The New York Jets just recently wrapped up their best season as a team in six years. Ironically, that was under the same head coach who just ended their playoff chances this year, Rex Ryan.
Everyone understands that the Jets controlled their own destiny going into the final week of the season. They had to beat the Buffalo Bills in a tough road game.
Over the last three seasons, the Bills are now 10-2 against the Jets and Dolphins but 17-24 against the rest of the league. This game had upset written all over it, especially with the windy conditions in Buffalo.
However, the Jets had proved time and time again that they had character, they were on a five game winning streak and had come from behind to win multiple times.
Yet, late in the fourth quarter, Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has never made the playoffs in his career, ended up making some costly mistakes. The second interception he threw wasn’t all his fault and the last one he threw was at the end of the game with little time left.
However, the first interception with less than five minutes to go was classic Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick stared down Eric Decker like he’s been known to do and Leodis McKelvin stepped in front of him to end the drive.
The Jets have had some disappointing losses in the history of the franchise but this one is one of the worst.
Only the Jets would be able to put together a team that finished with a top 10 defense and offense, a 1,000 yard receiver, a 1,000 yard rusher and a quarterback that throws 30 TDs and still not make the playoffs.
Part of it was because the AFC was great overall, but the Jets still had a chance to get it done and they didn’t.
At the end of the game, all seemed lost of the New York Jets. However, with less than 30 seconds left, Fitzpatrick heaved up a pass to Kenbrell Thompkins and it looked like for a split second he reeled it in. Thompkins basically had a clear path to the endzone with no one around, but just like that, Mario Butler makes a game saving play.
Butler came flying in as Thompkins tries to move the ball away from Butler but it looks like the opposite happened.
Thompkins moves the ball to his right side to shield it from Butler but he still gets there anyway. Kenbrell Thompkins was inches away from being a New York Jets folk hero.
Which begs the question, what if he did actually catch that pass and score?
That would have a been a play that Jets fans could never forget. The Jets really don’t have very exciting, franchise changing moments.
Obviously Super Bowl III comes to mind but that is so long ago, there’s the Monday Night Miracle against the Dolphins in 2000 and the Jets beating the Patriots and Colts in the postseason under Rex Ryan.
This catch from Thompkins would have been similar to that because the Jets would have had plenty of momentum going into their wild card matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals.
This would easily be one of the best matchups of the playoffs between two teams who are almost identical. Both teams are balanced on offense with a star receivers, they both play great defense and they both have inconsistent quarterbacks.
Unfortunately for Bengals fans, Andy Dalton has become a classic case of a quarterback who wins in the regular season and plays terribly in the playoffs.
In five of the last six seasons, the Bengals have made the playoffs and lost in the wild card round. They’ve also managed 10 or more wins in their last four seasons and still haven’t won a playoff game.
The question of this game would be which Andy Dalton is going to show up for the Bengals? The Jets would be without Muhammed Wilkerson due to the broken leg he suffered near the end of the Bills game but Damon “Snacks” Harrison is a serviceable replacement.
There would be so many question marks between two franchises who just can’t seem to win the big game or have any luck when they need it.
To me the game would be a toss up, and it doesn’t matter whether Cincinnati has hosted that wild card game or not, they haven’t gotten it done. Honestly, knowing the Jets luck, they would probably be the team that the Bengals beat and finally end this horrific playoff run.
However, I still would take the Jets because the key to beating the Bengals is running the ball and with Chris Ivory in the backfield along with Bilal Powell and Stevan Ridley, they’d be tough to stop.
Darrelle Revis might not completely shut down A.J. Green but would at least have a good chance of containing him. Antonio Cromartie would matchup with tight end Tyler Eifert which isn’t a bad thing for the gang green. The Jets have the best rush defense in the NFL so there’s not many options the Bengals would have.
A win for the Jets would take them to Denver to play Peyton Manning and the Broncos. That’s another winnable game for the Jets considering their style of play under Todd Bowles. T
he advantage for Denver would be the climate and their defense which could force some mistakes from Ryan Fitzpatrick.
If Kenbrell Thompkins makes that catch, I would like to hope that the Jets would win at least one playoff game but anything can happen.
A Jets win would have meant that the Pittsburgh Steelers would be the ones sitting at home on the couch instead of the Jets. A 10 win season wouldn’t have been a complete loss for the Steelers.
The worst thing that might have happened is another Instagram rant (language NSFW) from Snoop Dogg. The Steelers would have been just fine going into the offseason after a record setting year on offense.
The only thing Pittsburgh would have to worry about is which players they want to re-sign for next season. Fullback Will Johnson would likely be kept to lead the way for Le’Veon Bell next season.
The future of Michael Vick would be up in the air after he played in four games this season.
The real issue would be bringing back players in the secondary, Will Allen has one year left on his deal and he’s 33. There’s also free safety Robert Golden, and cornerbacks Antwon Blake and Ross Cockrell who also one year left on their contract.
The Steelers generally draft well, and there should be plenty of secondary help within the first couple of rounds in the draft.
Kenbrell Thompkins dropped pass caused a crazy domino effect that only involved two teams. If the Chiefs hadn’t gone on a 10 game winning streak then things would have really been interesting in the AFC playoff picture.
The New York Jets and their fans will have to wait till next season for the team to try and make the playoffs under Todd Bowles. It’s safe to say that after the way this season went, expectations will be high.
Hopefully guys like Ryan Fitzpatrick can repeat most of what he was able to accomplish this season. The rest of the team is solid in every area so it’ll all come down to the quarterback going forward.