Jets QB Chad Pennington needs to shake off his worst game since New England last season and beat Seattle this Sunday. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
- So the Steelers wound up and smacked the Jets in the mouth. Now the team is bleeding but they are still standing.
So Chad Pennington looked like Bambi in the headlights of a Mack truck.
Two days later they are sore, still bruised, and obviously extremely disappointed that they had a chance to knock off the 12-1 Steelers in their own backyard and make a statement to the NFL.
Omit the help from an official who called Anthony Becht for holding on a long run by Lamont Jordan, a missed tackle by Reggie Tongue on Jerome Bettis, and a few noodle arm throws by Pennington the Jets could have beat arguably the best team in the league.
Despite the loss, the Jets are still in control of their own destiny, still have nine wins, and are still a very good football team. They traveled to Pittsburgh, went tooth-and-nail with a team that is unbeatable at Heinz Field and fell just a little short.
Unfortunately the Jets just ran out of steam at the end. The Steelers used the dual running back system to perfection. Duce Staley wore them down in the first three quarters and then the bus rolled over them in the end. The Steelers did with Bettis what the Jets should have done with Jordan.
But itís not the end of the world. Thanks to the three-game winning streak, the Jets rode into Pittsburgh with a small amount of house money they blew like an addicted gambler. Now with both Denver and Baltimore winning on Sunday, there is no more room for error. They had a two game lead in the race to play San Diego and room for one trip up.
Head Coach Herman Edwards prides himself on being a master motivator and he needs to prove it this week. Itís time shut up, stop the speeches, line up and punish a Seattle team that is not in the same class as the Jets.
Seattle is in first place. But thatís in the XFL, aka the NFC.
With New England coming to town next week, the Jets need to punish a horrible Seattle defense and fasten their seat belts in the wildcard driverís seat.
Lose this week to a west coast NFC team at home in December and you donít deserve the playoffs. Lose this week and have to win out just to sniff the sixth seed and the Jets collapse will almost be Yankee-like. To start 5-0 and not make the playoffs is just as bad as blowing a 3-0 lead in the ALCS.
The Ravens likely finish 10-6 with the Colts, Steelers, and Dolphins left. Denver should finish the same playing the Chiefs, Titans, and Colts. Buffalo is rolling and after starting 0-4, have gotten their heads above water and at 7-6. With the 49ers and Bengals left they are a lock for nine wins. Jets fans better hope Pittsburgh has something to play for in week 17 because if they rollover and rest for the playoffs, they could leapfrog us with their 10th win. Jacksonville, also 7-6, should lose in Green Bay this week dropping them to .500 and all but ousting them from the race.
This though is the NFL and like the clichť says, ďon any given SundayĒ anything could happen.
Nonetheless, this Sunday Gang Green better win. If the Jets lose this week fall to the Pats next Sunday they will be 9-6 going into St. Louis against a team that will be home and likely fighting for their division. Not a scenario any Coach wants their team to be in. If this is the way it turns out, Jets better say their rosary the night before the game because they will need help.
If the Jets lose this week and have to scoreboard watch the next two weeks, they donít deserve to be in the postseason.