New York Jets Drop the Ball, Must Fix Offensive Woes Fast

Louis MustoContributor IIIDecember 13, 2010

Santonio Holmes' dropped touchdown pass symbolized everything wrong with the Jets' offense.
Santonio Holmes' dropped touchdown pass symbolized everything wrong with the Jets' offense.

The New York Jets' offense was never a hidden weapon. Everyone knew what they were about when the 2010 campaign began. Still, the Jets kicked off the 2010 season looking like the team to beat— just as many had predicted during the offseason.

Following a sputtering start with a 10-9 loss to the Baltimore Ravens (8-4), the New York Jets faced off in an early season battle for the AFC East with the New England Patriots (11-2). The defense led an onslaught against All-Pro quarterback Tom Brady, intercepting him twice. Mark Sanchez played his solid, guiding the offensive to 28 points and putting together one of the best games of his young career.

The Jets ran off four more wins in the following weeks, relying heavily on the ground attack to lay out each opponent set in front of them. The last of those wins was a 24-20 victory over the struggling Denver Broncos (3-10) just before their bye week.

It was the first game since their Week One loss where the Jets offense looked vulnerable. Mark Sanchez was far from stellar as he threw two interceptions, and the run game failed to take off until the fourth quarter. In fact, had it not been for a foolish pass interference play by Broncos defensive back Renaldo Hill on fourth-and-six while covering receiver Santonio Holmes, the Jets would've likely gone home empty-handed with the offense much to blame.

The offensive struggles continued thereafter, returning the week after the bye with a scoreless loss to the Green Bay Packers (8-5). Sanchez struggled again, going 16-of-48 passing with two interceptions.

The Jets rambled off four straight wins following that loss, but much like earlier in the season, they had the benefit of a rather easy schedule. The Jets struggled against the lowly Detroit Lions (3-10) and Cleveland Browns (5-8), stealing away victories in overtime. The offensive was less than impressive two weeks later against the Cincinnati Bengals (2-11), one of the league's worst defenses, before finally crash landing in Foxboro.

It was there that the Jets' offensive woes have truly come to light. After two straight shellackings at the hands of the Patriots and the Miami Dolphins, the Jets have now kicked into panic mode whether they'll admit it or not. They sit at 9-4 having not scored a touchdown since Thanksgiving and prepare for two of the toughest game on their schedule with two of the league's most dangerous defenses.

The Pittsburgh Steelers (10-3) and Chicago Bears (9-4) are iconic for their play at home and will look to thrash an already struggling Jets offense until there's no hope left in sight. The Jets will need their defense to step up and match the Steelers and Bears punch-for-punch or learn how to score some touchdowns, a feat few teams have been able to accomplish against either of these opponents.

If the Jets can't pull a victory out against either of these teams, their final game at home against the Buffalo Bills (3-10) will be a must-win as the Bills will be looking to play spoiler in the final week of the season. The Bills have struggled terribly all season long on both sides of the ball. This hands the advantage to the Jets, but even if the Jets manage to squeak into the playoffs, their offensive woes are certain to come back and hurt them in the end. If that happens, Jets' offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer better start looking for a new job.