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Monday night's Jets game against the Texans didn't go as planned.
Oh, the Jets lost, slipping to 2-3 and continuing the questions about where this team is headed this season, but they only lost 23-17 instead of getting run off the field by the undefeated Texans. And, contrary to Jay Glazer of FOX's report from Sunday, Tim Tebow remained mostly a side dish for the Mark Sanchez-led offense.
Whether that was because the Jets decided to change plans once the cat was out of the bag or if they never actually planned on using Tebow heavily doesn't much matter because we basically saw the same Jets team that we saw in the first four games. They were better than they were against San Francisco, mostly because they showed more fight, but the result left the same doubts about the talent level on the field.
The Jets were very game, with guys like Clyde Gates and Jeff Cumberland making plays in place of injured starters, but they simply couldn't hold up with the Texans' superior ability when all was said and done. Playing hard can get you most of the way, but mistakes and bad bounces and poor coaching decisions need to be totally eliminated to actually have that translate into wins.
There was no perfection on Monday night, outside of Texans defensive end J.J. Watt's latest masterful performance perhaps. What we got was an underpowered team playing inspired ball after a week as the punchline of the NFL and then falling short because they simply aren't as good as their opponents.
It's hard to see that changing all that much over the next 11 weeks, but the Jets at least sent a signal that they aren't going to be a total pushover every time they take the field. That's a nice, if hollow, development.
Here's the rest of the good, bad and ugly from Monday night.
GOOD and BAD: Sanchez' numbers -- 14-of-31 for 250 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions -- don't look very good, and he wasn't very good, but his solid game would look much better if not for several miscues by receivers that led to incompletions and both interceptions. He didn't have that look of a player out of his depth as he did against the 49ers, made some good throws against a strong Texans pass rush and generally did enough to quiet calls for his head for another week.
BAD: The running game is still totally missing in action, putting even more pressure on Sanchez to make plays if the Jets are going to have any chance to win. While the passing game made you wonder what the night would have looked like with healthier bodies, the running game made you wonder if there would have been any difference at all.
UGLY: After Joe McKnight's 100-yard kickoff return cut the Texans lead to six points in the third quarter, the Jets tried an onside kick that they failed to recover. The best argument for trying that play is to grab momentum, but the Jets had just done that and they then threw their defense back onto a short field with a minimal break.
BAD: More injuries were added to the insult on Monday. Gates, center Nick Mangold, defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis and linebacker Josh Mauga are all getting MRIs on Tuesday after getting nicked up in the loss.
GOOD: Antonio Cromartie had a very good game on Andre Johnson and even showed off his self-hyped skills as a receiver on offense. Cromartie's now one of the best players on this team and he played like it on Monday.
UGLY: The Jets defense had some good moments, none involving stopping the run, but they were awful on the first drive of the game before leaving Owen Daniels totally uncovered for a touchdown. That play loomed very large the rest of the night and particularly on the final drive when the Jets needed a touchdown instead of a field goal.
GOOD, BAD and UGLY: Ryan got this team ready to play and they had a chance to win with the ball in their hands in the final minutes as a heavy underdog, two things which speak well of the job he did this week. The lack of defensive preparation speaks poorly of the same job. They wasted timeouts in their neverending quest to prove that the easy things are impossible for Jets coaches and the onside kick was a desperation move at a moment that didn't call for desperation, leaving gaps that wound up being the final margin of defeat.