Jets end with loss to fall to 6-10; an interesting offseason looms

Mark Sanchez of the Jets looks to pass

Mark Sanchez of the Jets looks to pass against the Buffalo Bills. (Dec. 30, 2012) (Credit: Getty Images)

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Rex Ryan stood behind the lectern, wearing the same weary expression of the past two weeks.

His Jets -- the same players who speak so often of giving their all for him -- had lost another game, and this time, there was no next opponent to look forward to.

The Jets' 2012 season ended Sunday with another dud, a 28-9 loss to the lowly Bills that was aided by one final poor performance by Mark Sanchez. The same quarterback whom Ryan stuck with to the bitter end couldn't deliver a win, or even a touchdown, when given another chance to end his season on a respectable note.

With no playoffs to speak of, the attention now shifts to the uncertainty of the offseason. And few are safe in Woody Johnson's world.

The owner elected not to attend the season finale, which raised eyebrows because he usually is in the locker room shaking hands with players after games. Johnson has missed games in the past, but the timing of his absence couldn't be ignored. The Jets finished with three straight losses and a 6-10 record.

After the game, Ryan was asked if he had gotten any assurances from the owner that he will be back next season.

"Nope, sure haven't. We'll see," said Ryan, who has two years left on his contract. "I just want to be here. Obviously, Mr. Johnson has a right to do whatever he chooses because he's the owner. I appreciate the fact that he's given me this opportunity."

A few hours later, the team announced that Ryan will address the media at 4:45 p.m. Monday, presumably with a better idea as to his future with the team.

Mike Tannenbaum's future as the general manager also is in question. Unlike years past, Tannenbaum does not plan to address the media alongside Ryan today, a departure from his usual postseason routine.

A source said that as of Sunday night, Tannenbaum had not been informed of his future. He is expected to address reporters at a later date.

There has been no indication when Johnson will speak to the media, but he has sought the counsel of executive search firm Korn/Ferry International -- the same company that helped him find new team president Neil Glatt -- in what could be a search for a new GM, according to CBSSports.com.

Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, who was unable to find a productive role for Tim Tebow in the Wildcat offense all season, seems likely to be headed out the door. ESPN reported Sunday morning that the Jets plan to fire their offensive coordinator for the second straight season. Sparano declined to comment on his future after the loss.

Sparano's 30th-ranked offense showed little fight against the Bills (6-10) despite two 40-yard passes from Sanchez (both to Jeremy Kerley). Sanchez, who started in place of third-stringer Greg McElroy (concussion), completed 17 of 35 passes for 205 yards, threw an interception and lost a fumble when he was hit as he attempted to throw.

The lone bright spot on offense was Shonn Greene, who rushed for 74 yards and broke the 1,000-yard mark for the second straight season.

The Jets closed out their season totaling only 36 points in the final three games, and Sanchez ended the season with 18 interceptions and 14 fumbles.

Sanchez's first turnover led to the Bills' first score of the day, as Bryan Scott returned an interception 20 yards to give Buffalo a 7-3 lead.

After C.J. Spiller's 66-yard catch-and-run made it 14-9 with 3:21 left in the first half, former Jets Wildcat specialist Brad Smith provided the proverbial dagger: a 4-yard Wildcat rushing TD to make it 21-9.

Ryan brought Tebow into the game for only one snap, a handoff to running back Joe McKnight. Ryan insisted the decision to keep Tebow on the sideline was his. But when pressed on the matter, he provided a telling response: "If I thought Tebow would have helped us win the game playing quarterback or defensive tackle, I would have played him."

Although it's clear that the Jets have many issues on offense, wide receiver Braylon Edwards isn't in favor of cleaning house. He believes they need to find an identity and stick to it.

"It's not rocket science," he said, citing the sustained success of the 49ers, Falcons, Texans and his former team, the Seahawks. "There's enough players here that we can make some things happen."

On Monday, we should find out if Ryan will be around to see those things.

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