When: Sunday, 1:05 p.m., CenturyLink Field
Record: 3-5 after losing 30-9 to the Dolphins on Oct. 28, the week before their bye; the Jets have lost two in a row and four of their past five.
Where they rank: No. 27 on offense (14th rushing, tied for 25th passing); No. 16 on defense (29th rushing, 6th passing)
TV: CBS (KIRO/7 in the greater Seattle area), with Marv Albert and Rich Gannon
Series: Seahawks lead 9-8, including a victory in the last meeting – 13-3 in Seattle on Dec. 21, 2008, in Mike Holmgren’s finale home game as coach of the Seahawks. That snapped the Jets’ five-game winning streak.
Star power: Tim Tebow. The backup QB? The Tebowmania that followed him from the University of Florida to the Broncos and then to the Big Apple after the Jets traded for Tebow in March has subsided a bit. That will happen when you’ve only touched the ball 26 times in eight games (2 of 3 passing for 32 yards and 23 carries for 78 yards). But the Jets fans and even the media continue to clamor for more. Bing “Tim Tebow” and the first three items involve the need to be creative in using him more; three ways to better use him; and a look back at coach Rex Ryan’s statement that he would take a “hard look” during the team’s bye week at using him more. Fanning those we-want-more flames is the fact that the Jets have scored more than 23 points only once since their season opener, and also that Mark Sanchez is completing 52.9 percent of his passes.
Unsung hero: Joe McKnight. The third-year returner/runner played for Seahawks coach Pete Carroll at USC. Sunday, he’ll play a dual role in the Jets’ matchup with his former coach’s new team. McKnight is averaging 29.3 yards on 20 kickoff returns, including a 100-yarder for a touchdown in the Jets’ Week 4 loss to the Texans. He also has the Jets’ longest run from scrimmage, a 61-yarder in the Week 6 win over the Colts, although he has carried the ball only 17 times for 113 yards.
On the spot: Sanchez. Another former Carroll player at USC, Sanchez led the Jets to the playoffs and a pair of postseason wins in his rookie season after being the fifth pick in the 2009 NFL Draft – when the Jets traded their first- and second-round picks and three players to move into that spot. The Jets returned to the playoffs in his second season, and won two more games. But last season, the Jets lost their final three games to finish 8-8 and this year they’ve won three of their first eight games. Sanchez’s passer rating (78.1) dipped last season and is even lower this season. With Tebow in the wings, the pressure is squarely on Sanchez to improve. Honorable mention to Ryan, who has been voted the NFL’s most overrated coach in a midseason poll conducted by Sporting News.
Burning question: What happened to this team? The 30-9 loss to the Dolphins – at home – shook the team and its fans to the barebones. As Ryan stepped to the podium for his postgame Q&A session, all he could offer was, “To say I never saw this coming is an understatement. I don’t know what else to say, so fire away.” This one week after the Jets had taken the Patriots into overtime before losing. That pre-bye loss to the Dolphins included a blocked punt for a touchdown, a muffed onside kick, a blocked field goal and a 28-of-54 passing performance by Sanchez, who also threw an interception and lost a fumble. It left Sanchez to grasp for the “weather the storm” analogy, and add, “We’ll knock this thing out one game at a time, position ourselves back and if we’re the only ones that believe in us, so be it.”
Numbers to know: 28, points scored by the Jets in the first quarter this season. Nine teams have scored fewer, but their combined record is 27-47. … 12, sacks by the Jets. Only three teams have fewer, and their combined record is 7-17. … 5, rushing touchdowns by Shonn Greene, which ties him for the third-highest total in the league. … 7, third-and-one situations converted by Greene in as many attempts, which leads the league. … 4, return touchdowns by the Jets, which include a punt return by Jeremy Kerley (68 yards) and interception returns by Antonio Cromartie (40 yards) and LaRon Landry (18 yards).
Familiar faces: Cornerback Isaiah Trufant is the younger brother of Seahawks cornerback Marcus Trufant. Isaiah went to Eastern Washington University and played for four teams in the UFL and Arena League before signing with the Jets in 2010.
The last word: “Our focus is strictly on improving as a football team and getting ready to go compete and do what we can to win against Seattle. Obviously, we know it’s a tough place to play. I think they’re undefeated at home, but that’s where the focus is. You can’t focus down the road. You learn from the past but you can’t focus on the past. As Satchel Paige used to say, ‘Don’t look back, something could be gaining on you.’ Clearly, we’ve had some setbacks, lost two games in a row, and found different ways to lose.” – Ryan
Posted in Team | Comments Off on Up next: New York Jets