Mark Sanchez, idiotic tripping-coach highlight Jets’ loss to Dolphins

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 12: Mark Sanchez  of the New York Jets looks to hand the ball off against the Miami Dolphins at New Meadowlands Stadium on December 12, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Here are a six-pack of observations on whatever the Dolphins and Jets are calling that thing they did at the New Meadowlands on Sunday. I hesitate to call it a game.

1. Mark Sanchez is awful again.
Leave it to Mark Sanchez to prove doubters wrong for most of the season, only to revert back to his 2009 form for the stretch run. He completed just 17-of-44 passes for 216 yards with no touchdowns and one interception in an ugly 10-6 loss. This of course follows his 17-of-33 performance on Monday night against the Patriots. His 38.6 QB rating against the Dolphins was a season-worst and coach Rex Ryan even revealed in his postgame press conference that he nearly benched the second-year quarterback. Sanchez hasn’t completed 60 percent of his passes in over a month and also has five turnovers compared to no touchdowns in his last two games. He has shown zero confidence the past two games and he’s back to diving in and out of the pocket as soon as he senses pressure. In his defense, Santonio Holmes did drop a touchdown pass (with no defenders around him) early in the game, although that’s still no excuse for Sanchez to play as poorly as he did. The problem for Ryan is that Mark Brunell and Kellen Clemens aren’t any better, so the Jets will have to ride the Sanchez train out and hope he can find whatever magic he had earlier in the season.

2. Jets’ strength coach Sal Alosi should be ashamed of himself.
In what can only be described as a classless move, TV replays showed Jets’ head strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi stick his knee out to intentionally trip Dolphins’ gunner Nolan Carroll as he was streaking down the field to cover a punt in the third quarter. Caroll fell to the turf with an apparent knee injury and Miami trainers tended to him after he limped off the field under his own power. Alosi was fortunate that Carroll wasn’t seriously hurt. He could have ended the rookie’s season and for what? To be a jackass on the sidelines? What good could have possibly come out of purposely tripping an opponent? The Jets should review the situation and take immediate action. And if they don’t fire the moron, he at least should issue an apology to Carroll and the entire Dolphins team. What a stupid, stupid decision and how embarrassing for the Alosi and the Jets. This is the last thing Ryan needs to deal with after two straight losses.

3. The Dolphins should give a game ball to punter Brandon Fields.
Only the Packers-Lions catastrophe in Detroit earlier in the day could match how bad this game was. Both defenses played well, but it’s hard to wax poetically about them given how pathetic the offenses were. If it weren’t for a brutal Mark Sanchez and an outstanding Brandon Fields, Miami might not have won. The Dolphins failed to move the ball on a routine basis, but Fields ensured that the Jets faced longed drives all game. He averaged an outstanding 56.4 yards per punt and had a long of 69 yards. That’s about all I can say on a punter, but if you watched even a fraction of this game you know how important he was.

4. Missed opportunities kill Jets.
The Jets’ defense made three huge plays that should have turned the momentum of this game on its head. Calvin Pace stripped Chad Henne in the second quarter to set his offense up in Miami territory, but the Jets wound up settling for a field goal because Holmes dropped one of the easiest touchdowns you’ll ever see. Jason Taylor also recovered a fumble at the 50 after the Dolphins had drove into field goal range, but the Jets got zero points out of it. Finally, Brodney Pool nabbed a botched Henne play that set New York up at its 42-yard line but again, the Jets got no points. Good teams take advantage of golden scoring opportunities.

5. The Jets could feasibly finish 9-7.
Losers of two straight, the Jets now go on the road to Pittsburgh and Chicago before wrapping up the season against the Bills at home. Even after the Bears’ pathetic effort against the Patriots on Sunday, they’re still tough to beat at home. And if Sanchez continues to play as poorly as he has the past two weeks, a win over the Bills in Week 17 isn’t a guarantee either. At 9-4, the Jets are still in great shape to make the playoffs but for the second straight year, they could be limping into the postseason. Granted, they made the AFC Championship Game last year despite backing into the playoffs, but while the Patriots are peaking at the right time the Jets are crashing and burning.

6. The Dolphins’ playoff hopes are still alive.
Conversely to observation No. 4, the Dolphins are still very much alive for the postseason. They host the Bills and Lions the next two weeks (two very winnable games) before traveling to New England to play the Patriots in the season finale. Granted, nobody wants to play the Patriots on the road but by that time, New England may have wrapped up the top seed in the AFC and could play their backups in the second half. A 10-6 season is still very much in reach, although Chad Henne has to get better or else a 7-9 finish is possible as well. He can’t continue to play this badly if they want to have a shot at the postseason.

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