Today in Local Sports Coverage: Keeping Playoff Hope Alive

Your tabloids have two slightly different takes on the Jets’ dispiriting 10-7 loss to the Falcons yesterday. 

The Post sub-head paraphrases Rex Ryan’s declaration that the team is “obviously” out of the playoffs: “Blizzard of blunders ices Jets’ playoff hopes,” it reads. But the Daily News isn’t giving up on this team, which has provided such a daily grist of good material. Their sub-head reminds you: “It ain’t over, but Rex says it is after Jets’ horrific loss to Falcons.”

Rich Cimini does the math and finds that the Jets’ still aren’t technically eliminated, despite being 7-7 and losing the tie-breaker to most of the teams they might still tie. “The fat lady wasn’t singing, but the portly coach was,” he writes.

There’s some confusion about who exactly is to blame for a 3-point loss in which your quarterback throws three picks, your special teams botches three field goals (in three different ways), and your defense doesn’t execute the correct zone coverage on 4th and 6, giving up a game-tying touchdown. Each of those angles gets a little ink, but, predictably, your columnists pounce on Mark Sanchez.

“Color the kid too green,” writes Steve Serbywho does double-duty this morning with columns on the Jets and Giants. Serby does what Serby will do, and gives the kid yet another nickname: “Can’tchez.” But Gary Myers is even harder on him; he doesn’t buy Sanchez’s mea culpa about the last pick, when he said he should have remembered it was four-down territory and not forced it.


Come on now. Why didn’t he remember that before the play? Ryan took the blame for Sanchez’s first pick, which came on his first series when he threw into double coverage.

“Terrible decision,” Sanchez said. Ryan said, “We should have had him in a different state of mind,” meaning it should have been code red, not code green. But shouldn’t Sanchez know these things on his own by now?

Which raises the obvious question: If you can’t give the kid the green light on the first play of the game, when exactly do you give it to him? It’s not like the number one defense has the team playing from way behind very often. 

But most of the blame doesn’t even fall on Sanchez. Everyone seems ready to chalk this loss up to the Ghosts of Jets Past. Both papers invoke Kotite, Carroll, and Parcells. Serby mentions the Mud Bowl, and the Fake Spike, and the ’98 AFC Championship. 

Even if things fall the Jets way, and the Daily News is right that they’re really in the playoff hunt, it seems unlikely they’ll be providing the kind of back-cover material they did through the first 12-or-so weeks of the season. Bart Scott—whose incessant trash-talking got the Sports Sunday treatment in The Times this weekend—left without speaking to reporters, leaving his former teammate Oven Mughelli to sum up the game, and maybe, the Jets’ season.

“I don’t want to call him out, but even when I pancaked him and had him down he was still talking trash. How are you talking trash when you’re on your back?” Mughelli said. “[He was saying] that ain’t nothing, you didn’t do nothing. I was like, ‘What’re you talking about? Just concede. I got you down, pinned.’ “

  Today in Local Sports Coverage: Keeping Playoff Hope Alive