Elster's World

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Wet, Wild and Victorious

The table was set last night for the type of gut wrenching loss that life-long Jet fans know only too well (and that newbies will hopefully not have to discover over the next 10 or 15 years). Fans like Joe and I had really bad feelings about this game. The Jets were playing the Dolphins on a rain soaked Monday night to keep their playoff road in their own hands - a win against Miami and a win next week at home against the putrid Raiders and the Jets would make the playoffs after last year's 4-12 debacle.

But before we get to the game to notes on the Giants (ah suspense):

- Tom Coughlin needs to be fired after the season, regardless of whether or not the Giants somehow back into the playoffs. They have lost 6 of 7 and they are getting increasingly worse as the season wears on. Eli Manning's backwards spiral is the most glaring - but the stupid penalties, awful drops and hideous playcalling all point to the same thing - Coughlin must go. He's lost the team and the fans. Is ownership really going to rely on him turning this thing around next year? The only thing that can save his job (in my opinion) is some against-all-odds type run in the playoffs to the NFC championship game at least.

- Speaking of Manning - Is there a Giant fan in the world (except, perhaps Archie?) who isn't rueing this deal? Would you rather have Manning, who clearly peaked as a QB last season (and even then he wasn't all that good) or the suddenly emerging Phillip Rivers, Shawn Merriman and another high pick? Exactly. His bounce pass out of the backfield to a running back on Sunday was the absolute low point of his season.

Now back to the show:

Last night's game was ugly for the first 40 minutes - Chad Pennington was clearly effected by the rain and Joey Harrington was, well, he was Joey Harrington. I don't know how he still has a job in the league but last night I was sure glad he did. Neither team could move the ball on offense at all and it appeared that Pennington was attempting to kill receiver Laverneous Coles by throwing slow, wobbly balls at places where Coles was getting shellacked by Dolphin defenders. Coles was hit hard three times in the first half, culminating with what appeared (to me at least - Theisman said it was a forearm) to be a helmet to helmet hit by Zach Thomas which dazed Coles and kept him out of the rest of the half. He returned in the second half but was admittedly woozy, ending up with 2 catches for 9 yards.

I ignored the chest pains and watched Pennington, under extreme up the middle pressure, get off his best throw of the night, a 30 something yard strike to Jerricho Cotchery for a huge score. (On a side note, after listening to Tony Kornheiser rip Pennington and his arm all game, it was nice to see Penningotn make a great throw like that. Really Tony, your daughter can throw better than Pennington who has twice led the Jets past the first round of the playoffs and has thrown for more than 3,000 yards this season despite two major shoulder surgeries? Really? Jackass.)

Then all hell broke loose. With the Jets up 10-7, the defense made a huge stop, forcing a punt. A poor punt ensued, but ended up hitting linebacker Brad Kassel's elbow and Miami recovered. For a few minutes as i contemplated another Jets loss at the hands of the cruel, cruel foorball gods, I wondered if Mrs. Elster was going to come down the stairs the following morning to find my carcass on the floor with a Munch-like shreik on my face. With a short field, Miami settled for a field goal and tied the score at 10.

The came the great Leon Washington run and Mike Nugent's big kick and it was all over - the Jets had won a wild one 13-10 and all that was standing beween them and the playoffs was a home game against the Raiders next week.

Some notes from the night:

- Mike Nugent has really turned his season around, making some clutch kicks and hitting a bunch in a row (his streak, I believe is at 15 but I'm not 100% sure) after a terrible start. I'm not saying he was worth a second rounder (he still gets no distance on his kickoffs) but at least he is no longer a complete bust. I'm starting to not feel terrified every tme he trots onto the field and that's something.

- I think the Jets really missed Cedric Houston last night. He is much quicker than Kevan Barlow but just as tough inside. I think he could have been more successful than Barlow.

- The Monday Night Football crew is terrible - especially Tony Kornheiser who adds nothing to the show. They have no chemistry and made the broadcast paindul to watch. The sideline interview with the Williams sisters was some of the most horrible television ever produced.

- You really have to hand it to Chad Pennington. Despite being really thrown off by the rain and his throws looking bad, he managed to show up when it counted - converting 2 huge third downs with his legs and a couple more with his arm - as well as making a tremendous throw to Cotchery under pressure for the touchdown.

And so it comes down to next week. The Jets contol their playoff destiny and are playing a Raiders team which is probably intentionally tanking it at this point to secure the number one pick in the draft next year.

So why do I have such a bad feeling about next week's game?

11 Comments:

  • 1. "Tom Coughlin needs to be fired after the season"

    I disagree. He's a good coach with dysfunctional players, sort of like Bobby V after 2002. I'd give him another year.

    2. Agree about Manning.

    3. "Pennington was attempting to kill receiver Laverneous Coles"

    I think the play on which Coles was hurt was a good pass, just great play by Zach Thomas. And yes it was a helmet to helmet hit, but that rule only applies against the Jets, not for them.

    4. "listening to Tony Kornheiser rip Pennington and his arm all game"

    It was outrageous. Pennington was bad for the first 2 1/2 quarters, but it's clear that Kornheiser hasn't seen him at all this season. I don't know whether Pennington can ever lead the Jets to a Super Bowl, but if the Jets win next week, it'll mean that every season Chad has been healthy, he's led the Jets to the playoffs.

    On the Leon Washington catch and run he kept saying that it was a 3 yard pass. So what? Should Pennington have forced it over the middle into double coverage a la Eli Manning?

    ESPN was horrible all game.

    5. "Miami settled for a field goal and tied the score at 10."

    6. "I'm starting to not feel terrified every tme he trots onto the field and that's something"

    I could not watch the game winning kick. When the Jets called timeout I changed to Letterman for an agonizing two minutes.

    7. "The sideline interview with the Williams sisters was some of the most horrible television ever produced."

    Especially the first question - whether they're excited about the Jets.

    8. " a Raiders team which is probably intentionally tanking it at this point to secure the number one pick in the draft next year."

    I think they have the #1 pick clinched.

    9. "why do I have such a bad feeling about next week's game?"

    Same here. Short week for Jets, long week for Raiders. Jets played 2-12 Bills in 2001 at home with a chance to clinch, and lost.



    Jets were damn lucky that on 3rd and 14 the Dolphins came up 1/2 yard short.

    6.

    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 10:22 AM  

  • Joe on point 1 - Coughlin's insane sideline rants show he is as dysfunctional as his players. I hate to compare, but have you ever seen Mangini yell at someone like Coughlin does? Parcells gives you the icy stare. THAT's how you do it.

    By Blogger Elster, at 10:49 AM  

  • Parcells used to rant too.

    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 10:52 AM  

  • "Used to" as in as he matured and got older and wiser, he stopped. I have no problems with coaches who are screamers EXCEPT in situations where you call out a guy before he even gets off the field in front of the whole world (like coughlin did with Kalawinalika (or whatever his name is). Those types of rants are idiotic. He totaly lost control.

    Paralel to the Bengals game when they missed the extra point to tie - Marvin Lewis (whose team is in a state of breakdown) went over the special teams coach and said one sentence - angrily but he held it togewther - then clapped his hands in encouragement as the team ran off the field.

    By Blogger Elster, at 11:26 AM  

  • "Used to" as in as he matured and got older and wiser, he stopped."

    He won his 2 Super Bowls when he was, in your words, less mature, younger, and stupider.

    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 11:55 AM  

  • Again - I have no problem with a yeller coach - I would say that my favorite NFL coach is probably Bill Cower. But Coughlin loses control - that's the difference.

    By the way - How far do the Jets have to go to make you come out of retirement? Playoffs? Out oif the first round? AFC Championship? SB?

    By Blogger Elster, at 12:10 PM  

  • I am staying in retirement, but responding to comments to my last post.

    If the Jets make it to the Super Bowl I will come out of retirement.

    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 12:25 PM  

  • Say it aint so Joe. This cannot be the end!!

    (Note how little confidence I have at the idea of the Jets making the Super Bowl - though my long term expectations are higher than usual, my "this year" expectations are more in the line of: we can definately upset New England (we have already once) or Indy (we owe Payton a little payback and Indy can be beaten)BUT let's hope we get out of San Diego having lost by less than 20 OR let's hope we get out of Baltimore with everyone on the 53 man roster (namely Mr. Pennington) still alive and in one piece.

    By Blogger Elster, at 12:30 PM  

  • Peyton and close Paren

    By Blogger Elster, at 12:31 PM  

  • I think San Diego can be beaten. They've been a bit shaky too. I'd give the Jets a 20 percent chance against them.

    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 2:13 PM  

  • I can only talk Giants. I'm not usually a naysayer, but let's face it: Coughlin was a poor choice from day 1. He's not a great play caller. He's a disciplinarian and never lasts anywhere past a few seasons because this league requires either bone shattering defense or good play calling. Once a disciplinarian has a team that has this many penalties-- many personal fouls-- they're out.
    He's just not a great coach. To have Tiki Barber healthy the whole season and have an 8-8 record (hopefully), that's just poor coaching.
    As for Eli Manning, he could work out. He'll never be great, but with a good QB coach he could be adequate. Hey, I love Phil Simms, but he wasn't exactly Joe Montana.
    As far as great QBing goes, I have just 2 syllables.
    Drew Breeze. He is having an amazing season.
    Larry Stiefel

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:41 PM  

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