|At some point during a disastrous second quarter, Mark Sanchez must have wanted to dig a hole. (US Presswire)|
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- There are many plays that exemplify the pure folly and utter putridity that is the New York Jets' season, but none better than the unforgettable, unforgiveable, and utterly laughable moment that happened in the second quarter during New England's 30-point blowout of New York.
The play happened quickly but the utter astonishment of it burned the retinas. Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork is listed at 325 pounds, but that's conservative, since Wilfork is a planetoid. He blasted the Jets' offensive line on one particular burst of viciousness, forcing Jets guard Brandon Moore backward, just as the Jets were running a busted play.
The busted play forced quarterback Mark Sanchez to scramble. Then, Sanchez ran into the continent-sized rear end of Moore, head first.
It was such a collision of man and behind, Sanchez went crashing to the ground, and the ball popped loose. It went directly into the paws of Patriots safety Steve Gregory for the touchdown. A game that was scoreless after one quarter would quickly get out of hand. Every touchdown an indicator of the Jets' haplessness, every Patriots moment causing the crowd to chant for Tim Tebow even louder.
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The Sanchez play will go down in infamy on a team and organization used to being infamous, if not notorious. The final score was a laughable 49-19, Patriots. The 49 points given up to the Patriots (because of five turnovers) are the most New York has yielded since Miami scored 52 in the 1995 season opener.
The game was so bad that super-fan Ed Anzalone, known as Fireman Ed, left the game at halftime and deleted his Fireman Ed Twitter account. That about says it all. That's the football equivalent of Walter Cronkite saying the Vietnam War is lost.
"I know our fans deserve a heck of a lot better than this," Rex Ryan said.
In the second quarter, the Patriots scored three touchdowns in a 52-second span: an 83-yard Tom Brady pass to running back Shane Vereen in which no Jets defender was close to Vereen; the Sanchez booty play; and a Joe McKnight fumble on the ensuing kickoff returned for a score.
It was like New England was playing Savannah State.
"That was crazy," Sanchez said. "I've never seen anything like that."
Even if the Jets wanted to bench Sanchez, they couldn't go to Tim Tebow. Tebow revealed he has two broken ribs (he hurt them against Seattle) but still wanted to play. The Jets weren't going to risk it. But it wouldn't have mattered if Tebow played unless one of Tebow's ribs could be turned into a new football team.
The Patriots started the season 3-3 but since then are 5-0. In those five games, they have scored 219 points. In the past four, New England has outscored their opponents 190-81. This is the familiar push we've seen these Patriots make many times before. The title of best team in the league seems to change week to week. The Patriots, if they're not the hottest team in football right now, are in the top two or three.
As for the Jets, we knew they were bad, but this was one of the most embarrassing regular-season losses suffered by any team this season or maybe in this young decade.
What was circulating late Thanksgiving night in league circles was that owner Woody Johnson was so distraught from the loss, he might make changes on the team before season's end.
If that doesn't happen, and the Jets continue to stink and finish with a sub-.500 record, this will be the one pointed to as the game that caused significant firings and personnel changes. The first person likely targeted could be the team's general manager, Mike Tannenbaum. While it is true Ryan's team was woefully unprepared against the Patriots, there is no question the Jets are among the least-talented teams in the NFL, and that is on the general manager.
Ryan promised fans they would see better play in the next game, but that's the problem with Ryan and why his act is wearing thin. He has guaranteed Super Bowls on multiple occasions and not come through. Now he's making promises no one believes he can keep.
Basically, no can buy into anything Ryan says any longer. He has lost all credibility.
"We're about as wounded as we can possibly be but we're not dead," Ryan said.
No, they're the walking dead.
There was another embarrassing moment for the Jets on a day, season and existence full of them. It came after the Jets kicked a 32-yard field goal to make it 35-3 right before halftime.
Following the kick, the Jets shot off fireworks.