By Brad Carroll
The New York Jets found a new way to lose in this miserable season, allowing an 87-yard touchdown pass in overtime to drop a 30-24 decision to the Minnesota Vikings Sunday afternoon. The Jets fell to 2-11 on the season and are now tied with four other teams for the record in the league. Of course, that's a great thing for the Jets, as they need to draft a new quarterback, and the only way to do that is to get as close to the No. 1 pick as possible.
Right now, the draft order would be: No. 1 Tampa Bay. No. 2 Tennessee. No. 3 Jacksonville. No. 4 Jets. No. 5 Oakland. The Raiders victory over San Francisco Sunday might have felt great, but it dropped them from No. 1 to No. 5 in the draft. The Jets need to get ahead of Tampa Bay and Tennessee, both quarterback needy teams, to guarantee they can get Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston.
But there was a game Sunday and we have the player and coaches breakdown, handing out Game Balls and Game Falls from the team's 11th loss of the season.
Geno Smith: Nothing he can do over the final games of the season should convince anyone he can play quarterback at a high level in this league, because he can't, but we'll give credit where credit is due. Smith played well against Minnesota, especially considering how poorly the game started, as he threw a pick-six on the first play of the game. Smith ended 18-of-29 for 254 yards with a touchdown and the interception. He led six scoring drives. The problem was only one of those six drives ended in a touchdown. So, Smith played well, but don't be fooled into believing he can start next year.
Sheldon Richardson: In this terrible season there is a huge chance players could start to go through the motions and count the days until the offseason. Richardson isn't one of those players. The reigning defensive rookie of the year has talked a big game and has backed it up on the field. Against the Vikings, Richardson had three sacks, including one that resulted in a safety early in the game. He added seven total tackles and had four quarterback hits. Richardson is one of the few brights spots on the team this season.
Percy Harvin: He saved his best game for his former team. Harvin caught six passes for 124 yards and a touchdown. He averaged 20.7 yard per catch, which is unheard of in the Rex Ryan era. Harvin also averaged 27.3 yard on four kick returns. He did hurt his ankle, however, and was walking on crutches after the game, so things didn't exactly end on a high note. The playmaker would be welcomed back to the team next season, but he'd have to likely take a huge paycut to do so.
Jaiquawn Jarrett: The star of the Steelers game hasn't had anywhere near the success since, and for the second time, Jarrett winds up on the Game Falls list following the Pittsburgh game. This time, Jarrett winds up here because of his missed tackle near the line of scrimmage on Jarius Wright's eventual 87-yard touchdown catch and run for the game-winning score in overtime. Make the tackle, and the game continues, and the Jets would have a great shot to win, considering the bad field position the Vikings had. Jarrett's gaffe wasn't the only cause for defeat, it was just the one that ended the game, which is obviously huge.
Chris Ivory: Twice on one drive, Ivory fumbled, the first recovered by the offense, but the second one didn't end up so lucky. With the Jets facing a second and three from the Minnesota five, Ivory got the ball knocked free again from his hands on a play that likely would have been a touchdown. The Vikings recovered and held on to a 21-12 lead early in the second quarter. Ivory did end up rushing 16 times for 73 yards, a 4.6 yard per carry average. But it's hard to let go fumbling twice on one drive, especially one which cost the team a touchdown.
Darrin Walls: The Jets secondary stinks, if you haven't heard, and Walls is no exception. He was beaten on a 56-yard touchdown pass from Teddy Bridgewater to Charles Johnson that gave the Vikings a 14-9 lead with about five minutes to go in the first quarter. Just another bad play by the secondary.
Rex Ryan: He took the blame for the final touchdown by Minnesota, as his Cover Zero defensive call backfired, with Bridgewater noticing the blitz and switching the play to a wide receiver screen. The audible obviously worked, going 87 yards for a touchdown. The play call wouldn't have mattered if Jarrett made the tackle after a short gain, but Ryan got beat by a rookie quarterback in this situation. Ryan might end up on CBS or ESPN as a television analyst next year.
Quinton Coples: He had one tackle in the game and will most likely be playing the final three games of his Jets career this season. Coples had a strong start after being a first round draft pick, but has fallen so far the Jets will let him walk.