is a tough place to play, but the Redskins simply didn't show up for this one. The offense was stagnant and overwhelmed by the Steelers. But the defense was the real problem: Washington let Ben Roethlisberger throw all over them, DeAngelo Hall got ejected and looked like a punk, and Washington got run on by a third-string back.
B+Dick LeBeau continued to dominate rookie quarterbacks on Sunday, as the Steelers defense absolutely shut down Robert Griffin III, who had just 177 passing yards and eight rushing yards. Alfred Morris didn't do much damage and this game was never in doubt. Ben Roethlisberger was fantastic on fourth down near the goal line and Jonathan Dwyer deserves credit for stepping in and running really well.
Chiefs vs. Raiders
B-Darren McFadden struggled for much of the day but had some nice runs to ice this game out, Carson Palmer had a pair of nice touchdowns and the defense knocked Brady Quinn out and then proceeded to hassle Matt Cassel all day long as the Raiders cruised to a victory.
FThe Chiefs are a raging dumpster fire and you cannot put them out. Matt Cassel or Brady Quinn are irrelevant when Jamaal Charles only gets five carries for the entire game. The defense did a terrible job of covering both Denarius Moore and Darius Heyward-Bey
Cowboys vs. Giants
B-New York came out scorching and looked like they'd roll the Cowboys, but Dallas rolled back when the Giants went on cruise control. The secondary picked off Tony Romo four times but were getting carved up by Romo in the second half, particularly late.
C+What a rollercoaster of a game -- Dez Bryant was two inches from flipping the script but his hand hit out of bounds and the Cowboys lost. There were still problems here, specifically with a horrid first quarter and the late-game playcalling, but Dallas did a pretty great job of storming back from a 23-0 deficit to nearly pull off a stunner. Monster 18-catch, 167-yard effort from Jason Witten.
Broncos vs. Saints
D+This was supposed to be a shootout, but the Saints got run out of the gym. Drew Brees went just 22 of 42 and looked out of rhythm much of the night in Denver. New Orleans attempted all of 14 rushes and never looked in rhythm. Their defense is absolutely awful and the decision to punt on fourth-and-shorts and then kick an onsides by Joe Vitt was just weird.
B+Peyton Manning suffered a scare when he banged his hand before halftime but, uh, he's fine: Manning threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns with just eight incompletions. Willis McGahee rumbled for 122 rushing yards and Ronnie Hillman tacked on another 86. The real revelation was the defense, which shut down a powerful Saints offense. The Broncos are legit Super Bowl contenders and only playing a bad defense kept the grade down.
Cardinals vs. 49ers
A+Alex Smith was nearly perfect, the 49ers defense nearly pitched a shutout on the road on prime time (and allowed only seven rushing yards) and the real reason they got the plus was Jim Harbaugh dropping one of the all-time great post-game quotes when he threw out "Jive Turkey Gobblers" when asked about his quarterback's confidence.
FF is for "freefall" kids, and that's what the Cardinals are in the middle of. They're 0-4 after a perfect start to the season, they have no offensive line, they gave up on their running game and Monday night's home game on prime time was a straight-up blowout.
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