Jets-Giants showdown loses luster

BY foxsports • December 20, 2011

What a week in the NFL. And it’s only going to get crazier. The Giants and Jets limp into their Christmas Eve showdown. The Titans and Raiders embarrass themselves. We offer up hefty praise for the NFC West. And I get Norved.

We are all over the insanity, Schein 9 style.

1. The monologue

New Yuk, New Yuk.

It was actually supposed to be rather simple. The Jets were going to beat the Eagles.

The Giants were going to thrash the Redskins. The Giants would enter the Saturday showdown on FOX as a first-place team. And the script said the Jets would continue to prove they were a strong playoff team with legit visions of getting back to championship Sunday.

Now, the rest of the country is laughing at the football teams in the Big Apple. The Giants and Jets put forth inexplicable, flat, pathetic, inept, grotesque performances in Week 15. The Giants actually trailed the awful Skins by 20 in the fourth quarter. The Jets were down 28-0 in the second quarter to the previously five-win, nightmarish Eagles. Rex Ryan’s big, bad defense allowed 45 points. The Giants are in second place and could be extinct if they lose this week. The Jets are hanging onto a playoff spot by virtue of something called strength of victory.

Fans are distraught, and rightly so. It’s one thing to lose. But it is how the Giants and Jets just got embarrassed. Two guys, in particular, really embarrassed themselves and their franchises.

Antrel Rolle can’t stay out of his own way. Last week, during his weekly radio interview on WFAN in New York City, he kept repeating that he wasn’t to blame for a Dez Bryant touchdown, passing the buck to Corey Webster and other teammates. Rolle was ripping the intelligent and talented Cris Collinsworth for his direct and accurate commentary that the Giants defense was getting “barbecued.”

What Rolle couldn’t grasp was that the team won. Who cares what happened on the Bryant touchdown? Shut up and move on. During the same interview, he reiterated that the Giants, who lost in Washington in Week 1, would beat the Skins “99 out of 100 times.”

Talking to Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman on SiriusXM NFL Radio the Monday after the Skins shut up Rolle and the Giants, Grossman said that Washington was highly motivated by the Rolle jabs. Mike Shanahan played up the comments all week.

Grossman told us on the SiriusXM Blitz: "Definitely (disrespected), how can you take that comment any other way? Ninety-nine out of 100 times they are going to beat us? And we beat them two in a row this year. I am not going to the casino with him anytime soon."

Considering Rolle missed key tackles the week after he got embarrassed by Dallas, he might want to zip it. Rolle also couldn’t help himself postgame, wondering aloud about teammates not practicing during the week. It was easy to infer he was talking about leader Justin Tuck. What a mess.

On the flip side, Santonio Holmes wore the goat horns for his play and his selfish, asinine behavior. On the Jets' first possession, Holmes fumbled, and the ball was returned for a Philly score. This was everything. The Eagles were a wobbly team that hadn’t played a home game since the Patriots debacle when the crowd was chanting “Fire Andy.” Holmes gave the Eagles momentum, got the crowd into it and took the Jets out of their run-first plan.

The Jets got a break when a member of the Eagles' punt coverage team foolishly ran into the ball, recovered by New York. Mark Sanchez tried to take advantage by throwing to Holmes in the red zone, but the receiver, inexplicably, dropped it and the ball ricocheted into Asante Samuel’s hands. A 7-0 score became 14-0, which quickly turned into 28-0.

When the Jets finally scored their first touchdown of the game to make it 28-10 on Sanchez's pass to Holmes, the Jets captain embarrassed himself and channeled his inner Brandon Jacobs. He celebrated by mocking the Eagles mascot waving his arms. It was selfish and foolish on so many levels. Hey, Santonio, you might want to look at the scoreboard. You might want to recall that you are the reason for your team’s inept start. And then postgame, Holmes said he never considered just handing the ball to the refs. That’s amazing.

Rolle and Holmes weren’t the only reasons for the Week 15 meltdowns.

Giants quarterback Eli Manning, having an elite season, played his worst game of 2011. Hakeem Nicks dropped a sure-fire touchdown in the first quarter. I thought that was the turning point of the game. Coordinator Perry Fewell’s defense was relatively clueless, again. Rookie cornerback Prince Amukamara was so bad he was benched.

The Jets' defense was horrible and continues to get abused by the tight end. Free safety Eric Smith and linebacker Bart Scott were invisible, which is par for the course. Wayne Hunter was manhandled at right tackle. In a related story, the sun came up. And for good measure, Sanchez played hot potato with the football.

What a time for a pseudo-must-win game! What a time for all eyes to be on the rotten apple!

And what would a week in New York be without some good old Rex Ryan trash talk? He announced on Monday on a conference call that the Jets were better than the Giants. And I think the Giants might be a tad motivated by Ryan writing in his book this offseason that the Jets are the "big brothers" to the Giants in New York City.

It’s impossible to feel good about either team right now. Manning has had an excellent season and gives the Giants a major edge at quarterback this week. But Nicks and Victor Cruz could be locked up by Jets cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie. Jake Ballard and Bear Pascoe are hurt, so the Giants don’t have the obligatory tight end to burn the Jets.

I think running back Shonn Greene can pound the Giants' defense and Sanchez can “barbecue” the Giants' pass defense. Giants coach Tom Coughlin has a ring, but Ryan has proven in the past two years that his team plays its best with its back to the wall. Someone has to win. The Giants have struggled mightily in the second half this year, just like last season. I thought the Dallas win would prove to be a turning point. It didn’t last seven days. I’ll take the Jets 27-23.

The game could’ve had such a different feel. Instead it’s Coughlin on the hot seat, Fewell on the hot seat, Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer on the hot seat and just hoping your team actually shows up to play.

2. Can’t make it up

The Raiders were up 13 to the Lions in the fourth quarter. It looked as if this was going to be a rather big win since Oakland owns a wild-card tiebreaker with the Jets after beating them head-to-head. Hue Jackson foolishly put all of his eggs into the 2011 basket with the irresponsible Carson Palmer deal. So, of course, the Raiders blew it. Blame Jackson. Blame defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan. Blame the players. That was a debacle.

3. Amateur Hour

The Colts packed it in a long time ago. The Titans had a great opportunity to steal a playoff spot. I don’t want to hear excuses. I don’t want to hear this is a rebuilding year. You simply cannot fall to 7-7 and miss a chance to tie the Jets for the sixth seed by losing to the previously winless Colts.

4. Color me impressed

Let’s be sure to give credit to the Cardinals and Seahawks for both improving to 7-7. As we wrote on Friday’s Sizzle/Fizzle” column, the two NFC West teams are doing it with defense and attitude.

We talked to Arizona defensive coordinator Ray Horton on the SiriusXM Blitz on Monday, and he said the big difference in the defense now is that the players are familiar with the system for the first time.

And the Seahawks thumped the overmatched Bears in Chicago. Running back Leon Washington told us on SiriusXM NFL Radio that Seattle is playing, “tough, physical complementary football with great confidence.” That’s been evident since the Baltimore game.

What a great turnaround for both teams out west.

5. I’m a genius/moron

I still believe in Tim Tebow. I still believe the Broncos will win the AFC West. But that was a step up in class on Sunday against Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the Patriots. You can’t be stunned with the result.

I also said the Chiefs had a 0 percent chance to beat the previously undefeated Packers. About that . . .

6. Perspective

I am hearing a ton of hyperbole in the 24 hours after the Packers lost. Green Bay is vulnerable! We have a race for league MVP!

Injuries on the offensive line can hurt the Packers, but they are still clearly the Super Bowl favorites.

And let’s not overreact to the Packers losing in KC. Aaron Rodgers is the most VALUABLE player in the NFL, and it isn’t even close. Yes, Drew Brees is having an epic season and is only 304 yards away from Dan Marino’s record for yards in a season. Brees is the offensive player of the year. I will vote Rodgers for MVP.

7. Guys

Romeo Crennel: I had the chills watching the Chiefs players dump the Gatorade bucket on their interim coach in his first game since Todd Haley was fired. Before the Quinn/Anderson insanity in Cleveland, Romeo actually did a good job in his first stint as a head coach. He’s part of that Pioli tree. I hope he gets a long look to keep the gig.

Roddy White: Sunday proved to be “Upset Sunday” in the NFL. It was a great job by White and the Falcons avoiding the chaos by blasting the Jaguars on Thursday night.

Jason Babin: The Eagles' star defensive end was dominant against Sanchez and the Jets, padding his league-leading sack total. Babin was on the SiriusXM Blitz on Monday, and he gave a ton of credit to line coach Jim Washburn, and yes, maligned defensive coordinator Juan Castillo.

Norv Turner: It’s like I always say. You don’t mess with Norv in a big spot. Or something like that.

Jim Harbaugh: That was an outstanding, physical win over the Steelers to stay in control for the No. 2 seed in the NFC. What an incredible coaching job by Harbaugh all season long.

8. Goats

Joe Flacco: Totally unacceptable performance on Sunday night.

Ryan Fitzpatrick: His play since the contract extension has been shockingly awful.

Ben Roethlisberger: I know he was hurt. But he played and tossed three awful interceptions on Monday night in a game where the Steelers were playing to control their destiny to get a No. 1 seed. That was rough.

Raheem Morris: If you thought the Bucs were going to be ready on Saturday night after getting blasted by Jacksonville the week before, you thought wrong!

Vikings' defense: I know it is the Saints. But that was awful.

9. Three nuggets of wisdom

• Curious to know what Bears fans, or football fans in general, think of Jay Cutler now after watching his team embarrass itself without him. Cutler is a big-time, tough quarterback.

• The T.J. Yates story is romantic. But don’t confuse things. Matt Schaub is the Texans quarterback when healthy.

• Horton told us that when the game is close in Arizona, it is “Skelton time.” We laughed, but John Skelton is 4-1 as a starter this year. Horton also said Patrick Peterson has the potential to be a combination of Devin Hester and Deion Sanders by the time his career is done.



share