GROUND & POUNDED: Giants slow Jets 26-3; Sanchez, Tebow struggle

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The second annual “Snooper Bowl” at MetLife Stadium turned out to be a real snoozer Saturday night. For the second straight game the Jets were unable to find the end zone or protect their quarterback(s) and, as a result, lost to the New York Giants 26-3 on Saturday, August 18th in front of a 79,088.

Jets head coach Rex Ryan said his vanilla-style offense will have “a few chocolate chips sprinkled in” this week against the Giants. That may have been his sweet tooth talking, however, as the offensive output left a rather sour taste in the mouths of Jets fans – spoiling Tim Tebow’s debut in front of the home crowd.

For many, the lingering thoughts of the Christmas Eve drumming at the hands of the Giants still loom large as the cross-town rivals squared off. The 29-14 thrashing, of course, marked as the nail in the coffin for the Jets mediocre 8-8 season – the first time they have missed the playoffs in the Ryan/Sanchez era.

“There weren’t too many [positives], but there were some,” Ryan said.

The starting offensive unit crossed the 50-yard line once on their only non three-and-out drive of the evening. The drive resulted in a touchdown – for the opposing New York Giants, after DB Jayron Hosley picked off a Mark Sanchez pass and returned it 77 yards for the score.

“I felt good the whole play, and when I threw the ball I thought it was really accurate. You miss on one play and that’s what can happen. I think it was a little behind [Patrick Turner],” Sanchez said.

Sanchez completed nine of eleven passes for 59 yards including the interception. The problem, however, was not the youth at wide receiver or ineffectiveness of Sanchez, but – yet again – it was the offensive line.

After being sacked a total of six times in two games, can you blame Mark Sanchez (above) for frowning? (JetsInsider.com Photo).

After giving up five sacks against Cincinnati last week, the starting unit gave up three sacks (all accredited to Wayne Hunter) on Sanchez, who was sacked another time (ala Hunter) only to have it nullified by a penalty on the far side of the field.

“They can really get after the quarterback,” Ryan said at halftime.

Preaching a faster-paced tempo with a rededication to the ground and pound mentality, the Jets were often out-of-sync on offense.

Following a TV timeout, Sanchez was forced to call a time out after failing to get his unit ready for the next play. Seemingly, they had ample time to get a call in. Two possessions later the team gets stopped on a third-and-one situation for no gain up the middle with Shonn Greene. On the very next play full back John Conner was unsuccessful in his attempt to convert the first down.

“That was brutal. Absolutely brutal. I might’ve been more disappointed [by those two plays] than anything else,” Ryan said on getting stuffed twice from one-yard out.

The Giants – on the other hand – came out of the gates looking, well, super. Eli Manning went untouched and continually found top receiver Victor Cruz five times for a total of 50 yards. Never wavering the defending champion Giants waited, not to beat the Jets but, for the Jets to beat themselves.

After forcing a three-and-out on the Giants’ first drive, the Jets defense had to come back on the field following Joe McKnight’s 15-yard roughing the kicker penalty. They would later turn the penalty into a 35-yard field goal to take the early 3-0 lead.

On their following possession, Manning threw a deep ball down the left sideline intended for rookie Reuban Randle, but the throw was off-target due to DeVito’s hit on Manning. The pass sailed over Reuban’s head and in to the hands of the newly acquired safety, LaRon Landry, who returned the ball 21 yards.

The ensuing Jets drive resulted in Hosley’s 77-yard interception return.

Tebow Time struck in the second half, with his team facing a 13-0 deficit and looking for a savior. But even his presence was not enough to spark life in a dead Jets offensive unit. He led the second team 14-play 68-yard drive that lasted 8:26 on his first possession – completing four of five passes and accounting for 52 of the team’s total yards. The drive would result in the first points of the night for Gang Green.

But the combination of poor protection and a run-oriented quarterback usually is a recipe for sacks. The former Florida Gator was sacked five times on the night as he was unable to duplicate the success of his first drive.

“We executed well. We were on the same page. We did all the little things right. From there on we had some communication errors. It just goes to show how important it is to be on the same page,” Tebow said.

Giants running back Joe Martinek capped the scoring when he took a swing pass from third-string quarterback Ryan Perrilloux and rumbled down the left sideline, diving and getting the ball over the goal line for a 14-yard touchdown to give the Giants a 26-3 lead.

In what will be the last dress rehearsal for the starting units, the Jets host the Carolina Panthers next Sunday, August 26th at 8 pm EST.

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