The New York Giants and New York Jets both had experiences to remember last week. The occurrences, incidents and odysseys seem to be borrowed from some Bizarro World comic book edition. In the end, the Jets would probably prefer to forget everything from losing to their fall from grace.
The Jets (9-4) started the week recovering from a 45-3 beat down by their division rivals, the New England Patriots and ended it by getting beat at home, 10-6, by their other division nemesis the Miami Dolphins--a team who threw for a total of 55 yards.
The Jets head coach and "Hard Knocks" star, Rex Ryan, started the week by inventing a new game strategy called accepting the opening kick-off if they win the coin-toss. Pure genius. And then--after being thoroughly undressed in public by the Pats--he buried a football at the Jets practice field last Monday to rid the team any spirits of Patriots past. Hey, Bill Belichick did it last year. The Jets score 3 points and their clueless head coach is making jokes and giving a pigskin the deep six. Great Idea. The Jets have now scored a grand total of 9 points over eight quarters.
Ryan's vaunted defense is also falling apart. The best Jets tackle against Miami was a trip by a Jet trainer standing on the sidelines. The trainer, Sal Alosi, said his knee-jerk (emphasis on jerk) reaction to using his left patella to senselessly trip Dolphins special teams player Nolan Carroll was "inexcusable and irresponsible." It was also recordable and suspend able. Only about 10,000 phone cameras caught it along with the CBS network. Alosi will miss the rest of the season and was fined $25,000 by the Jets. Ryan stood on the sidelines and gawked at the fallen Carroll.
Meanwhile, the Giants (9-4) went on some sort road trip through the air and landed on the ground literally running after a troublesome itinerary. The team gained 219 yards on the ground against the Minnesota Vikings and won, 21-3 at Ford Field in Detroit. That's right, the Giants weren't in Kansas (City) anymore...or the scheduled venue in Minneapolis.
The Giants ordeal began when they flew to Kansas City after their charter flight to was re-routed from Minneapolis due to a snow storm. They spent a night in K.C. not knowing when they would get to the Twin Cities or what time they would play and, after the Metrodome's roof collapsed under the weight of the snow, it was off to a neutral site in Detroit. Oddly, it was the first Monday night football game played in Detroit in twenty years and the Lions weren't even in it!
That game saw the Giants become a footnote to NFL history too, when Vikings QB, Brett Favre, ended his consecutive game playing streak by not suiting up for the game because of numbness in his throwing arm.
The Giants overcame adversity and have kept pace with the Philadelphia Eagles for first place in the NFC East. They would be a wild card team if the season ended today.
The Jets meanwhile, have stumbled and bumbled in two straight losses. Their cartoon character of a coach is showing himself to be as much a clown on the sidelines, as well as, in front of his press room.
A few weeks ago the Jets were touted as Super Bowl contenders, now they are facing the possibility of missing the playoffs after being 9-2.
While the Giants are rising to the top, the Jets are sliding faster than Obama's approval ratings. It's hard to believe the Jets can win road games against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears. Even with what looked like a gimme a month ago, their final game at home against the Buffalo Bills looks like it could be a tussle. A 9-7 record isn't unfathomable. It's the same record which cost Eric Mangini his head coaching job two years ago and let the caveman Ryan make his louder-than-loud entrance.
Ryan, who likes to don wigs and dress up for the cameras, acts like every press conference is an audition for Saturday Night Live. He might have a shot because his offense is one big comedy skit. He's Chris Farley with his stomach tied into a knot.
Not all the blame should be put on Ryan's back. The Jets downfall coincides with the declining skills of their quarterback Mark Sanchez. The Jets QB started the season with eight TD tosses and no interceptions. Since then? Sanchez has eight TDs and 12 interceptions. He is the number 28 ranked passer in the league. The Jets answer to Eli Manning is going in the wrong direction.
Sanchez has reverted back to the skittish rookie of last year. Under throwing and sacks are becoming big part of his game. Ryan blames it on fundamentals and was so serious about it, took the young QB to lunch last week to discuss it.
"Mark is my quarterback," said the head coach, "He'll always be our starting quarterback...We're going as far as he takes us." On Sunday, Ryan told the press he thought about pulling the ineffective Sanchez in the third quarter of last week's Miami game.
Ryan came to New York with a cock-sure attitude and defensive genius on his resume. His brashness and Peter Griffith resemblance were a nice contrast to his predecessor, the frowning Belichick-wannabe Mangini.
Ryan's team finally had a stadium they could call their own and they showed signs of promise during the playoffs. Things were looking up. Now Ryan has turned into the rude in-law you would endure, if only for his Yankee box seats every couple of years, but don't want to see stuffing his face at a family dinner.
He came in with a reputation as a player's coach. A guy you could share a beer with. Now he just looks unprofessional. The fact that everything keep getting away from him started this summer with the Inez Sainz training camp incident and continued with his laughable punishment of Braylon Edwards after his DUI arrest and now the sideline tripping antics. Ryan has yet to say whether he will fire Alosi for his stupid action.
Ryan's indecision reflects on the field. Come-from-behind wins against mediocre teams does not a champion make and silly penalties almost cost the Jets a few games. That tough-as-Bill Parcells exterior is part of his shtick. He's the anti-Parcells.
Ryan showed his fake self in all his glory on HBO's "Hard Knocks" this summer. He is just a thinner version of that supposedly hard reality star. The F-bombs and caveman behavior were boorish when the Jets were winning, now it is just sad. It's more about execution than excuses and Ryan is really softer than his belly.