If the New York Jets could beat the New England patriots in Foxborough, they still might have fans optimistic about another deep playoff run. But, last Sunday's 30-21 rout at the hands of Tom Brady and BenJarvus Green-Ellis stymied the Jets' hopes to at least appear in a third consecutive AFC Championship game.
The Jets' defense seemed like a shell of its former self, allowing the most rushing yards in one game this season. Green-Ellis rushed for a career-high 136 yards and two touchdowns, gaining 99 yards with six or fewer defenders in the box. The Jets couldn't play inside or off the edges when it came to the running game.
The Patriots, on the other hand, despite their bottom-of-the-league pass defense coming in, allowed a season-low 255 total yards, and Brady threw for 321 after starting the day with an NFL-best 388 yards passing per game.
Obviously, our passing game has been unreal, said Green-Ellis, signed in 2008 as a rookie free agent from Mississippi, so we want to be an offense that can be able to do whatever we want to do, run or pass, and complement our defense.
The Patriots (4-1) won their 19th straight regular-season game at home while the Jets (2-3) lost their third straight, signaling panic for Ryan and Sanchez, the leaders of the team.
I never thought we'd have a three-game losing streak like this, quarterback Mark Sanchez said. It's just frustrating.
The Patriots held Sanchez, who has never really been an offensive powerhouse, to 16 completions in 26 attempts for 166 yards and two touchdowns one week after he threw for just 119 yards in a 34-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
Obviously, they're the better team right now, said Jets coach Rex Ryan, his usual bravado missing. Against New England, you've got to get off the field. They did a great job sustaining drives. You've got to give them all the credit. They earned it.
The Patriots pretty much wrapped the game up by the third quarter after Sanchez only threw for 70 passing yards. The Jets only lost by nine, however, every time they needed to break Brady's stride, they couldn't do it.
The Jets know that with cornerback Darrelle Revis, their defense is capable of stopping any passing attack, but think about the defense without Revis. They would probably be borderline average considering they are now 27th in the league in stopping the run.
And, the remaining schedule isn't rosy for the Jets. Although the Miami Dolphins are next come next Monday night, New York still has to play the Chargers, the Eagles, the hot Bills twice, and the Pats one more time.
Winning against the Dolphins could be the medicine that the Jets need to get on a streak and dissolve some of the questions people have about them. But, a win against a below average team won't solidify their chances of a playoff run, or even a playoff spot, with so many teams left to play that just so happen to be on or beyond their level right now.