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No excuses for Cam’s podium performance

You can’t have it both ways, Cam.

You can’t be that player who when everything is going great celebrates louder and more profoundly than everyone else, and when things aren’t going so well, you run and hide.

Not much went wrong for the Carolina Panthers this past season up until Super Bowl 50. Carolina took the league by storm finishing 15-1, cruising through the NFC playoffs to reach the Super Bowl.

Through all of the Panthers’ success this season, one thing was constant, as long as Cam Newton was winning, everyone was going to know about it.

Newton can be seen here leading a team celebration on the sideline during a blowout win over the Buccaneers. Keep in mind this is happening while the game is still going on.

Or if you want a montage of Newton celebrations from this past season, this will serve you well too.

I think this illustrates the type of winner Cam Newton wants to be, which while I don’t agree with, is completely fine as long as when you don’t win, you show dignity and class.

Cam Newton did not show much dignity or class with his podium performance following Carolina’s 24-10 loss to the Broncos in Super Bowl 50.

Here’s the transcript of what Cam said postgame.

And yes, having to listen to Chris Harris Jr. boast about the win while you were trying to answer reporters’ questions would have ticked most people off, it’s still a very bad look to act the way Cam did after the loss.

If Cam Newton did indeed hear every word coming out of Chris Harris Jr.’s mouth after the game, then he essentially got a taste of his own medicine and he didn’t like one bit of it.

Every other team Cam Newton beat this season had to taste what Newton couldn’t handle after the Super Bowl. Right in front of their eyes, the opposing team gloating over their victory for everyone to see.

But the second it doesn’t go Cam’s way, whether he heard Chris Harris Jr. or not, he acts the way he did. There’s no excuse for it.

 
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Posted by on 02/08/2016 in NFL

 

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Unthinkable ending for Peyton

Who would have ever thought when Peyton Manning was benched in favor of Brock Osweiler in the 3rd quarter of the Broncos’ Week 10 matchup against the Chiefs that Denver’s season would culminate in a Super Bowl championship?

Peyton couldn’t do it anymore. Father time had finally won. One of the greatest careers in NFL history was going to end in humiliating, embarrassing fashion.

Then after not having seen the field in over six weeks, Gary Kubiak turned back to Peyton in the 3rd quarter of Denver’s Week 17 game against the Chargers, and sparked the Broncos to a thrilling 27-20 win, and the first seed in the AFC playoffs.

It was a stunning turn of events for Denver who looked like they were going to miss the playoffs a few weeks prior, but miraculously ended up grabbing the conference’s number one seed.

The end result was a Super Bowl title for Peyton and the Broncos, but even Hollywood would have been thrown off with how this script played out.

If Hollywood were in charge, Peyton would have come back, regained his MVP form, and carried the Broncos to the championship kind of like Adam Sandler in the “Longest Yard”. The only problem was Peyton was pretty awful (understatement) in the postseason. Here were Peyton’s stats in Denver’s three playoff games:

Divisional round vs. Steelers: 21/37, 222 yards, 0 TDs, 0 turnovers
AFC Championship vs. Patriots: 17/32, 176 yards, 2 TDs, 0 turnovers
Super Bowl 50 vs. Panthers: 13/23, 141 yards, 0 TDs, INT, lost fumble

Totaling all of these numbers up, Manning completed 51/92 passes (55.4 percent) for 539 yards in the playoffs. To put that in perspective, Colts QB Andrew Luck finished dead last in the league this season among qualified quarterback’s with a 55.3 percent completion percentage. Not very good.

He also had as many turnovers as touchdowns (2:2), yet behind one of the most dominating defensive line performances in NFL playoff history, and highly uncharacteristic performances from Tom Brady and Cam Newton, the Broncos found a way to get Peyton an illustrious second ring.

With all due respect to Peyton though, there probably hasn’t been a less effective quarterback guide a team to a championship in NFL history. When you look back at his postseason, he only really had two good drives total.

One was a 13-play 65-yard drive in the 4th quarter against Pittsburgh that gave Denver a 20-13 lead, and the other was the first drive of the AFC Championship against New England. Other than that, Peyton didn’t do much of anything other than not turn the football over.

As a matter of fact, Peyton was the reason the Broncos almost lost to the Patriots when he blew multiple opportunities to put New England away.

So the narrative went as follows: Peyton can’t do it anymore and is finished to oh my god he’s back, to all Peyton did in Denver’s Super Bowl run was not screw it up.

Who could have thought that?

 
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Posted by on 02/08/2016 in NFL

 

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Poetic justice for Belichick on extra point

Out of every person’s voice in the NFL, no one’s was louder when it came to changing the extra point rule than Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

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Posted by on 01/25/2016 in NFL

 

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Another Jets season ends in painful fashion

If you didn’t know what the life of a Jets fan was like, you learned first hand this past Sunday.

The New York Jets, after being 5-5 and giving the impression 2015 was going to be another lost season, improbably won five straight games and all that was needed to make the playoffs was a win over arch nemesis Rex Ryan.

It felt as if the Jets were destined for the postseason. Ryan Fitzpatrick had the most prolific season of any quarterback in the franchise’s history, Brandon Marshall had the best season of any Jets receiver ever, and the combination of Eric Decker and Marshall surpassed the duo of Randy Moss and Cris Carter from the 1998 Vikings as statistically, the best wide receiver duo in NFL history.

The trend of first-year Jets coaches making the playoffs was going to continue for Todd Bowles, just like Herm Edwards in 2001, Eric Mangini in 2006, and Rex Ryan in 2009.

But just when you thought the Jets had it in the bag, they let it all slip away in the most heartbreaking, gut-wrenching fashion you could imagine. Heck, not even an evil film director could inflict that amount of suffering on a Jets fan.

Not much was going right for the Jets in the first half, and it didn’t get much better until mid-way through the 3rd quarter. That was when the Jets got within 2 points of Buffalo when Ryan Fitzpatrick hit Eric Decker for a touchdown with 1:10 to go.

The Jets defense then did what they had to do and forced a three-and-out. It appeared as if the Jets were poised to take the lead when Fitzpatrick connected with Decker again to set up 1st and 10 from the Buffalo 14 down by just two. All the Jets had to do was not turn it over and they were going to take the lead.

Two plays later, Fitzpatrick was picked in the end zone by Leodis McKelvin as he attempted to force a ball to Decker. Drive over, chance to take the lead, over. McKelvin’s interception was the first time all season Fitzpatrick was intercepted when targeting Decker, and he couldn’t have picked a worse time.

Buffalo would tack on a field goal to make the score 22-17. On the ensuing drive, Fitzpatrick was picked for the second time, this time by Manny Lawson. Once again though, the Jets would get the ball back.

With 24 seconds left and the ball on the Jets 27-yard line, Fitzpatrick threw a pass deep down the right sideline to a wide open Kenbrell Thompkins, but Bills DB Mario Butler just got enough of a hit on Thompkins to knock the ball out of his hands for an incomplete pass. Thompkins was so open, if he had just held on, he was going to score to give the Jets the lead. It would have been too perfect.

On the very next play, Fitzpatrick was picked for the third time in the quarter by A.J. Tarpley to end it. Ball game over, season over, playoff dreams over. Just like that.

What was so painful about this loss was it wasn’t like the Jets were outplayed, outcoached, or didn’t give the necessary effort. They were actually the better team in the second half and had every chance in the world to win, but the mistakes became too much to overcome.

If you’ve paid any attention to the Jets over the past 40 years or so, losses like this have become the norm. You convince yourself this year or this game is going to be different, everything points in that direction, and then the unthinkable happens. Call it what you want. Same Old Jets, Lovable losers, choke artists, each one of those probably fits the description of the Jets to a tee.

But you better believe the Jets will be back, and when the stars align and the Jets finally win the Super Bowl, it’s going to be epic.

 
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Posted by on 01/04/2016 in NFL

 

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Missing playoffs would be ultimate sucker punch for Jets

The New York Jets run to the postseason has in a way felt almost too good to be true. Everything that has had to happen for the Jets to be where they are, has, which is exactly why if Gang Green were to fall short, it would be an ultimate sucker punch.

Since losing two straight to Buffalo and Houston, the Jets have been in must-win mode and have responded with five straight victories over the Dolphins, Giants, Titans, Cowboys, and Patriots.

Not only did the Jets need to win each and every one of those games, they also needed either the Chiefs or Steelers to lose at least once.

Gang Green got exactly what the doctor ordered last Sunday when Ryan Mallett (starting his first game with the Ravens) along with running backs Javorius Allen and Terrence West, and receivers Kamar Aiken, Kyle Juszcyk, and Chris Matthews (a cast of people virtually unknown in the NFL universe) beat Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, and DeAngelo Williams.

It’s almost impossible to explain how a team that many felt was the AFC’s best, with all due respect to the Patriots, could go into Baltimore with Ryan Mallett playing quarterback having not thrown an NFL pass since October 8th, and lose.

Now the stage is set and the task is clear. Beat Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills, and you go to the playoffs for the first time since 2010, the final step in an unimaginable journey.

Who would have ever thought after Geno Smith got punched in the jaw in early August that Ryan Fitzpatrick would have taken over and not just have the Jets on the cusp of the playoffs, but be one touchdown pass away from breaking Vinny Testaverde’s single season record of 29? That Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker would have formed statistically the most prolific one-two wide receiver punch in NFL history (better than the Vikings’ duo of Randy Moss and Cris Carter in 1998, two HOFs by the way)? That Marshall would have had the best season of any Jets receiver ever? I know I certainly didn’t.

Not to mention that the only person standing in the way between the Jets and the playoffs is former coach Rex Ryan who you know is approaching this game like it’s the Super Bowl of Super Bowl’s and would love nothing more than to knock Gang Green out of the postseason.

I don’t think it’s possible to envision a worse scenario than seeing Rex run off the field knowing he just ruined the Jets season.

Probably the biggest reason though why missing the playoffs would hurt so bad is the AFC has never been weaker. Let’s call it what it is.

The current five playoff teams in the AFC include the Patriots, Bengals, Texans (virtual lock to wrap up the AFC South), Chiefs, and Broncos. Andy Dalton isn’t coming back for Cincinnati, Brian Hoyer is the QB for the Texans, Alex Smith is starting for the Chiefs, the Broncos have Brock Osweiler and a dead arm Peyton Manning, and the Patriots are dealing with a laundry list of injuries.

You can’t tell me the Jets couldn’t go to each and every one of those places and have an unbelievable chance to win.

It’s been such a magical journey for the Jets in 2015 and now 2016, and to see it all end on Sunday to Rex in Buffalo considering how mediocre the rest of the conference is would be an excruciatingly painful ending, one that would be up there with some of the toughest defeats to take in team history.

 
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Posted by on 01/01/2016 in NFL

 

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Two calls that changed fortune of Jets season

When the New York Jets fell to the Houston Texans 24-17 on November 22nd, the promise a 3-1 start gave to the fan base had all but evaporated.

At 5-5, everything had to go right in order for the Jets to even sniff the playoffs. A 38-20 drubbing of the dysfunctional Dolphins got New York back on track, but it looked like the season would be lost down 10 with 8:50 to go in the 4th quarter against the Giants on December 6th.

The Giants had a 4th and 2 from the Jets 4-yard line and a chance to kick a field goal to put the Jets in a 13-point deficit needing a minimum of two touchdowns to have a shot at winning the game.

You could make the argument a Giants field goal in that spot wouldn’t have made any difference, but the Jets would have looked at that as a semi-partial victory, as opposed to the major one that ensued.

Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning decided to go for the kill and Manning ended up throwing the ball right to Rontez Miles for an interception. In the blink of an eye, the tide had turned, and the momentum had swung drastically in the Jets favor.

With new-found life, Ryan Fitzpatrick led the Jets to a field goal to make it a one score game, and then with 27 seconds left, found Brandon Marshall in the end zone to tie the game. The Jets went on to win in overtime. Season temporarily saved.

Then last Sunday against the Patriots, there was another season altering call that swung in favor of the Jets. Once leading 17-3, the Patriots came storming back, and a Tom Brady touchdown pass to James White with 1:55 to play knotted the score at 20 all heading into overtime.

As is usual with the Patriots, special teams and coin toss aficionado Matthew Slater did what he always seems to do, win the coin toss. That’s exactly what he did, but instead of deciding to tell arguably the greatest quarterback to ever play the game to go win it in Tom Brady, Slater, supposedly under the direction of Bill Belichick, chose to tell his severely banged up defense to get a stop.

That allowed the Jets offense to start with the ball, and they would take full advantage. Fitzpatrick wasted no time driving 80 yards in just five plays, capped by an Eric Decker 6-yard touchdown catch to end it.

From a Patriots perspective, I guess you could rationalize that if the defense got one stop when they needed one, Brady would have had the game in the bag, but when you have the GOAT playing QB, how can you not give him the ball?

And from a Jets perspective, after watching Brady tie the game minutes earlier, the feeling was the Patriots were going to receive, drive down the field, win the game, and officially end any chance Gang Green had at making the playoffs, but Belichick played it right into the Jets’ hands.

Now, thanks to a unfathomable loss by the Steelers to the Ravens who seem to be pulling guys off the street, all the Jets need is a win over the Rex Ryan led Buffalo Bills on Sunday to clinch a playoff berth for the first time since the 2010 season.

And you can bet the Jets could not have envisioned this scenario if Coughlin had just taken the points, and Belichick had just taken the ball.

 
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Posted by on 01/01/2016 in NFL

 

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Jets pound Titans 30-8

For at least one Sunday, these were not the same old Jets.

Instead, Gang Green (8-5) came out swinging putting the game away with a 27-0 halftime lead, and keeping pace in the AFC wild card picture with a 30-8 win over the Titans (3-10).

From the start, it was evident the Jets weren’t messing around with Ryan Fitzpatrick leading a 14-play 80-yard drive capped off by Eric Decker’s 9th touchdown of the season.

The Jets drove the ball down the field on their next three possessions, but Randy Bullock hit just two of his three field goal attempts to put the Jets ahead 13-0.

Tennessee had plenty of chances to make this a game in the first half, but the Jets’ defense wasn’t having any of it. The Titans’ first half possessions consisted of four punts and a Buster Skrine interception, and zero plays in Jets’ territory.

The Jets would eventually capitalize on Tennessee’s first half ineptitude, with Fitzpatrick leading a 7-play 72-yard drive, and Bilal Powell taking in a 16-yard screen pass to make the score 20-0. Tennessee’s tackling attempts on the Powell touchdown were nothing short of pathetic.

After another Titans punt, Tennessee committed its biggest blunder of the game. The Jets offense came out on the field and Tennessee forgot to cover Brandon Marshall, so Fitzpatrick quick snapped it and fired the ball to Marshall who went 69-yards for the touchdown (the Jets’ longest play from scrimmage all season).

With a 27-0 lead entering the second half, the Jets offense played it safe for the final 30 minutes.

As for the Titans’ offense, Tennessee did not run a play in Jets’ territory until there was 4:09 left in the 3rd quarter. That was when Calvin Pryor fell down attempting to cover Marcus Mariota who lined up as a receiver and caught his first career NFL touchdown pass, a 41-yarder from Antonio Andrews. Unfortunately for the Titans, that was their only highlight of the day.

Mariota came into this game with a ton of confidence after becoming the first player in NFL history with at least 250 passing yards, 100 rushing yards, and three touchdown passes in the same game last week against the Jaguars. On this Sunday though, the Jets made Mariota look like a true rookie.

When he had to, Fitzpatrick continued his torrid run throwing for three touchdowns, 263 yards, and most importantly, zero interceptions. Over his last three games, Fitzpatrick has thrown nine touchdowns and has no turnovers. It’s no coincidence that the Jets have won each of those three games which has led to Gang Green’s first three game win streak since 2011.

Chris Ivory had his first 100-yard game since Week 6, and Brandon Marshall led the way with 125 receiving yards and caught his 11th touchdown of the season to become the Jets first receiver with at least 11 touchdowns in a season since Wesley Walker had 12 in 1986.

On the defensive side of the ball, the player of the game was Muhammad Wilkerson who recorded three sacks and a forced fumble. Wilkerson now has a career high 12 sacks on the season and has set himself up for an offseason confrontation with GM Mike Maccagnan. Darrelle Revis returned after missing the last two games with a concussion and appeared to be back to playing at his shutdown level.

The only downside of the day was seeing rookie WR Devin Smith go down with a knee injury on punt coverage. Smith had to be carted off the field and his status going forward is unknown, but it did not look good.

The Jets will look to make it four straight wins when they travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys in a rare Saturday night affair.

 
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Posted by on 12/13/2015 in NFL

 

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