From the onset, the Jets looked sluggish and unmotivated, while the 3-10 Chicago Bears came out fired up. The Bears took a 10-0 lead into the locker room at halftime, and the Jets tried the play catch up the rest of the way.
“I don’t know why we weren’t up for it,” said Jason Ferguson. “We had too much at stake to come out in the first half like we did. We came out in the second half fighting, but it was just too late.”
Gang Green came out re-energized in the second half, and Chad Morton returned the opening kickoff of the second half 96 yards for a touchdown. Unfortunately, the play was called back because of a holding penalty. Penalties were a recurring theme for the Jets all afternoon.
In the second quarter, Ferguson had a blatant roughing the passer penalty that sustained a Bears drive, which resulted in a touchdown. Late in the game, the Jets were whistled for having too many men on the field, an inexcusable penalty which helped put the Bears in position for a field goal.
“We had a miscommunication out there that really hurt us,” was all Herman Edwards said of the 12 men on the field penalty.
The clincher came in the waning seconds of the game. The Jets were down seven, but driving downfield. Chad Pennington hit Chrebet over the middle, and the sure-handed receiver streaked down to the 14-yard line. That’s when Chrebet tried to hurdle two Chicago defenders. Instead of leaping over them, he was upended and the ball slipped out of his hands while falling, head first, to the turf.
“You know, it’s the kind of thing where you don’t really think out there, you just react, and that was my reaction,” said Chrebet of the fumble. “You try to make a play. I had a good head of steam going and I could see the end zone. I was trying to make something happen.”
Mathematically the Jets are still alive, but it’s going to take wins in their final two weeks, as well as losses from the rest of the AFC for them to make it.
“We’ve got to hope on some things,” said Edwards. “We’ve got to hope that some teams lose, that this happens or that happens. I don’t like hoping. We had a chance to really take care of our own business and we didn’t get it done today.”
The hoping begins tomorrow night for the Jets, when The Patriots take on Tennessee on Monday night Football. The Jets head up to New England next weekend.