This is it, the final chance for a team to make a statement before the playoffs. This is where a team can put all contenders on notice that they’ll have their hands full, or where a team can slink in and hope no one notices how they got there by the skin of their teeth and pray that things come together better in the playoffs. The New York Jets are a team that really needed to have a strong performance heading into the playoffs. Once one of the hottest teams in the AFC, they cooled significantly as they struggled towards the post season. With one game to go against the Miami Dolphins, a division rival, it’s time for the Jets to really show what they’re made of.
Of course the Dolphins have been one of the big surprises of the season. When the season began, no one would have expected them to have playoffs while the Bills were nowhere to be seen in the post season, but then that’s what makes the NFL special; anything can and does happen. So Miami showed a tremendous amount of life mid to late season behind their “wild cat” offense. Unfortunately, that’s one of the things that I couldn’t simulate in Madden 09 as the developers obviously never expected them to use such a formation; but then again, neither did anyone else. Still, Miami proved to be a formidable opponent and kept the game close through three quarters. The Jets struggled throughout the game, having a tough time on the ground, converting third downs, and making good choices in the passing game. Favre threw for 253 yards, completing 17 of 25 passes for 2 TDs and 2 INTs, but he wasn’t the only one having a tough day. Late in the fourth, the Dolphins threw a costly pick of their own during a drive to tie the game. The turnover led to the go ahead touchdown that put New York up by ten and helped seal the game at 27-17. Overall, it was not the kind of performance one would want to have heading into the playoffs. Hopefully the Jets will look a bit sharper in real life, because this late in the season is no time to have things fall apart.
[Update] So, is Brett Favre’s career over…again? If so, then I’m sure it’s not exactly the way Favre wanted to go out. I’m sure he wanted one more shot at the big game, one more run through the playoffs, and more chance to show he made the right decision to come out of retirement. Well, all of that was left in question as the Jets couldn’t find a way to overcome the Dolphins. Then again, it didn’t really matter what they did, because at this point in the season, they needed a little help from Jacksonville, which they did not get. I’m sure everyone is stratching their head as to what happened. The Jets at mid-season was one of the hottest teams in the league, and a favorite to not only make it to the playoffs, but maybe even the Super Bowl. Then there was that fateful game against the Broncos. They lost, and apparently the caught whatever sort of weird mediocrity disease the Broncos had been suffering from all season (which eventually led that team to becoming the first team in NFL history to lead a division all sixteen weeks and not make it to the playoffs; way to go guys). Whatever it was, the Jets fell apart in December, and their game against the Dolphins was no different. Favre threw 20 of 40 passes for 233 yards, 1 TD and 3 INTs. He came back on the field in the last seventeen seconds and completed one last pass just so his final throw of his career wouldn’t be an interception. The Dolphins, a surprise from the beginning of the season, secured their division with an impressive 24-17 win. It’s the right score according to our sim, just swinging in the wrong direction. And so ends our Favre Watch. I had high hopes that we would be able to continue this column well into the post-season, but alas, that was not to be. Was it worth it? Did Favre make the right decision? Did he help or hinder the Jets? We’ll discuss that later this week in the Favre Watch wrap-up.