MIAMI GARDENS – The Blame Game is convenient and predictable when things spiral out of control. There aren’t enough fingers on a human hand to point out the culprits on this Sunday. The latest example of this mess of a Jets season had plenty of guilty parties, after all.
Was it Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson, who sat out the first quarter due to a “coach’s decision” (aka – disciplinary reasons for a team infraction during the week)?
Was it Buster Skrine, Calvin Pryor or Richardson, who each committed personal fouls in the first half?
Was it Antonio Allen, whose off-sides penalty (that he claims wasn’t a penalty at all) opened the door for a soul-crushing 96-yard kickoff return in the final minutes to seal his team’s fate?
The truth is that all of them had a hand in a 27-23 back-breaking loss to the Dolphins that sucked the life out of eternal optimists that bleed green and white, but nothing must sting more than knowing that the two most important pieces to this 2016 puzzle have underachieved.
A year after Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brandon Marshall played starring roles in a 10-win season, the duo didn’t deliver in a defeat that sealed the Jets fate. It’s really over, people. This 3-6 team will not run the table and make the playoffs.
The postseason drought continues.
“This whole year falls on Fitz and I,” Marshall said. “We’re the leaders on that side of the ball and we’re not getting it done. It’s extremely disappointing to be in this situation.”
Ryan Fitzpatrick has been a major disappointment this season.
It’s unfair to only blame the quarterback and star receiver for all the Jets problems, but there’s no denying that they have not elevated their play at a time when Todd Bowles desperately needed it.
Fitzpatrick exhibited toughness by returning from a left knee injury suffered late in the third quarter, but threw a pair of second-half interceptions to make life difficult for his team. Marshall finished with just six receptions for 45 yards.
“We had opportunity after opportunity and didn’t get it done,” said Fitzpatrick, who went 17-for-28 for 193 yards, 1 TD and 2 INTs. “That’s a frustrating one, especially for us on offense.”
Fitzpatrick and Marshall’s Vulcan Mind Meld is gone. Everything worked to near perfection during a franchise-record setting season. Now, something is not quite right. Nothing has been quite right for the first nine weeks.
Marshall is on pace for 40 fewer catches, 462 fewer yards and 10 fewer touchdowns than last season. That’s mind-boggling considering that the 32-year-old still has the skills of a much younger man.
Fitzpatrick is two interceptions away from matching his 2016 total with seven games left.
Although Eric Decker’s season-ending injury had a ripple effect for both of them, it’s still reasonable to expect better production. On a day when Wilkerson and Richardson eschewed post-game queries, Fitzpatrick and Marshall held themselves accountable for the latest stain on a season filled with them.
Brandon Marshall fails to haul in a pass.
“It all falls on the quarterback,” said Fitzpatrick, who went 5 for 11 for 82 yards and two turnovers in the second half. “There’s a lot of things that I could have done better today and didn’t.”
He missed a pair of open receivers (Robby Anderson and Marshall) on the opening drive that should have netted a touchdown. He failed to see Miami defensive tackle Jordan Phillips drop into coverage on his first interception. He had a miscommunication with Anderson in the end zone on a fourth-quarter pick. He simply didn’t play good enough to overcome all the blunders around him.
Marshall’s frustration bubbled over to the sideline when cameras caught him directly voicing his displeasure at his favorite teammate.
“You guys know how I feel about Fitz,” Marshall said. “I stood on the table for him this whole offseason. I would do it again. That wouldn’t change. (But) we’re here to produce. This falls on him and I. We have to make plays…. There was much on the line today…. Every single play counts. Every single drive counts. So, things got a little heated.…. We’re fighting, scratching, clawing to get things going.”
It never did though.
“It’s just part of our relationship,” Fitzpatrick said. “There’s lots of ups and downs during the game. There were lots of them last year when we were winning all of those games. The great thing about him is he’s just a crazy competitor. He wants the ball on every play. There’s nothing to read into it…. We understand each other.”
Even though Marshall maintained that “there’s still hope,” he knows better. They both do. This season is over. There will be no miracle run. There will be no magic.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News