Welcome to another edition of “What Happened Last Night,” in which we will talk about (ugh) the Jets. And also other things, so as to cleanse your palate of the Jets once we’re through with the necessary evil of discussing them. Let’s get this over with, shall we?
Watching the Jets will make you sad.
Remember last week, when our own Dylan Murphy went into great detail about how the Jets, for all their comical blunders, still had a decent shot to make the playoffs? Well, leave it to the Jets to make you feel dumb for expending that much energy explaining how something good could happen to them. Gang Green’s 14-10 loss to the Titans last night officially took the team out of playoff contention, but as it often is with the Jets, it’s how it happened that really stung.
Specifically: turnovers. The Jets had five of them, four on interceptions and all by Mark Sanchez. In fairness, both teams had their own ways of gift-giving – the Titans were penalized 14 times for 111 yards – but the Jets were a bit more generous in the end. In fact, the Jets were especially generous at the end, turning the ball over twice in the game’s final two minutes. The first was on an interception by Mark Sanchez so awful it had me cursing at the TV… and I’m not a Jets fan. We’re talking a back-foot, triple-coverage heave on first and 10 at the Titans’ 23-yard line, the kind of play the probably caused Jon Gruden, still a coach at heart, to spiral into a deep, existential horror.
But then, amazingly, the Jets got the ball back with a great chance to score, thanks to a defensive stop and 19-yard punt. What did they do with this great chance? Well, Sanchez immediately fumbled the snap, running back Bilal Powell inadvertently kicked the loose ball backwards, and it wound up in the Titans’ hands. Exeunt.
And… I can’t do it. I can’t enjoy these spectacular failures anymore. I was laughing along with everyone during the Thanksgiving game, but now it’s just old – and sad because it’s old. I don’t want to see Rex Ryan giving these somber, sad news conferences. I don’t want professional football players constantly looking like they’re auditioning for a revival of The Benny Hill Show. (Sometimes is fine, but not this often.) It was funny for a while. Now it’s just infuriating and depressing… and an especially bitter way to lose all hope for a playoff spot. J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS!!!!!!!!
Linsanity at the Garden rides again.
Just not for the Knicks this time. Going into the matchup with his former team, the team he and everyone else thought he’d be re-joining when free agency began, Lin said he’d been “terrible” so far this season – and given their 18-5 start, the Knicks sure didn’t seem to miss him. Last night, though? The Knicks could’ve used him. Lin looked more like his Knick self with a decidedly non-terrible 22 points and eight assists, and the Rockets took advantage of the absence of Carmelo Anthony, finishing with a 109-96
James Harden had 28 and 10 rebounds, too, and while the Rockets only broke even on the season with the win, if their new backcourt can keep playing like that, they’ll be better than .500 after 82 games. If you’re Lin, makes flagrant fouls – and, of course, the fact that you never wanted to leave the Knicks in the first place – go down a lot easier.
Around the Association…
The Suns beat the Kings because the Kings are the Kings. Come at the Kings…you probably won’t miss, because the Kings are terrible. The Thunder beat the Spurs because they are the opposite of terrible. The Clippers and Grizzlies won defensive battles with the Pistons and Bulls, respectively.
And those Magic. Oh, those Magic. On the surface, their 102-93 win over the T-Wolves looks like a fine win, but ultimately unremarkable. Minnesota’s only 12-10, after all. But the fact that the Magic are threatening .500 (with two games coming up against the Wizards and Raptors that could get them there) with their post-Dwight-Howard incarnation is borderline wizardry on the part of first-year coach Jacque Vaughn. This isn’t the first time I’ve praised the job Vaughn’s done squeezing blood from a stone with this Magic squad. If they keep this up, it won’t be the last – and there will be plenty of people joining me.
Photos via Getty