INDIANAPOLIS - Bart Scott has been the biggest talker in a big-talking Jets locker room this season. But after the Jets' 30-17 loss to the Colts Sunday in the AFC Championship Game, Scott left the locker room without saying a word.
Upset about the game? Undoubtedly. But the eight-year linebacker also might have been miffed at being marginalized in a game plan that had him standing on the sideline most of the way.
Jets coach Rex Ryan devised a scheme he hoped would clamp down on Peyton Manning's high-powered offense by using more defensive backs than usual. Scott wound up being the odd man out, with safety James Ihedigbo being used in his spot because he had more speed to cover the Colts' receivers.
The Jets often used a formation that included three down linemen, linebacker David Harris and seven defensive backs.
The scheme seemed to work initially, but once Manning got adjusted, he began picking apart the Jets through the air, mostly using rookie receivers Austin Collie and Pierre Garçon. They totaled 18 catches for 274 yards and two touchdowns. Pro Bowl tight end Dallas Clark and Pro Bowl receiver Reggie Wayne totaled seven catches for 90 yards and one touchdown.
Ryan said afterward that he made the decision to limit Scott's play because of an ankle problem. "It was mainly related to Bart's ankle," he said. "He really struggled running. He's tougher than nails. You want him to play just for everything he brings you. But he was a one-legged man out there."
On his way to the team bus, a clearly agitated Scott was asked by Newsday if his ankle situation was responsible for his limited play. "That was the game plan," he said.
Asked if he would have preferred to play a bigger role, Scott said, "Gotta ask Coach." He then walked away.