Monday, September 12, 2005

Good Yanks, Bad Jets

It's the most embarrassed I've felt since I've been here. I think we're all ashamed of the way we played.
-Curtis Martin on yesterday’s 27-7 loss in Kansas City.

This is the thing with football: when you’re writhing from your team looking like 24 Alzheimer’s patients, you really don’t have many options. Sure, Week One is an exception, and any Jets fan with a pulse could easily switch to New Orleans-Carolina, or even the Yankees nail biter against the Sawks.

But come November, the options aren’t going to be aplenty. Baseball will be hibernating for the winter, and due to NFL media contracts, there are only one or two times a game will be televised opposite the local team.

Translation: we might be stuck watching the Jets throughout a 4-12 season.

I’m not preaching doomsday, or saying that it’s all over because of an embarrassing loss Week One. But if the Jets look like that for 15 more games, well, 4-12 might be a bit optimistic.

Of course, they’ll scrutinize this loss for the next 48 or so hours and hopefully learn from the blunders. But all the film in the world can’t help you execute.

My buddy Scott, whom I look to for credible football analyses, says he’s willing to chalk up Week One to an aberration. I’ll accept that for this week, but a loss at home to the ‘Fins next week and we can officially talk about winning the Leinart Sweepstakes.

There’s nothing worse than a team talking about next season after a week or two, but man, the Jets just played that disgustingly badly yesterday. You name a mistake, the Jets made it multiple times. Picks, fumbles, penalties, dropped passes, missed blocking assignments, botched coverage…I could go on for days, as I’m sure Herm Edwards will in the coming days.

Speaking of Herm, my bet is that if the Jets don’t make the playoffs this year, he’s toast. At least he would be if I was GM.

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My fantasy team had a week comparable to the Jets, with my starters managing a meager 41 points. Hidden on my bench, however, were Larry Johnson (25 points), Brandon Lloyd (12), Alex Smith (the rooke Tampa Bay TE, 15 points), Marty Booker (19), and the Giants D (17). Boo-urns.

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I don’t need to say much about the Yankees, because it’s all a little too obvious at this point. That’s the great part about September Baseball: you don’t need to break down the games. A win is a win, a loss is a loss. The former puts you ahead, the latter puts you behind. Simple, straightforward.

Last off-day of the season today, and then we hit the home stretch, playing no one outside the AL East for the remainder of the season. And it all kicks off with the D-Rays.

The Yanks performance against the D-Rays this season defies all logic. How can a team so good be so terrible against the worst team in their division?

What amplifies this whole D-Rays debacle is that it might cost us a playoff berth. Hey, you gotta beat the teams you’re supposed to beat, especially at this point in the season. But the Yanks knocked themselves back a game by dropping two of three to them last week, and there is nothing indicating they won’t suffer the same fate down in Tampa this week.

Twenty games left, and the Yanks had better believe that they need to win at least 16 of them. Sure, 16-4 sounds like a lot to ask, but when you’re in a race like this, every win is going to count. And if you consider that a sweep of the D-Rays is as likely as sweeping the Sox, that means that they need to go 12-2 in 14 games against Baltimore and Toronto. Rough.

If these Yankees have any heart whatsoever, they’ll play these last 20 like they’re the playoffs. And that means going out tomorrow night and making a statement against the D-Rays. If they go out and drop the first one, they’re only going to put themselves in a hole that may be impossible to surmount.

But these are the flippin’ Yankees; nothing should be impossible. They’re supposed to defy the laws of possibility and play on pure Bronx Magic.

It’s nice to dream.