Carolina on My Mind: New York Jets Defeat Carolina Panthers in a Stinker

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Carolina on My Mind: New York Jets Defeat Carolina Panthers in a Stinker

Whenever the New York Jets visit the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, one thing is for certain: games get ugly.  Really ugly.

In 2001, the Jets visited Carolina and escaped with an ugly 13-12 victory that inspired Jets vice president of operations to put up a Shrek poster at the team's practice facility. 

In 2005, the Jets traveled to Carolina and had one of their worst performances in history, committing six turnovers in a terrible 30-3 loss.

Saturday night's preseason contest continued the "storied" Carolina-based history between the two teams as the Jets defeated the Panthers by a final score of 9-3. 

9-3 with no touchdowns.  That hasn't happened to the Jets during a preseason game since a 9-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the 1995 preseason.

Yawn. 

As good as quarterback Mark Sanchez looked in last week's preseason opener, the second-year QB looked equally as awful in this week's performance.  Sanchez led the first-unit offense on four series but seemed to be completely out of sorts, completing only 5 of 10 pass attempts for 12 yards, no touchdowns, and an abysmal 56.2 percent passer rating.  On a positive note, Sanchez didn't throw any interceptions.

In a statement that would make Captain Obvious proud, Sanchez explained, "It just wasn't a smooth night."  He also added, "It wasn't our best night but nothing alarming.   We'll come back and do well Friday night."

As badly as Sanchez performed, backup quarterbacks Mark Brunell and Kellen Clemens were quite possibly even worse.  Brunell "led" the Jets to four "three-and-out" series and Clemens' unit managed only one field goal in four drives.

Yawn.

In their second game without All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, the Jets defense finally remembered what it was like to force turnovers.  Safety Jim Leonhard had a great game, including a first quarter interception and a nice sack of quarterback Matt Moore for a nine-yard loss. 

Drew Coleman added a late interception and Jamaal Westerman had a sack.  Even defensive end Vernon Gholston got in on the action, making a tackle for a 1-yard loss.

Leonhard also contributed a 10-yard punt return on special teams, which again had a very successful evening.  Kicker Nick Folk looked strong on kickoffs and was successful on all three of his field goal attempts, two of which were from 43-plus yards.  Additionally, punter Steve Weatherford booted a couple of punts that resulted in fumbles, both of which were recovered by the Jets.

Despite forcing five total turnovers, the Jets squandered their opportunities, leaving head coach Rex Ryan to explain, "We have to do better than that.  We got three turnovers down there in the red zone.  We have to move the ball better.  That was disappointing."

The Jets hope to leave their coach and fans less disappointed when they play host to the Washington Redskins next Friday night.

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