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A look back at the Jets season

Chris Ivory (Joe Camporeale – USA Today Sports Images)

Chris Ivory (Joe Camporeale – USA Today Sports Images)


Now that the smoke has cleared from the horrible ending to the 2015 season for the Jets, it’s time to take a look at the season in review. A 10-6 record this season was a huge and almost unimaginable improvement from a 4-12 record just one year ago. It seemed like Jets fans were in for another long year when Geno Smith was punched in the jaw late in the preseason. No one thought that Ryan Fitzpatrick would step up the way he did.

But it turned out that IK Enemkpali breaking Smith’s jaw was a turning point for the better before the season even started. Fitzpatrick ended up being better than most expected. He finished the season with 3,905 passing yards, a career high for a single season, and 31 touchdown passes, another single season career high. Fitzpatrick also threw 15 interceptions, but a lot of them came in bunches. When the Jets were playing some of their best football in the second half of the season, Fitzpatrick wasn’t turning the ball over at all.

A big reason for Fitzpatrick’s success this past season was due to the tag team of Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. Marshall finished the season with 1,502 receiving yards, which was just six yards shy of his single season high from 2012. He also caught 14 touchdown passes which is a single season career high. He clearly had an unbelievable season for the Jets, and it makes it even more remarkable that the Jets only gave up a sixth round draft pick to get him from the Chicago Bears. But the thing that made the Jets passing game dangerous this season was the fact that they had two weapons at receiver. The other of course being Eric Decker, who finished with 1,027 receiving yards this year, which was the third best season of his career. The two better seasons came with Peyton Manning throwing to him. Decker also finished with 12 touchdown receptions this season which was just one shy of his single season career high from 2012. Decker and Marshall became the best receiving duo for a single season in Jets history.

The Jets offense was not complete without Chris Ivory, who had career highs in rushing attempts (247), rushing yards (1,070), touchdowns (seven rushing and one receiving), and receiving yards (217). With Ivory playing the best football of his career, Marshall and Decker being a great tag team, and Fitzpatrick exceeding all expectations, the Jets offense was good for the first time in a while.

Unlike the offense who exceeded expectations, the defense did exactly what they were expected to do, which was dominate. With an already stacked defensive line, the Jets added Leonard Williams in the draft in the first round, sixth overall. The run defense was supposed to be lights out, and they were as they only allowed 83.4 rushing yards per game, only behind the Seattle Seahawks. The defense was also fourth best in the NFL as they only allowed 318.6 total yards per game.

To think that the Jets won ten games and did not make the playoffs is a tough pill to swallow. And to make it even tougher, Rex Ryan and the Bills were the only team standing in the way. All the Jets had to do was split the season series with Buffalo, but they failed to do that. But outside of the two losses to Buffalo, the Jets had their chances elsewhere but could not capitalize. Like the 24-17 loss to the Eagles or the 24-17 loss to the Texans.

Some people say this season was a success. I would disagree with that simply because the Jets did not make the playoffs. Was a good season? Absolutely. But it was not successful. The Jets had their chances to win 11 games and they simply could not capitalize. Ten wins is usually good enough for the playoffs, but not this time. In a crowded AFC Wild Card picture, the Jets knew they needed 11 wins and they simply could not come up with it.

And I know Jets fans have been saying this for a while now, but there’s always next year. And next year looks brighter than “next years” of the past. The playoffs no longer seem like a long way down the road. The playoffs are well within reach for next year.

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