Jets vs. Titans: New York's Biggest Winners and Losers from Week 15
The New York Jets' playoff hopes are all but over, going out in spectacularly bad fashion.
Mark Sanchez's four interceptions and botched snap to end the game did the Jets in, even though the Tennessee Titans did everything they could to lose the game. Outside of Chris Johnson's 94-yard touchdown run, they did virtually nothing on offense.
Here are the Jets' winners and losers from Monday night.
Loser: Mark Sanchez
By all accounts, Mark Sanchez's status as the future starting quarterback with the Jets has all but ended.
All four of his picks were on him, and the botched fumble was all but a symbol of his tumultuous season. He doesn't have the best supporting cast, but no team can win when they turn the ball over as much as they do.
Correction: #Jets averaged one turnover every 7 dropbacks tonight with Mark Sanchez at QB.— Mike Vorkunov (@Mike_Vorkunov) December 18, 2012
Rex was reluctant to say who his quarterback will be next week, but it hardly matters. It is now clear to everyone in the organization that Sanchez is simply not the answer, and eating the $8 million due to him next year may be the only move they can make at this point.
Winner: Shonn Greene
The Jets only scored 10 points, but it wasn't because they could not run the ball. Greene was arguably the best offensive Jet on the field, averaging 5.2 yards per carry.
However, he inexplicably only had 13 carries, which makes less sense the more you look at Mark Sanchez's passing stats. Even late in the game, the Jets had plenty of time to stick with Greene, and it may have cost them the game.
Greene has really come on over the past few weeks, and he may have earned himself an extension, or at least a spot on some other team next year.
Loser: Tony Sparano
I am not usually one to rip apart offensive coordinators for losses, but it's tough to defend Tony Sparano here.
With Sanchez having another turnover-filled game, he refused to stick with the run despite the success they were having with Greene. Even late in the game, the Jets had plenty of time to remain balanced, but they put the game in the hands of Mark Sanchez.
And it cost them their season.
There was also the inexplicable use of Tim Tebow right in the middle of Sanchez's best drive of the game. When Sanchez returned, he threw an interception. Hardly a coincidence.
Jon Gruden said it best during the telecast: The Jets looked like they were trying way too hard on every passing attempt. Sparano could not get any easy throws for Sanchez, and it hurt his confidence.
Winner: Greg McElroy
Greg McElroy is a loser in that he was not active for the game (or he may have gotten some playing time), but he is back in the conversation for the starting job based on Rex Ryan's postgame comments:
Rex Ryan: "I'm not ready to say who is going to be our quarterback next game."— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) December 18, 2012
That, and the fact that he is absolved from blame from this offensive debacle.
Loser: Rex Ryan
In no way does Rex Ryan deserve to be fired for missing the playoffs with this roster, but he made a few crucial errors that left all of us scratching our heads.
Their use of Tim Tebow was beyond perplexing. They put him in right in the middle of Sanchez's best drive. They left him in on a 3rd-and-15, almost to just prove to the world that he was not a good passer.
When you have to sacrifice drives just to prove a point to the media, you're doing it wrong.
Rex did have a great defensive game plan, but there were too many head-scratching decisions that ultimately fall on the head coach.
Winner: Quinton Coples
Quinton Coples has been getting more and more playing time every week, and it has been well deserved. He had a sack, a tackle for a loss and helped run down Jake Locker to prevent a crucial first down.
In a game with a whole lot of ugly performances, Coples was one bright spot. He should get a lot more playing time with the season virtually over as it is.
Loser: Pass Protection
After a stellar game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in this area, the Titans' blitz got the best of the Jets, especially on delayed blitzes.
Some of the sacks were on Sanchez, but Sanchez took four sacks in crucial situations to kill promising drives.
Individual blocking was not the issue; communication with exotic blitzes made what is usually a bad pass defense in Tennessee look like the Jets pass defense.
Winner: Bart Scott
Bart Scott gets an unfair reputation for his on-field performance. He made a handful of plays on Monday night to blow up run plays and get interior pressure on Jake Locker.
There was a play where he made a tackle on a screen pass by knocking a Titans player five yards backward into the ball-carrier. The play kept the Titans out of field-goal range. He finished with four tackles, including one for a loss.
He certainly is not the ideal man to have in coverage, but he still throws his body around like a young rookie and is a force against the run.
Loser: Mike Tannenbaum
This may be the game that gets Mike Tannenbaum fired.
His offense was inept against a weak Titans defense, and they simply lacked the personnel to score more than 14 points.
Still, the biggest mistake that could ultimately cost him his job is the contract they gave Mark Sanchez in which they still owe him $8.4 million dollars next year.
Owners decide whether or not the GM stays or goes. Owners like to win, but they also pay the bills. More than anything else, owners really don't like to pay people not to play for them because of a mistake by their GM.
Sanchez was bad enough Monday night to consider eating such an extraordinary amount of money to move on from him. If Tannenbaum is gone after the season, the Sanchez contract will be the main reason why.
Winner: Mike DeVito
Mike DeVito is an underappreciated player who deserves a spot on this list both because of his on-field play and his off-field role as a leader and a true professional.
The Jets sent him up to the podium after a devastating loss, certainly not an easy thing to do, because they knew he would handle the situation with class.
Mike DeVito led the Jets with 8 tackles. This is a guy who should retire a Jet. Good player with great character.— Dan Leberfeld (@jetswhispers) December 18, 2012
Unfortunately, as Dan Leberfield alludes to, DeVito is a free agent after the season. The Jets just spent a first-round pick on a defensive end, and the Jets hardly have the cap space to spend more money on the defensive line.