By Lenn Robbins
All Hail the Green and White.
For a franchise that has been pursuing the No.1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft for the last two months, the Jets are making good by taking bad to new lows. Henry Ruggs III, you speed demon out of Alabama, where can we send the Veuve Clicquot?
In this case it took a stunning, shocking, unspeakable last-second loss to the Las Vegas Raiders to get Jets fans out of bed Monday morning, comforted by the knowledge that their team remains on track to choose from a group of wonderful college quarterback prospects.
The winless Jets, a comedy of ownership, management, coach, and player errors, were about to throw away that one glimmer of joy known as Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields, or Kyle Trask, or, Kellen Mond, – remember this is the franchise that drafted Ken O’Brien over Dan Marino.
Leading 28-24 with five seconds left (:05!) the Jets had the Raiders at midfield with no timeouts remaining. With the exception of a Hail Mary- there’s no Gang Green fan that believes a prayer can be answered – the Jets were going to blow the No.1 pick.
But these are the Jets. This is why their fans can’t quit. Just when they think they are done with this unhealthy lifestyle, the Jets – apologies to Al Pacino – pull them back in.
This time the Jets blitzed David Carr, a sound decision considering the Raiders quarterback had looked horrible on his last possession. And getting pressure on a mediocre quarterback is always smart in our book.
All the defensive backs had to do was keep the Vegas receivers from getting behind. All they had to do was stay between the receiver and end zone.
Carr got some pressure, stepped up and lofted a glorious spiral to Ruggs III who had gotten about V yards behind cornerback Lamar Jackson. We can blame Jackson, who is a rookie, but every football player from Pop Warner up knows to keep everything in front of you. We can blame defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, but he would just blame the offense.
The blame game is the wrong one here. There is no one to blame. On the contrary. Jets fans should be celebrating. There should be a parade around MetLife Stadium. The No.1 pick still belongs to the Jets!
The one-loss Jacksonville Jaguars were flirting with their second win of the season, which would have made this moot, but they lost in overtime to the Vikings. The Jets just have to keep on losing. And they did!
The loss might have been a bit jarring in the moment. When your team is up four, with five seconds remaining, and the first victory since December 29th is almost in the books, it’s natural to feel some relief if not joy by the prospect of a win. But like that last shot that seemed so desirable on Friday night, there’s the painful reality known as Saturday morning.
That won’t be you, my dear Jets fan, come Monday morning. You will wake up one loss closer to a franchise quarterback. You will debate the merits of Lawrence, Fields and Trask. Your holiday season, pandemic aside, can still be filled with egg nog, tree trimming, menorah lighting.
In the span of five second the Jets did what has never been done before – they went from winners to bigger winners.