If you were like most New York sports fans, you went to bed Tuesday night disappointed. Both the New York Yankees and the New York Jets playing simultaneously failed to capitalize on golden opportunities. The Bronx Bombers lost a close one to the Baltimore Orioles, 3-2, and the Houston Texans edged out Gang Green, 23-17. When it is all said and done, both local teams might look back on Tuesday as an opportunity lost.
One might look upon the Jets game as a moral victory. Many were expecting Rex Ryan’s crew to get blown out by the best team in the National Football League, especially after they were destroyed by the San Francisco 49ers by 34 points a week ago. The fact that they were only down by six with the ball and over three minutes to play, had us on the edge of our seats. If you would have told me that would have been the case before the game started, I would have signed up for that in a New York minute. But as fate would have it, the game literally ended on a Mark Sanchez interception.
I know most football fans were shock by the outcome. But Gang Green followers can’t help but to think that their team let a season-defining moment slip through their hands. That game was there for taking. After being manhandled in the first half, the Jets were still within striking distance, especially after Joe McKnight ran a Texan kickoff back 100 yards for a touchdown to bring the team within six points late in the third quarter. Just when you thought the Jets could pull off the impossible, they literally let an opportunity slip through their hands.
On the ensuing kickoff, Gang Green attempted an onside kick. Wide receiver Chaz Schillens misplayed the ball and Houston recovered it. Gusty call, poor execution. That was just one of the miscues that left Rex Ryan shaking his head.
Sanchez threw two costly interceptions, including one in the red zone toward the end of the first half. The Jets had their moments on offense but looked out of sync and confused on several occasions. They had to burn two second-half timeouts because they couldn’t get the right personnel on the field. The young receiving staff let Sanchez down in key moments, as they couldn’t hold on to the ball. It also did not help that Texan defensive end JJ Watts turned in one of the best defensive efforts of the season, as he stuffed the Jets running game and swatted down several passes. The Texans game will definitely go down as an opportunity lost.
About 200 miles down I-95, the Yankees also let a great opportunity and brilliant pitching effort by Andy Pettite go by the waste side. Pettite was great, going seven innings, giving up three runs, while striking out five. However, rookie Wei-Yin Chen was better, as he scattered eight hits, giving up only two runs over six innings. Unlike in Game 1, the Yankees failure to drive in runners in scoring position came back to bite them in the @$$. Despite getting great performances from their starters, CC Sabathia and Pettite, two of their big bats, Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher, are having a dismal series thus far. They are batting .111 and .167, respectively, and are just killing the Yanks. Curtis Granderson and Russell Martin are not tearing the cover off of the ball either, but at least they are coming up with some clutch hits.
It would have been nice if the Yanks could have stole Game 2 to take a stranglehold on the American League Divisional Series, but they come back home tied at a game apiece. You do not want to give a team like Baltimore a chance to stick around. This gritty squad has been a thorn in the Yankees side all year long and you know that Buck Showalter would like nothing more than to beat his former employer.
Two great opportunities lost. It could have been a season-defining moment for the Jets and a chance for the Yanks to bury the Orioles. Neither team’s season is over by a long shot, but they would have been sitting pretty had they won.