Jets Drift, Giants Thud in NFL Season Finals

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We brought in experts to answer a vital question as part of a weekly service to readers: Are the Jets and Giants still good?

Devin Gordon, author of “So Many Ways to Lose: The Amazin ‘True Story of the New York Mets, the Best Worst Team in Sports,” offered his locally focused observations.

Diante Lee, NFL analyst at Pro Football Focus, presented a distant view from the league’s perspective.

With their two best quarterbacks missing, the Giants (4-13) could only score in the fourth quarter, on the 22-yard touchdown pass from Jake Fromm to Darius Slayton, and ended the regular season with a loss of 22-7 against the Washington football team. (7-10) in East Rutherford, NJ

Hundreds of thousands of sports fans in the New York metropolitan area have logged in to watch third quarterback Jake Fromm and the Giants close another lost season on Sunday afternoon, and I’d like to use this space to address all of these people. directly:

Why?

To what end? For what possible purpose? I got paid by the New York Times. What was your excuse? Self-loathing? Force of habit? Ironic detachment?

Please don’t try to shift the conversation to the fans who showed up in person at MetLife Stadium – I admire them. One can only assume that they bought their tickets months in advance with the adorable idea that NFC East was available for the taking or could boil down to this showdown, in which a young double threat, Daniel Jones, would face Washington. Aging football gunslinger Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Instead, they got stuck with an in-person sight of Jake Fromm versus Taylor Heinicke.

These fans are legends, especially those who stayed to watch Fromm throw his second interception of the game in the final game of the season. But for viewers, who had the option to change channels, I ask again:

Why?

This Giants game had no playoff implications. It offered no glimpse into the future, since most of these giants will not return. The next time Washington plays a regular season game, the team will be called something else. It was a game between ghosts. Dull, low-scoring ghosts.

The Washington Soon-to-Be-Something-Else won 22-7, and the Giants’ first 17th regular-season game was just a bad football bonus week, the NFL equivalent of a free donut. but stale. And if you watched it, you ate it.

Verdict: In honor of this dreadful season, how about a dreadful pun? This one was over from the start.

Third and 9, back to the 4-yard line, there are few good options. The odds of converting a first down are low, but bad things happen when a bettor’s heels are on the edge of the end line. Most teams in such a position execute a screen, a quick throw on or behind the line of scrimmage, or hand the ball over and take whatever the defense concedes. There is a fancy way to ditch a car trip.

But the giants?

The Giants decided to put three players in the backfield with quarterback Jake Fromm, creating a body phalanx, and advanced with a stealth quarterback – for a gain of a yard – before releasing the unit. clearance. Fans in the stadium let out their moans and mockeries, fed up with a home team that has been going through the moves for weeks.

What was there to feel good?

Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham has adapted and evolved over the season, blitzing more often and keeping defensive end Leonard Williams able to influence games. The defense fought week after week. Daniel Jones, when he was in good health, was not the same revenue machine he was in seasons past. Saquon Barkley ended the season, for shouting out loud!

With a few shadows, it wouldn’t have been difficult to envision a much better result for the 2021 season than the dismal 4-13 record that resulted.

It doesn’t matter what Coach Joe Judge was talking about the day after this last week, but I’ll give Judge this: he’s not a liar. Giants are closer to their goals now, kind of like that stealthy quarterback.

From 96 yards to 95. All progress is positive, I guess.

Verdict: I’m going to pretend I’ve never watched a Giants snap in the 2021 season.

Buffalo (11-6) opened the game in the fourth quarter, when Devin Singletary scored two touchdowns in less than nine minutes to give the final score, 27-10. Zach Wilson has been sacked eight times and threw for 87 yards on 7 of 20 passes for the Jets (4-13).

Somehow, after everything the Jets have endured in the past few months – the losses, injuries, scoring issues, the NFL’s worst defense, the signing of Joe Flacco, the job of Tom Brady Choke – An upbeat ending to this Jetsiest of Seasons was still here for the taking at Buffalo.

Look, the playoffs were never in the cards for the Jets. The quarterback was a rookie. The head coach was a rookie. Their best players were all children. The focus this season was growth.

So how did the Jets do it? Well, they’ve gone from two wins last season to four wins this season. They went from a top-10 pick in last year’s draft to of them Top 10 picks this year. (Thanks Seattle!) Their salary cap has dropped from $ 15 million last summer to around $ 49 million as summer 2022 approaches.

All the Jets had to do to increase their fan base was scare the Buffalo Bills, who could clinch their second straight AFC East title with a home win. They didn’t even have to to beat the Bills – just look at how Jets fans reacted by almost beating Brady’s Buccaneers. A close game would be more than enough to sink those hopeful juices as we head into spring.

So how did the Jets do it? Well, no matter how many times Bills punter Matt Haack tried to postpone the game, Zach Wilson kept returning it. His only big play of the afternoon, a 40-yard touchdown pass to Keelan Cole, probably should have been intercepted. The Jets have young talent, strong draft picks and money to spend, but the optimism will have to wait.

Verdict: The Jets were also lucky enough to overtake the Giants as the most watchable team, but they also missed it.

I never would have said that at any other time in my life: I like the Jets.

When things were looking at their lowest, coach Robert Saleh found a way to keep his head up in the locker room – and he never had to fake a folk accent to convince people he was still in control. The Jets ran sleight of hand galore, cut back on quarterback Zach Wilson’s playbook and reads, gave young rookies a chance to grow up, and played (almost) every late-game opponent. season up close.

It takes a bit of imaginative work, but I think I see a future for this franchise. Sunday’s 27-10 loss to the Bills meant nothing other than extra reps for the Jets offense to find its identity.

This offseason, however, acquiring veteran talent in skill positions should be high on the franchise’s to-do list: no one should be subjected to those receiving or cornerback corps again. Young offensive talent will improve, as their growth parallels age (and contract) trajectories. And with the release of Shaq Lawson, and the Jets holding the No.4 and 10 picks in the April draft, they should be able to find an edge rusher to team up with Quinnen Williams.

It wouldn’t be a recap of your favorite underdog without the reminder that Wilson is probably closer to becoming Baker Mayfield than Justin Herbert, but we can put that chicane aside for now.

I grab a chair next to you Jets fans and can’t wait to watch this rebuild together.

Verdict: For no real reason, the Jets are watchable!

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