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News » Brett, Jets misfiring as season winds down

Brett, Jets misfiring as season winds down

Brett, Jets misfiring as season winds down
They're called the Jets, but long flights are their Kryptonite. He's the Ol' Gunslinger but he can't shoot straight out West.

As a result, just two weeks after staking a claim as the best team in the conference with a thrashing of the Titans in Tennessee, the Jets (8-5) have fallen into a three-way tie for first in the AFC East and fallen from the ranks of legit contenders with Plax-like plummet velocity.

NFL Week 14

Week 14 action

    Chargers 34, Raiders 7 -- Recap | Box
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When Brett Favre and Gang Green stormed into Nashville on Nov. 23 and whipped the Titans 34-13 to improve to 8-3, visions of an oxymoronic "Subway Super Bowl" — played in Tampa between two teams that play in New Jersey — began dancing in New Yorkers' heads.

No less an authority than the ubiquitous Cris Collinsworth declared the Jets the best team in the AFC.

It's been a long two weeks since.

In Week 13 the Jets fell apart at home against the Broncos, getting blown out 34-17 as the offense spluttered, the defense got shredded and Eric Mangini's coaching staff seemed bewildered.

An aberration, a glitch. The lowly Niners would surely be a quick cure.

But for the third time this season Favre misfired in California as the Jets lost 24-14.

In Week 3, Favre threw a pick-six to spark a 48-29 blowout loss in San Diego that wasn't as close as the not-all-that-close final score. In Week 7, Favre was outplayed by JaMarcus Russell, throwing two picks and no TDs in an OT loss in Oakland.

J-E-T-S. Just Eastern Time Success.

When reminded Sunday night of his declaration a fortnight earlier, Collinsworth didn't bother to defend the Jets, opting instead for self-flagellation, "I don't know what kind of an idiot would ever say anything like that."

Indeed, it does suddenly seem idiotic to imagine this team as a Super Bowl contender. Contenders don't get blown out at home by a flawed Broncos team and then follow that up with a double-digit loss to the Niners (5-8).

Favre has thrown 74 passes since the win in Tennessee and none of them have resulted in a touchdown.

The night after the Jets beat the Titans, Tony Kornheiser dedicated his every other syllable on Monday Night Football to second-guessing Green Bay's quarterback decision as the Packers lost to the Saints 51-29.

And while it's true that the 5-8 Packers have been a major disappointment, little of that can be laid at Aaron Rodgers' feet.

Favre has four games without a touchdown pass. Rodgers has two. Favre has five games in which he's thrown more interceptions than touchdowns. Rodgers has two. Favre has had five games with a 100+ QB rating. Rodgers has had seven.

Usually the more success a team has on the ground, the more lethal the quarterback can be as the defense moves men up into the box. But the opposite has happened in New York.

As Thomas Jones has run wild the last five weeks, averaging 109 yards rushing on 5.0 yards per carry and scoring seven rushing touchdowns, Favre's numbers have gone south. Over the last five weeks Favre's yards-per-attempt has fallen from 8.79 to 7.82 to 7.00 to 5.74 to Sunday's woeful 4.42 yards per pass. That graph looks worse than the S&P 500's.

The six-gun has been holstered in favor of a peashooter. The Ol' Gunslinger has been reduced to the Ol' Dink-and-Dunker. (And to make matters worse, the team for whom Favre is a volunteer advance scout is 0-13.)

Then there's Mangini's Jekyll-and-Hyde defense. The Jets lead the league in forced fumbles and have scored five defensive touchdowns. But they rank 19th overall and 31st against the pass. They have been strafed for 400-plus yards by Matt Cassel and Kurt Warner, 357 by Jay Cutler and 280-plus by Tyler Thigpen and Shaun Hill.

Sounds more like the Lions' D than a Super Bowl contender.

With the Colts and Ravens sitting at 9-4, it's likely the only playoff entrant from the AFC East will be the division winner. But the Jets do control their own destiny by virtue of a better division record than the Patriots and Dolphins.

The Jets sandwich home games against the Bills and Dolphins around their fourth trip to the West Coast in Week 16 at Seattle. The 2-11 Seahawks are atrocious, but then again the three teams the Jets have lost to out west have a combined 13-26 record.

Assuming the Jets can figure out a way to win in Seattle, the season will in all likelihood come down to the Week 17 showdown against the resurgent Dolphins who have won six of seven behind a QB they found on the slag heap, guy by the name of Chad Pennington.

In the late December winds in the Meadowlands it may come down to which quarterback can take care of the ball. On that score, Favre has thrown a league-high 15 interceptions and Pennington has thrown only six, ranking third overall in interception percentage.

It's been hard to get noticed in New York these last two weeks without shooting yourself in the leg. All Favre and the Jets have done is shoot themselves in the foot.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 8, 2008

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