It was like watching the proverbial wreck on a highway somewhere. You slow down to get a look, knowing you probably shouldn't—but you just can't look away.
So went the New York Jets' 49-19 Thanksgiving Night massacre at the hands of an old nemesis, the New England Patriots. Granted, it was only a 7-0 game in the second quarter, until the visiting Pats blew matters open with a 21-point blitz in 52 seconds, with two of those touchdowns coming off of Jet miscues.
If you took a bathroom break just then, the game went from close to over by the time you opened the door. Too bad for New York that football fans couldn't tune elsewhere afterwards, as it was the only game on the tube at the time.
The Jets (4-7) were hoping to at least play themselves back into playoff contention with a big win over their bitter AFC East rivals, following a life-saving victory over the host St. Louis Rams four days prior.
Now the Jets' season is on life support (again), and more than a few of their fans would like to just pull the plug on 2012, while those in the stands at Met Life Stadium probably also wanted to throw up their Thanksgiving turkey.
It's hard to believe this club is less than two years removed from two consecutive AFC Championship Games, which nowadays seem as far away as Super Bowl III.
In retrospect, the Jets' defense may have played well in the St. Louis game on Sunday; but the Rams still aren't a very good team, and shouldn't have been used as a litmus test to determine whether or not Gang Green was ready for Tom Brady (18-of-28, 323 yards, 3 TD) and company.
It wasn't on Thursday, not in front of a national television audience.
The other two NFL games on Thanksgiving this year were at least competitive and semi-competitive. After that 52-second span in the second stanza, this one didn't come close to either category.
Bad breaks? Possibly. But New York hasn't t looked good for most of this season so far, not in losses to San Francisco, Miami, Seattle and now New England. In other games where they had a chance, against Houston and at New England, they just didn't get the job done.
The Jets looked horrible in the preseason, when they struggled to score offensively the first three weeks in August. They've looked worse the last few weeks of November, with the exception of the St. Louis game.
The defense gave up nearly 500 yards yesterday, only forced one turnover, and had no sacks of Brady. The whole team's downwards spiral that was inaugurated when they lost to the Giants on Christmas Eve has continued, leaving the Jets at 4-9 in their last 13 outings overall.
Jets head coach Rex Ryan said he's not giving up on catching New England, and that beleaguered Mark Sanchez is still his quarterback. Sanchez (26-of-36, 301 yards, TD, INT) appears to have regressed since starting those two conference title games—but Tim Tebow is nursing cracked ribs and wasn't really an option Thursday, despite calls for No. 15 from the crowd.
Gang Green still has an outside shot at making the playoffs this season, could get some help from other clubs and still run the table against Arizona, Jacksonville, Tennessee, San Diego and Buffalo, all teams that are sub-.500.
Unfortunately, so are the Jets, who are struggling in almost every phase of the game right now. They still have to play the games, though, and people will be watching.
No matter how ugly it may still get.