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While doing his weekly dance with the media before the Dolphins game, Rex Ryan decided that "empty the tank" was going to be his mantra for the week.
With a bye week looming on the other side of the game, the Jets were going to empty their tanks and let everything hang out in their push to beat the Dolphins and finish the first half of the season at 4-4. That would keep playoff hopes alive and confirm that the improved play of the last few weeks was a sign that the Jets had found themselves after early adversity.
The Jets heeded Ryan's call and emptied their tanks on Sunday alright. The only problem was that they emptied them long before the start of what would become a humiliating 30-9 loss to a divisional rival of modest ability playing without their starting quarterback after the second possession of the game.
Before the end of the first quarter, the Jets had allowed a successful onside kick, a blocked punt for a touchdown and two sacks of Mark Sanchez. One of those sacks included a fumble that the Dolphins recovered and the game had gone completely pear-shaped for the Jets before everyone was even settled in for the afternoon.
It didn't get any better from there and, by the end, the only intrigue was whether or not Sanchez would be benched. Ryan said that he wouldn't, sticking once again with his quarterback in the face of a lopsided defeat that featured no meaningful offensive production until things were totally out of reach.
Summon outrage for that if you will, but it is much more damning for the coach to highlight the way the Jets hit the field on Sunday full of talk but devoid of action in a game that mattered quite a bit to their hopes of accomplishing anything more than punchline status this year. The effort was more offensive than the execution, something that falls on a coach who overpromised and underdelivered.
No surprise that happened with Ryan, of course, but it's an awfully tiring way to run a football team. Ugly, too, which leads us to the rest of the good, bad and ugly from Sunday's loss.
UGLY: Is it all on Sanchez that the offense was horrendous for the fourth time this season? Of course not, but it is harder and harder to think that this guy can actually lead the Jets to anything more than he's led them to at this point in his career.
BAD: Antonio Cromartie has actually played well since Darrelle Revis' injury left him as the team's top cornerback, but he set the tone for an embarrassing day when he picked up a 15-yard penalty on the first Miami drive for having a go at Reggie Bush. Bush had just run for 19 yards and the penalty helped put the Dolphins in position for a field goal that led to the onside kick that led to the blocked punt and so on and so on and so on.
UGLY: The Jets used to turn games around via special teams, but they've now lost two straight games that featured massive breakdowns in that area. Good teams can't afford to have sloppy special teams, so it goes without saying that the Jets certainly can't stomach them.
GOOD: It takes some reaching, but we might as well recognize Clyde Gates' seven catches for 82 yards since there's a fair chance they represent the best it will get for Gates at this level. Take a bow, Clyde.
BAD: Just don't do it after catching a pass for a first down in the fourth quarter of a game your team is losing 27-3. It made Gates look like a fool, which is to say that he fit right in with his teammates.
UGLY: Stephen Hill has all the physical tools you look for in a receiver, with one notable exception. He can't catch the ball, with Sunday's drop coming in the end zone at a moment when there was still a flicker of hope for a comeback.
BAD: Putting Tim Tebow into the lineup probably doesn't fix things all at once, but the team's continued refusal to play a guy who is clearly one of the most talented players on the team shows a lack of both ingenuity and guts on the coaching staff. If you want to talk about the team emptying its tank, that has to include the coaching staff and that didn't happen on Sunday.
It was a result that matched the level of effort the Jets put into the game. At 3-5, the Jets will have to go 6-2 to have any shot at the playoffs and it is impossible to believe such success is possible for this team.
That meant Sunday was the moment to go for broke and avoid desperate straits. The Jets chose not to do that and got what they deserved as a result.