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New York Jets 2011 Season in Review: Ups and Downs

Mark Sanchez (Photo by AP)

Hot and Cold

Winning Streaks. Losing Streaks.

Touchdowns. Turnovers.

Comebacks. Collapses.

Good. Bad.

A season filled with dichotomy for the New York Jets in 2011 and now an offseason filled with uncertainty in 2012.

Opening the season against the Dallas Cowboys, Rex Ryan and the New York Jets put their money where their mouths are, winning in impressive fashion. Down fourteen points in the fourth quarter, on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, NYPD and FDNY paraphernalia everywhere, pride and unity in the air, Gang Green scored seventeen unanswered points in an improbable way to earn a Week 1 win. A blocked punt and a 50-yard field goal later, the Jets were 1-0; momentum in hand.

Week 2, the Jets pounced on the Jacksonville Jaguars, as they should have, and even with their next three games on the road against tough opponents, things were looking optimistic for the team that was supposed to win the Super Bowl. But football is just as predictable as any other sport.

After being in complete control against the Oakland Raiders, Darren McFadden, a Mark Sanchez interception, and an Antonio Cromartie fumble, turned the tides and the Jets suffered their first loss of the season, in a game that should have kept the Jets early season perfect record intact. Following the loss in the Black Hole, the Jets did not improve against the Ravens and Patriots and a once promising start to the season now looked disastrous and grim.

But the New York Jets did not go quietly into the night. The towel was not thrown and the white flag was not raised. The Jets bounced back, winning their next three games, regaining their title of a contender in the National Football League. Once again, how quickly things can change in this league.

Another loss to the Patriots and a five-minute dosage of Tebow Time in the two following weeks, the Jets were back at .500 with even more questions to answer about their play on both sides of the ball. Although, in Weeks 13, 14, and 15, the Jets answered any questions thrown at them, beating the Bills, Redskins, and Chiefs, displaying a dangerous offensive attack and a shut down defense. At 8-5, the Jets controlled their own destiny. Winning out in their remaining three games would place the Jets back in the playoffs for the third straight year, inevitably giving them a road to the Super Bowl on the road.  The Jets have already been in this situation the past two years and Mark Sanchez already has four road playoff wins and two AFC championship appearances under his belt.

Win…and we’re in! But miscue after miscue, a 99-yard touchdown, and the vengeful Miami Dolphins stood in the way of Gang Green and the Jets finished their season 8-8, falling apart at the worst time. When it came down to it, the Jets ultimately only needed one win against there remaining three opponents to enter the playoffs. If they didn’t turn the ball over ten times against the Eagles, they could have made it a lot easier for themselves. If they didn’t fall apart against the Giants, they could have made it a lot easier for themselves. If they beat the Miami Dolphins, maybe the Houston Texans would have converted that two-point conversion.

In the land of what-ifs and what could have been, the New York Jets would win the Super Bowl every year. But in this land, reality, a lot needs to change before the Jets can do just that; win a Super Bowl.

Changes

Rex Ryan: Stop talking so much, please.

Brian Schottenheimer: Peace…out!

Mark Sanchez: Chill on the turnovers

Coaching Staff: Learn how to use Sanchez properly and beat the Patriots

Santonio Holmes: Stop fighting with everyone, catch the ball, and don’t fumble in important games

Defense: Make a play all game and not just for 59 minutes, learn how to stop Tim Tebow for future games

Plaxico Burress: Get him the ball more

Darrelle Revis and David Harris: Nothing needs to change…thank you for being the only constant on this team (besides everything else that was consitantly bad)

Future Accomplishments: Beat the Patriots? Win the Division? Get a home playoff game? Earn a first round bye? Win the Super Bowl?

Every Jets fan can dream.

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