Let’s Hope the Jets Learn Something From This Pitiful Display

Three plays later, the Raiders had lost five yards and were forced to punt. The Jets would take over at their own 5-yard line with 1:24 remaining and no timeouts left. After failing to score a point since the first quarter, the Jets quickly marched down the field, enlisting the help of little-used receivers Brad Smith and Chansi Stuckey, who combined for 56 yards on the drive and set up a 52-yard Jay Feely field-goal attempt to tie the game with eight seconds remaining. Feely’s kick would clang against the right upright and then fall limply by the wayside. But even then, it wasn’t over.

This time, the help came not from the Raiders players but from their newly tapped head coach, who had called timeout just after the snap and a moment before Feely struck the ball.

It was a familiar ploy, as ill-advised as it is popular. The result: Jay Feely would get another shot at the same field goal, this time with a greater feel for the distance and wind conditions. Once again, the ball was snapped, and this time, Feely drilled the ball between the uprights. The Jets had earned a shocking tie only seconds away from a loss and would have another chance to wrest victory from the jaws of defeat in overtime. Thanks, Tom Cable! And after the Jets won the toss at midfield, they seemed a good bet to consign the game to their perilously long list of close calls.

After taking the opening kickoff at their own 22, the Jets faced a third and five at their own 49 and just 15 yards away from a reasonable field-goal attempt. But a Favre sack cost eight yards and forced a punt. But even then, it wasn’t over. The Raiders quickly went three and out, and the Jets took over once again, this time on their own 10 as a result of a booming kick from Raiders punter Shane Lechler. Once again, the Jets went three and out, and the Raiders took over on their own 45 and in prime position. But even then, it wasn’t over. The Jets held the Raiders to one yard, forcing yet another Lechler punt.

The Jets began their third possession of overtime on their own 18 and even managed a first down after Thomas Jones used a 10-yard run to convert a second and three from the Jets’ 25. But on first down from the 35, Jones was stopped for a two-yard loss, and the Jets were forced to pass. On second and 12 from their own 35, Favre escaped pressure and fired a ball deep over the middle for a wide-open Chris Baker, who, in grand Jets fashion, tripped and fell just as the ball was about to fall into his arms. On third down, Favre was forced from the pocket and wound up having to run out of bounds well short of the first-down market. The Jets would once again punt, and this time, it really was over.

On the ensuing possession, the Raiders’ JaMarcus Russell completed key passes to wide receiver Javon Walker and tight end Zach Miller, setting up a 57-yard field-goal attempt from cannon-legged kicker Sebastian Janikowski, who made the kick with room to spare.

Ugh. Same old Jets? Maybe. But at times like this, it is well to remember that the NFL season is fundamentally a developmental process in which each practice, each film session, and each game is aimed at developing the kind of cohesion and chemistry that turn seemingly ordinary teams into Super Bowl champions. The trick, of course, is to cultivate that chemistry while winning football games. There are no moral victories in the age of parity. Good teams learn hard lessons in the course of victory, not defeat. Those teams that need to lose before they see the error of their ways will watch the playoffs from home. We have 10 games left to see whether these Jets will join them.

Let’s Hope the Jets Learn Something From This Pitiful Display