|Holmes has apologized to teammates for his impromptu TD celebration. (US PRESSWIRE)|
By Ryan Wilson
The Jets in December are like a rash: they just won't go away. It seems to happen every year -- an inexplicable late-season loss doesn't bounce New York from the playoff hunt and that sliver of hope is all they need. By the time the regular-season ends, the Jets have inevitably earned a wild-card berth on their way to the AFC Championship game.
With that in mind, getting thoroughly manhandled by the Eagles Sunday means little for their postseason hopes and dreams. Heading into Week 15, the Jets were the No. 6 seed, the final wild-card entrant. Monday, thanks to losses by the Titans and Raiders, the Jets … remained the No. 6 seed.
Which means that if they win out, they're headed to the postseason.
But the 2011 version of this team doesn't have the running game or defense of previous Rex Ryan squads. This has put additional pressure on quarterback Mark Sanchez and while he's showed glimpses of franchise QB-promise, in general he hasn't been up to the challenge. It doesn't help when your receivers are dropping passes -- or worse, fumbling them. Or, if you're Santonio Holmes, the Jets' No. 1 wideout, dropping, fumbling, and then getting personal-foul penalties for the balls you do catch.
Against the Eagles, Holmes hauled in a touchdown pass and was promptly flagged for excessive celebration. Makes sense given that the Jets only trailed by three scores at the time.
But there's good news: Holmes has learned his lesson.
Ryan (via the Newark Star-Ledger) said that “He apologized for that to me but I’ll say this about Santonio and every other player on this team: They have my 100 percent support and we’re in this thing together.”
Ryan doesn't expect similar lapses to happen in the future, either. So there's that.
"Are we perfect? No. None of us are perfect, but I'm just saying that you wish that thing never happened," Ryan said. "I don't think it will happen again, but again, I have his back, he has mine and this whole team is that way. We just have to come out and fight for each other, we know it was a mistake and we'll learn from it."
If the Jets are to make the playoffs for the third consecutive year, they'll need to beat the Giants (an equally enigmatic team) and then travel to Miami and beat the Dolphins, quite possibly the best 5-9 club in the history of professional football.
And while the Jets haven't played particularly well recently (beating the Chiefs and Redskins doesn't count), we fully expect them to backdoor their way into the postseason. They have a knack for it.
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